A Post Mortem in Eight Parts

Patrick O’Keeffe

Back in the good old days, when the Australian cricket team lost a test match, the period that followed would involve extreme inebriation. This would be followed by soul searching, name calling and blame levelling. In turn, this would lead to hand to hand combat, followed by more inebriation. Eventually, everyone would start calling each other ‘mate’ again, and they would be ready for the next Test.

I wonder what the present Australian team is doing right now. I pray to god they are not drinking Baccardi Breezers and talking about current fashions in men’s grooming. If I find out that they have gone away together on a ‘Wellbeing Retreat’, I might have to start claiming allegiance to New Zealand.

In an attempt to make sense of the previous few days, I have decided to take an olden days approach, recently performed in 8 parts at the Rising Sun Hotel in Richmond.

Beer One:
For all his tattoos, piercings and swimsuit model girlfriends, Michael Clarke can bat. Aside from the 12 months prior to taking on the captaincy, his record is excellent. His first innings hundred would have to rank with the best played by an Australian batsman in the past ten years. Shane Watson again proved a valuable wicket taker, as he tumbled South Africa out for not much. Shame he isn’t making many runs at the moment. I still think Katich should have been dropped. Not because his form was poor or that he was too old, but I love a spurned cricketer who is willing to speak their mind.

Beer Two:
For all his counter-attacking prowess, Michael Clarke may have inadvertently put the wrong thoughts in the minds of less talented members of the batting line up. Suddenly, the pitch was unplayable and the only option being to slash wildly at good deliveries, in the hope that the South Africans had forgotten to weave fielding practice into their training sessions. Back in under 14s in South Australia, Port Adelaide were the competition easybeats. Even they never stooped to 9 for 21.

Beer Three (beer two was drunk quickly):
Speaking of slashing wildly, Brad Haddin should face criminal charges when he returns to Australia. Perhaps as a form of public shaming, he should be set up in the stocks with Ian Chappell called on to point out his inadequacies. Get in that young guy from Tasmania. If he’s injured, get an even younger guy from Tasmania. If he’s away on school camp, fly Boonie over and hope that his knees haven’t given out.

Beer Four:
Watto should be dropped. As a male, I don’t like the way he undermines my masculinity by being both blonde haired and barrel chested.

Beer Five:
Johnson was a sensational bowler in early 2009 and now he isn’t. During the last series in South Africa, he was electrifying with bat and ball. Look up his statistics. Since then, he has been very poor, with only occasional glimpses of his best. It’s a crying shame. I think I might actually be crying, but someone’s cigarette ash just breezed into my eye as well, so I can’t be sure. I thought they banned smoking in pubs. I would write to Jeff Kennett and ask him to raise this issue with Ted Ballieu, but he seems to have his hands full upsetting everyone who works for Beyond Blue.

Beer Six:
Poor old Punter. He has been a great player over a long period of time. I was a primary school student in Launceston when he first started playing for Tasmania. Gee, Tassie is a great place. Even the principal of our school knew that I was wagging when dad drove us down to Bellrieve Oval, to see Asif Mujtaba hit a Steve Waugh full toss for six and dramatically tie the match. Needless to say, the school principal was more concerned with my take on the outcome of the match.

Beer Seven:
Gee this sparkling ale is strong stuff. Is that Rod Marsh over in the corner? I might ask him if Mark Harrity will be considered at the next selection meeting. I once made a Mark Harrity banner; at the Shield final of 95/96. Unfortunately, Harrity was 12th man for that game. Eric Freeman, through commentary duties on Channel 9, reportedly said ‘Those kids must think Harrity is playing today’. Bloody smart arse. That banner took me ages to paint.

Beer Eight:
Currently singing along to ‘Khe Sahn’. Perhaps the selectors should just ask the Bankstown under 19s to come across for the next Test and hope that one or two of them have read all of Steve Waugh’s tour diaries.


  1. John Butler says

    Wonderful Pat

    Astute. And funny.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Johnson should have been thought over before first orders.

    Enjoyed the read Pat.

  3. Barbara Smith says

    I don’t follow cricket closely, but I really enjoyed this article.
    Pat, you are obviously a cricket purist.

  4. Flynny – is this when I come out with my long held assertion that Ian Chappell was one of the most over rated cricketers we’ve ever had.

    And for all those who disagree, I said over rated “cricketer” not “captain”.

    Its an outstanding discussion to have over a few beers.

    What say you, Pat?

  5. Geez Dips. I have always agreed with you on almost everything to now. But as a young Croweater I saw all of Ian Chappel’s career up close. Barry Richards is the best batsman I ever saw a fair bit of. Better than Tendulkar and Lara. Greg Chappel is the best Australian. Ponting is the most over-rated – not IC. Ponting is the best of the last 20 years but still a heavy bat, flat track bully. Greg Chappel was classes above him. That said – green top with John Snow and Richard Hadlee with a new ball – and nominate a batsman to make 5O for my life.
    Ian Chappel no question. Not a stylist – but a tight, limited back foot technique that gave him time on difficult wickets. Brilliant in a crisis and on difficult wickets. Wonderful footwork against spin. Check his record in India. Great slipper and a wonderful captain who embraced the attacking Benaud legacy after the stodge of Lawry (great batsman).
    A final example – at the WACA in 70/71 the WA attack was McKenzie, (young) Lillee, Brayshaw, Lock, Mann and Inverarity. Barry Richards made 325 – in a day!!! Ian Chappell made 129 in a 2nd wicket partnership of 308 with Richards. SA made 3/513 in a day. I rest my case.

  6. Peter,

    It would be very inconvenient and financially debilitating so close to Christmas for me to have to fly over to Perth and educate you (sort you out) on the matter of young Ricky.

    Just concentrate on Medders bulstering the geriatric Eagles list of Kerr, Embley, Cox, Glass and others in their twilight season of 2012 and let the Tasmanians deal with cricket matters.

    (Just as a footnote I saw Hilfy bowling at the Crow Eaters on Sunday. He was very accurate, quick and agressive. Upset several of their bright young hopes. Would be a better prospect over this summer than Mr Johnson on current form. Watch this spot)

  7. John Butler says

    Now now gentlemen. Let us not descend into state-based parochialism.

    The state associations can provide more than enough of that.

    Comparisons on batsmen of different eras/circumstances are a bit like wine buffs debating terroir: very much a matter of personal taste.

    Dips, seeing as how you started this, it’s your shout.

  8. Good comment on Hilfenhaus, Phantom. I definitely raised my eyebrows when I noticed that Australia’s number one bricklayer/fast bowler was back in form. There seem to be a few bowlers around the place, however I’m struggling to think of many batsmen who might be able to come into the top 6.

    Speaking of overrated batsmen and flat track bullies, Matt Hayden springs to mind. I would place him well above Chappelli in the overrated batsmen stakes.

  9. Geez JB,

    with the high exchange rate, the carbon tax, the cricket collapse, the whale stranding at Strahan, Berlusconi’s resignation, the Tasmanian honey yield halved and Mick Malthouse retiring all some of us poh boys’z got is state based parochialism.

    And, if it is good enough for Tassy to take a pizzling when we are down it is good enough for us to remind the world when we are up.

    Just because those Sandgropers embarrassed the Vics yesterday there is no need for such a deflection. It is no big deal beating the Vics these days anyway. Every one does.

    They call them the ‘Bongos’ over here.

  10. Hoping you wouldn’t mention yesterday Phanto.

    But then, I notice you haven’t mentioned the Tas v Vic Sheild game either. :)

    Glad you’re not letting things get on top of you down there.

  11. C. R. A. F. T.

  12. There’s something about Mitchell Johnson that makes me want to stab him in the neck with my car keys…

  13. Be honest Litza, lots of things make you react that way.

    Cue Peoples’ Elbow. :)

  14. Remind me not to upset you Craig.

    I have a very nice garden with lots of plants and very soft skin around my neck.

  15. Ian Chappell is regarded as a great because he behaved like a great, not because he was one. Don’t get me wrong he was a very good cricketer but not great. Bit like Rod Marsh – good/ordinary at best.

    We shouldn’t get blinded by people’s persona. Chappelli only averaged 42.

  16. I have spoken to a couple of lads who were rookies at Shield level when I C was about.

    Apparently he used to say some very naughty things to the young ones to put them off their game. Hardly good behaviour.

  17. Skip of Skipton says

    Ian Chappell’s average of ‘only’ 42 would be more like 52 if his career had been played over the last 15 years. During the span of his career I say he faced better bowling attacks with more regularity than the likes of Ponting’s generation.

  18. Can’t argue with that Skip.

    Boonie was in that boat too. He had four of them trying to knock the begeezuz out of him and still managed the No 1 ranking for a while.

  19. Can argue with that Skip. Even compared to his contemporaries (his brother Greg for example who was a great cricketer), Ian Chappell’s average can only be considered “good” not “great”.

  20. Out of interest, I looked up the batting averages of the top 6 from a random Test played in 1973:

    Stackpole – 37
    Redpath – 43
    Greg Chappell – 53
    Ian Chappell – 42
    Walters – 48
    Ross Edwards – 40

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