Chappelli always knew when he nicked one



A few seasons ago, I had the good fortune to stumble upon Ian Chappell fielding some talkback on Fairfax radio during a rain break.


One call was from some bloke from Redneck central who, by the sound of him, had spent way too much time complaining about refugees and not nearly enough appreciating cricket’s nuances. He asked, “Why don’t they ban these bloody bouncers? You’d reckon after what happened to Phil Hughes they’d put a stop to them. It’s a bloody disgrace, Ian, is what it is: a bloody disgrace.” I could sense the blood welling in Ian’s temples. In that inimitable Chappelli tone where he conveys he’s never suffered a fool before and he’s not about to start now, he said, “Mate if you want cricket games where one team scores twelve hundred runs and the other a thousand, that’s the best way to go about it.” To this he forcefully added, “The problems not bouncers, mate, it’s batsmen’s techniques.” Chappelli then banged on as he always does about how batsmen in his day handled the short ball a lot better than the modern players and that if he had things his way, there’d be no helmets, no laws about intimidatory bowling, and way, way more juice left in pitches.


A little later, there was a call from someone who’s accent suggested he’d spent more of his life in a non-english speaking country than Australia. He commented, “Why do dey have dese 5 day draws in cricket? Is stupid.” In the pause before he answered, Ian surely despaired, Lord give me strength. He then said, “Mate, that’s just the way cricket is. You’ve got 5 days to get a result and if you can’t get one in 5 days, you don’t deserve to win.” As Chappelli’s explanations go, it was a good one, but the logic surely must have been lost on the caller. If they hadn’t then moved to the next call, and he’d been allowed a follow up comment, you’d dare say he’d have questioned “Keh?” just like Manuel from Fawlty Towers.


When not tearing his hair out dealing with fragments of Steve Price’s audience, Chappelli is, of course, giving no quarter to anyone looking to take him on in Channel 9’s box.


One thing Heals, Slats and co might of was a comment he made during the Boxing Day Test.


James Vince had just been given LB to one he nicked, and having not realizing he had, chose not to review. Chappelli was astounded: “I tell ya, I always knew when I nicked one,” he boasted, or something to that effect.


Chappelli’s astonishment continued as the replays came in, complete with hotspot and snicko verification of a chunky inside edge before the ball thudded into the pad. Meanwhile, I kept thinking bemused, Isn’t anyone gonna take him on about this?


And it went on and on, replay after replay after replay, and Chappelli continued in an air that he was so switched on when he played that he would never have suffered Vince’s fate and still nothing from his co-commentators … nothing.


Boy, I tell ya, Tong Greig would have been turning …


So, Ian, baby, sweetheart, here’s the straight dope: you always knew when you nicked one, the times you knew you nicked one. Just as James Vince and Dawid Malan proved in this test, it is possible to nick one without feeling it. So science says, it’s highly likely that you nicked during your career without realizing it. Even if it was just once  … and even if it was just the slightest, faintest, almost undetectable edge.


Still, I bloody love ya.


And oh, Chappelli doesn’t get the raspberry for the most illogical comment during the Melbourne Test. That goes to … and as if you weren’t expecting it! … Shane Warne, who, in response to a wearisome reference to ‘Being only as good as your last game’, remarked, “I’m more of a ‘You’re only as good as your next game’ type.”


You’re only as good as your next game?


Shane, when you return the DeLoream to Marty McFly, after checking out whether someone is still good in the future, be sure to shoot me the results from that match: I’ve always wanted to take on the spot-fixing bookies with that sort of inside info.



About Punxsutawney Pete

Punxsutawney Pete see's a shadow: twelve more months of winter


  1. Hey, good point. Chappelli has made a comment about his ability to sense nicks that is completely unverifyable. His definition of a nick is one he has felt, so by definition, he feels them all!

  2. Chappelli knew when he nicked one because Les Favell told him.

  3. These are the reasons why the TV picture is on the cricket but the sound is from ABC Radio. EVERY time. 6% – totally agree – hope you’re keeping warm in your part of the world!

  4. From memory Les Favell was a “walker” who had his bat tucked under his arm and was half way to square leg when he feathered one to the keeper. Long before the umpire raised the finger.
    Ian never nicked one in his life as demonstrated by his leaning on his bat and staring at the umpire with a nonchalant “I dare you you bastard” glare. When given out would give the “I know where you live” rebuke before storming off, looking back in disbelief.
    “Never give ’em an inch” was what made IMC so good.

  5. PB- Mike Sexton’s book is terrific on why Chappelli is such a compelling and influential leader. I reckon he had cricket and those who played for him at heart, and nothing else.

  6. Mickey – I sent my Dad the Mike Sexton book (and the Christian Ryan – ditto JTH) for Christmas. Look forward to reading it on the rebound when visit Adelaide mid-season to give the Crows/Pies some curry. I loved Ian Chappell as a cricketer from when he first played Sheffield Shield (I mimicked his leggies action) and loved his flair in a time of dour cricket (pity he gave up the leggies when we got Jenner and Mallett from WA).
    My point was that he played the game hard and loved to win. Never give ’em an inch. Where Favell had the Keith Miller devil may care (we are lucky to be playing sport) air in the way he batted and captained. IMC learned a lot from Favell and admired him but added a much harder edge.
    The WW2 survivors like Miller and Favell (he first played for NSW) were the last of the gifted amateurs. The Chappell era the start of overdue professionalism – culminating in WSC.

  7. Good stuff PB. The most interesting character in Sexton’s book is Mallett with his seemingly gentle offies and, as required, bat-hurling at those who strayed too close, and pissed him off- as they say.

    I hope your Dad enjoys the book. Have a great NYE!

  8. Ian Chappell was my 1st cricket hero and PB you nailed the difference between Les and Ian how ever I disagree with Ian on this 1 as a lot of senior umpires make the point the difference is in the bats nowadays they haven’t got the feel like days gone bye the Vince 1 the batsman just did not no and no problem with that personally

  9. I gave my dad the book for Xmas and look forward to reading it on the rebound thanks PP

  10. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    You always knew when you nicked one, the times you *knew* you nicked one.’


    That should be, ‘You always knew when you nicked one, *the times* you knew you nicked one.’

    Boy, i’ll never make the brass section of the Billy Hyde band tooting my horns in the all wrong places like that. Have to cut down on snorting ajax when I’m scribbling my nonsense … might make my shoddiness a little less shoddy

    Thanks for readin fellas

    Chappelli eh? Even though he makes lofty claims to the unverifiable, you gotta love him

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    Rulebook is right, huge difference in the feel of the bats now compared to Chapelli’s era.

    IM Chappell the odd one out now in a commentary box full of mates from the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Really can’t imagine him having a beer with MJ Clarke after a Test match.

  12. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    I haven’t handled the new bats, Luke, but even if that’s the case, I still reckon Chappelli’s logic is a bit screwy. Claiming you always knew when you nicked one is just a silly thing to say. Of course, if you knew you nicked one, you knew you nicked one. But if you nicked one, and you didn’t realize you nicked one, you not gonna enter that in the equation. Well at least, if you’re Ian Michael Chappell.

  13. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Last comment a bit out.

    I haven’t handled the new bats, Luke, but even if that’s the case, I still reckon Chappelli’s logic is a bit screwy. Claiming you always knew when you nicked one is just a silly thing to say. Of course, if you knew you nicked one, you knew you nicked one. But if you nicked one, and you didn’t realize you had, you’re not gonna enter that in the equation. Well at least, if you’re Ian Michael Chappell.

  14. ““There are known nicks, things we know that we know we nick; and there are known unknicks, things that we know we don’t nick. But there are also unknown unknicks, things we do not know we don’t nick.”
    D Rumsfeld USA XI batted #3 (2001 to 2006 v Afghanistan drawn series). Known knickhead.

  15. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Lovely Peter!

  16. Yep, reading that marvellous work by Mike Sexton, I’m cognisant of Chappelli saying he’d been taught by Victor Richardson, never to argue with umpires. James Vince made an error of judgement: it cost him his wicket.

    With Chappelli saying always knew when he nicked one , I recall the intriguing scenes on day 2 of the fourth test, Australia Vs the Windies, Sydney in the 1975-76 season. Chappelli had yet to score, Michael Holding was bowling. A huge appeal for a catch at the wicket: Not out. Michael Holding was inconsolable, crying, slumping to the turf, requiring his team mates to help him stand up, regain his composure, then bowl again. In his next over he picked up Chappelli for 4, but did Chappelli nick it that day, or ???


  17. John Butler says

    Rulebook and Luke on the money here re the bats. The ones Chappelli would have used would feel like toothpicks in comparison. Particularly the edges.

    Your point of logic is taken PP, but I’d still rather listen to an hour of Chappelli than a minute of Heals or Slats the Wonder Dog. Warnie would be better in better company.


  18. Punxsa-and-the-rest-of-it Pete says

    Hey John. Yeah, how Vince and Malan failed to realize they’d snicked was startling. Says a lot about these wonder bats they use today. All the same, over a career spanning 20 years, and longer if you include his junior days, Chappelli most likely would have feathered a few that he didn’t feel. My piece was posted a little prematurely, so I don’t think I honed exactly what I was trying to say, in that regard. Still the point of it all is kinda there: it is hubris to make lofty claims about something that is unverifiable.

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