I am a forgiving and tolerant man.

I forgive easily, turn the other cheek and all that other rubbish.

However, as much as I am a stickler for tradition and the 5 day white outfit form of our summer game, I am also one who appreciates good manners.

Courtesy, decent standards of behaviour and generally having regard for others are some things I stand for and expect in others.

I have never expected flowery public statements of gratitude. Cards are not demanded, gifts brushed away as unnecessary and reimbursement greeted with a shocked look of disgust at a social faux pas up there with passing the port the wrong way.

But, as the cockney bloke in the Pink Floyd song so rightly says “Good manners don’t cost nuffin”.

Well in this case, it seems the Australian Cricket Board is bereft of even a nil cost approach to a serious problem that I admirably (in my view) volunteered to solve.

Recently, I announced I was no longer able to be selected to play for Australia in the Test team, which many would consider the pinnacle of sporting achievement. I made a tough call that I thought over for ages, thinking not once of myself.

Later, when wickets and reputations crumbled in Tasmania before the might of the Kiwi seamers, I felt it was time to think of country before self.

In withdrawing my withdrawedness and reversing my reversal on the availability of my good self for test selection in at least the Boxing Day match, I did not choose to share with the selectors the logistical drama that accompanied the decision.

Behind the scenes, changing my plans for the Christmas-New Year period for the sole good of my country did not come without some rearrangement and hasty movement of plans.

If Happy Feet 2 only shows at cinemas for a week or Silvers Circus in Richmond packs up earlier than planned and I haven’t met my fatherly obligations as promised, no amount of vision of me at short leg under the helmet on Day 3 is going to satisfy the little ones.

Equally, as the WAG in my life has to potentially miss a generous and cost effective part of the Boxing Day sales to make nice with Mrs Ponting then, engaging as I imagine she is, this is not something that she would take lightly.

So to have my generous offer, attached as it was to cost savings regarding transport and catering, potential damages to my dignity and a view to the general strong future of the great game, as well as family inconvenience, so heinously ignored and not greeted with any recognition by the powers that be and clearly declined, is something that I struggle to cope with.

I blame the internet, the rise in the public and loud use of mobile phones, Twitterbook and My Face, the poor educational standards of retail assistants and the low training and development offered to call centre operators for a general drop in good old fashioned values.

When a chap offers his support to a group of other chaps, clearly when they are under pressure, when it is a sacrifice in terms of family time post Christmas, and wanting no glory save protecting our top order batsmen whilst the world watches, a thank you is not too much to ask.

My decision to take myself away from test consideration was done with the team and country at heart, to ease the burden on selectors and have one less potential name to worry about.

My decision to return in light of the Tasmanian test debacle was done with no concern for myself, save helping team and country.

There was always a slight chance that my selection for Boxing Day, protecting as it would Cowan and Watson for a test or two, would have backfired, but the fact that I was prepared to shoulder that responsibility should have been noted.

I would have thought a simple ‘thanks’, or ‘thanks but no thanks’, or ‘not this time Sean but geez, what an example you’ve set’, would have been not too much to ask.

But no, the selectors (and I include Marsh and Bichel here, whilst giving some grace to the newly arrived Arthurs) saw fit to ignore my offer.

I didn’t expect to be accepted, but was it too much to expect gratitude?

When faceless men meet selfless acts, it is a shame that manners are the casualty.

Not a thank you was offered, not an acknowledgment was given, when massive changes in plans and sacrifices in time occurred.

So, be it on your own heads Invers and crew.

You had the chance to establish a legacy borne from abject failure, for long term gain not short term pleasure.

I was willing to reverse my retirement from non participation in the Test team to help out in a scrap, and as mentioned, nurdle around to take the shine off the new ball through massive amounts of leg byes following hits on the body, to rotate the strike to the left handed Warner, and generally bamboozle the Indian quicks who would have had no access to video footage of my recent form.

My actions were not just declined, they were ignored.

Good old fashioned manners, the stuff you see in Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs is obviously in short supply in Jolimont.

I weep for the youth of our country.

Clarke, you’re on your own, Good luck son. I will think of you as I sit in the Jam Factory Village multiplex or dodge the crowds at Westfield. On your head be it. I’m OUT.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Just to jump on the bandwagon ever so slightly Sean, I made very strong recommendations regarding the inclusion of Messrs Cowan and Hilfenhaus about a month ago much to the amusement of some Knackers.

  2. Don’t be so hasty Sean. With SMarsh and Mr Cricket now having (unexpected) Boxing Day commitments, the Perth Pensioners T20 side is looking for talent. I have put your name at the top of the list I sent our selectors. Bradley George Hogg needs another over 40 to share banter with about the Beatles, Pot Black and the best episodes of Porridge. Collingwood needs someone who will not ignore him just because of his surname. Herschelle needs someone else who can explain away his failures with a gesture to the plain brown envelope passed under the table at breakfast time.
    You are the man to fill the bill on all counts.
    “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your franchise can do for you.”

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    There’s still time Sean. Punter or Huss might do a hammie bending down to put presents under the tree. Don’t eat too much Christmas pudding just in case.

  4. As ever, the chorus of appreciation from almanackers for my potential return or at least my generous and selfless offer is heartening.

    However, my overall comment is about manners. If the selectors call, even am on the 26th, I coudld still jump on a tram and be there for the first ball.

    And I would accept their offer with my country’s need foremost in my mind and not a word about hwo my offers have been treated.

    But I still believe that courtesy and general standard of decency have been grossly neglected, and the yellow and white colours of the running googy that will be the egg on their face will be clear to see as it mixes with the crow and humble pie they’ll be forced to eat on a crowded and frankly unappetising Boxing Day menu.

    I would accept the call if chance fell my way and against Huss or Punter picking up a child post 25th lunch and doing their back or Pup getting a tattoo infection.

    But good manners will still have been neglected, and common courtesy lost, with the moment lost for old fashioned values and for that, I weep for a generation lost amongst low pants and high undies.

  5. Skip of Skipton says

    The first time you posted in this series, I was a tad perplexed.
    Now I feel ‘clued up’ and ‘in the zone’ etc; There is an ‘undercurrent’ in your writing, are you aware?
    Keep ’em coming. This is brilliant.

  6. I suppose Sean that you always have to weigh up what an un-retirement will do to your reputation.

    Some combacks result in an enhanced reputation and others not so.

    Make your own mind up on some of these

    Dame Nellie Melba
    Bob Simpson
    Colin Cowdrey (answered the call for his country just as you were trying to do)
    John Farnham
    Tony Lockett (don’t think he got back for a real game)
    John Howard

    You may be better off with your reputation intact rather than risk it being undermined.

    I can feel your pain. I was hoping for a call up years ago as a specialist fielder after I won 2 fielding trophies in 3 years for the Heathmon Uniting 3rds but it never came. Batting was probably not up to Test standard but should have also won the bowling trophy but for some rule about a certain number of overs bowled or wickets taken. Surely 1/4 off 2 overs i.e. average of 4 gets you the gong?


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