Rescinding a decision


by Sean Curtain

It takes a big man to admit when he is wrong, and on this occasion, I am both of those.

Last week, after many reds worth of soul searching, I declared that I no longer wished the selectors to include me in their considerations for a position in the Australian Test 11.

It now appears that this decision, borne as it was from a willingness to help, has potentially been seen as a selfish and unfortunate decision that we could, dare I say, as a nation, come to regret.

I admit that whilst I was aware of the parlous state of Australian Test cricket, even I was not enough of a visionary to see just what a decision like this could mean in a time of need.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and it now seems that cometh that time, runneth away did I.

Whilst no Twitterbook or My Face campaigns have been launched as yet to ask for a DRS on my voluntary removal, the old school supporter base (Crio, Ray, MOC, JB and Pamela, yes I am looking at you) has spoken on behalf of the silent majority.

Borg, Spitz, Lockett and most likely Thorpe all left their returns far too late. It would be a tragedy, in so many ways, if my name was mentioned in that company, filling in the 3 or 4 spot in the Top 5 list of belated and unsuccessful comebacks.

In a time when Australia is screaming out for an opener to hold up an end, not get bat on ball to third slip, and score the bulk of the runs in a Warner or Watson partnership through taking balls on the body and scampering through for leg byes to rotate the strike, I realise I have been thinking of myself too much.

Katich is Rudd to Clarke’s Gillard and never the twain shall meet again. Rogers and Jacques have their papers stamped and others like Cazzulino and Robinson are too far away.

The experiment of McGill in the team proved that Australia was ready for a player in the dressing room who had read a book, but Hayden’s cooking guides and Punter’s diaries aside, are we ready for an opener in Cowan who has actually written one.

What the mid pitch conversations with Watson would be like dazzle the mind. Debating clothing choices so they don’t clash on stage when accepting the first tied Miles Franklin award for ‘Watto’, the autobiography and Cowan’s tome seem unlikely.

No, young Ed needs to have those rough educated edges knocked off him before the courier with the opener’s baggy green has to check the map for the best route from his usual trip to Sydney to parts further south.

Whilst that is happening, there’s no point in throwing another opener to the wolves led by Ishant Sharma. Best a stop gap measure, to ensure Watson is fully fit, Marsh fully fit, and Warner, again, fully fit.

The time seems right for my good self to step in. To seek forgiveness on the biggest stage, delay the inclusion of an untried State player for a few more tests to get it tickety boo, and boldly face up to the responsibility of taking the new ball.

A country cries out for leadership, for courage, for talent at this difficult stage. I feel that they can have more time to actually go and locate those things if I step in to hold the fort on the 26th.

I realise that the ACB makes extraordinary amounts of money from an Indian tour, but cost awareness is still paramount in my mind. Both the no 70 AND 75 trams pass my street in Hawthorn and both end up at the G, meaning a saving on hotels and associated costs, as well as an offer to bring in the leftover Christmas ham for the lunch breaks.

Work commitments and e-mails will be much slower in the two weeks after Christmas, with forced leave impacting most of the project team, and whilst it may seem indulgent to slot myself in for Sydney as well as Melbourne, that’s what givers do.

JFK may not have been much chop on a damp seeming wicket nor had the ability to pitch the ball in the corridor of uncertainty, but he could sure crack a great line that made you think.

I am not asking what my country can do for me. I am squeezing in a two week period over Chrissy at the top of the order as I believe it is what I can do for my country.

I hereby withdraw my previous stated withdrawedness and reverse my reversal, to return to the status quo.

I am now available for test consideration.

I’ll just go and put my whites into soak with Napisan.







  1. Very noble Sean. Don’t use all the Napisan right now. You will need it after you face up to the Indian quicks on Boxing Day (for grass stains of course).

  2. John Butler says

    Sean, I fear this has come too late for Phil Hughes’ state of mind.

    But a welcome decision all the same. Never has so much depended on so few…

  3. pamela sherpa says

    I’m glad you’ve had a good hard think about this Sean and are doing the right thing for Australia. You’ll do us all proud I’m sure.

  4. A day in the life of a commentator should be next. Perhaps filling the hole left by the late Peter Roebuck!

  5. Sean
    Welcome back to the ACB contract list. We were getting sick of those caught-Guptill-bowled-Martins.

    And in answer to your question in the post under your “retirement” story, I can report that not only did I retain my spot in the 4ths, skipper Gaz must have detected something in my brief stay at the crease in my return match. On winning the toss away at Mazenod (the Nodders), he opened the scorebook to a blank page, cast a perfunctory glance over the assembled troops and said: “MOC, how do you feel about opening the batting?”

    “Er, I’ve never done it before.” (You will recall I considered number 6 a bit on the high side last week)

    “That makes 8 of us”, was his quick retort (last match’s openers were unavailable for varying reasons).

    I shrugged, accepted the offer and went off to strap on the pads.

    It wasn’t a total disaster. I played and missed at a few during a six over occupation, nudged a few around and then lost my off bail to the left-handed opener. Sum total: 6 runs in an opening partnership of 17 and the new ball with a few scuff marks on it. Son Daniel batted very well to make 23 at number 5, and is not yet openly campaigning for my demotion to the 5ths. We were in a bit of strife at 5/79 but Gaz (74no) and Pete “Holywood” Flanigan (41) put on 86 for the 6th wicket and we notched up a highly respectable 9/205 from our allotted 72 overs. Stay tuned for next Saturday’s exciting defence.

  6. MOC

    Brilliant, I can see a summer series happening, updates on the life of Daniel’s Dad, the dodgy opener , each Monday. Daniel will cringe eventually but good to see him showing form against what was clearly an attack that faded after the new ball lost its shine and the opening bowlers their energy due to the openers doing the team thing

  7. As a hardened (arteries mostly) cricket follower I’m relieved, gladdened, bolstered and not a little bemused by Curtain once again throwing his terry towelling into the ring for selection. Unfortunately it is a job lot and Curtain actually comes with the hat. However in an era when various incarnations of big bash T20 etc. threaten the popularity of the highest form of the game, even I can see the value of a little bit of comedy relief in the starting XI if it will put bums on seats. It worked with Greg Matthews a few years ago, and they even tried it with Trevor Laughlin during the Packer era, and now it is Curtain’s turn.

    Of course there has been a precedent set for a wily veteran coming back to help out the team in a time of crisis against a touring Indian team, and I can see why the selectors may turn to Curtain after the success of the Simpson recall in 1977/78. The records of the 2 players are remarkably similar in all aspects except that of cricket ability and statistics, but the fact that in between them they have played 62 test matches for almost 5000 runs speaks for itself. One considered one of the greatest slip fielders and opening batsman of the post war era, and the other one of the slippiest batsman and most open fielders of any era. Simpson of course was known to turn a few leg breaks as well, whilst Curtain is more renowned for the movement he could extract over mid off and mid on and virtually originated the concept of the steel cap boot for bowlers when attempting a flipper, lest they actually manage to dismiss themselves LBW by one that sticks in the hand a little. Deriving its name from the former Pakistani quick’s unique tactical acumen, this self-inflicted dismissal is now universally referred to as a “Seankad”.

    All the best of luck for Boxing Day should you get the call Sean, it may be an idea not to indulge too much Xmas Day, but it wouldn’t be a good, nor a prophetic idea. It is a grand and noble thought, but that sound you hear is of 1.2 billion people rubbing their hands together and laughing.

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