The Day of the Giants


by Bob Utber

The beauty of being an MCC member is that you meet so many people you either know or as some would say “famous”.

I met both today.

John “Mulga” Shelton is probably one of the top ten best known footballers who only played a handful of games. Shelton played six games for Fitzroy and his real claim to fame was sitting Ron Barassi on his backside during the early days of his career.  Shelton has lived on that bump for nearly sixty years and during that time everyone who has crossed his path has known him as “Mulga”. Mulga had four brothers “Todd”, “Tadpole”, “Honey” and “Slim”.  Not many people would know their real names.  Their father’s name was “Carbine”. Shelton was no slouch as a country footballer and was assistant coach to Tommy Hafey at Shepparton during their glory years as well as coaching himself around the State.

Mulga loves his sport and never misses a day at the “G’ in company with brother Paddy (Honey) and friend “Taurus”. He always greets you with “it’s not like the old day’s Bobby”. Haddin is not as good as Tallon, Siddle and Pattinson don’t hold a candle to Lindwall and Miller and so on.  But we love the old Mulga and he will, believe me, talk sport all day.

Walked past the great Frank Tyson who this time 56 years ago tore through the Australian team when he was named “The Typhoon”. Today is he just a zephyr and walks with the aid of a stick. He greets acquaintances and others with great bonhomie. Good to see him at the game.

The day belonged to the Indian Giants – Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag who showed every stroke in the book.

The Little Master received one of the great receptions in cricket history for someone coming out to bat.  For many it will be the last time they will see him live and they gave him a rousing standing ovation. It was the adrenalin he needed for he then proceeded to play every shot in the book.  He chanced his arm on some occasions but tempered that with some magnificent shots plus a few audacious ones. His dismissal for 73 in the last over before stumps to a fired up Peter Siddle was a tragedy for his millions of adoring fans worldwide. My friend Nando told me he knew of two fans that had flown from Boston in the US just to see him bat

Dravid’s (68 n.o.) was a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Sehweg (67) was like Dartagan, swashbuckling at its best, although he was worked over by Count Pattinson who finally took his scalp.

Australia added another 56 runs in the morning with an old fashioned tailender innings from Hilfenhaus (19).  Khan 4 and 3 each to Yadav and Ashwin .

Australia all out 333.  India 3/214 at stumps

Day 3 looms as the make or break day for both teams.  India is poised for a big score and with a fit Dravid to resume and then Very Very Special, Kohli and Dohni to follow they could build up a significant lead.

On the other hand Australia could advance if Siddle and Pattinson can continue their good work from today’s play and have the visitors struggling.

An enthralling day’s play again and yet another that showed what a shrewd tactician The Pup is and it is significant that since he has taken over the captaincy Australia have been involved in eight absorbing test matches

I’m glad I caught up with Mulga and Typhoon – they make any day more pleasant.




About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Bob, the highlight among many for the day was the ovation received by Tendulker when he arrived on the ground. Is there any more defining moment that signiifies the difference between test and shorter forms of the game. No music no bells, just respect and appreciation of a wonferful cricketer and crowd that is actually there to see him play. not just see themselves play.

  2. Tony
    could not agree more.
    I maybe an old fart but there is only ONE form of cricket.
    The knowlegable crowd showed what the game is all about with that wonderful reception (standing) for the Little Master.
    We do not need anything more than watching the battle between bat and ball taking place.
    Although I must admit I did take on of those phones from a young woman to listen to the other great part of Test match cricket the ABC.
    Siddle’s effort was worthy of note too
    a great day at the G
    warm regards
    Bob U

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