|Issue No 48||31 March 2000|
Noel Hester's Master Plan
A mean-spirited Kiwi unveils his plan to save international cricket and give New Zealand a chance to win a game.
Watching a team grow into greatness is a special experience for the sports fan.
But there's a downside to Australia's relentless annihilation of the other cricketing nations. One-sided massacres tend to get a bit boring after a while and a champion team needs genuine contests to seize the glory.
Steve Waugh's team is nearly there but they need a good workout to prove the point.
So what is to be done? - as a well known Russian used to say - to stiffen up the opposition, extend the champs and maximise the talent strutting the international stage.
A masterplan is needed to save international cricket. Here are some ideas:
An international draft
The Carlton football club's motor mouth (and foreign exchange expert) John Elliot has always branded the AFL's draft as socialism -arguably a good reason for having it. But a better reason is that has produced an even, fiercely contested and unpredictable competition which keeps fans hooked year in and year out. Just what test cricket needs!
Think of the wasted talent now denied an international stage to strut their stuff due to the phenomenal depth in Australian cricket: Darren Lehmann, Mathew Elliot, Stuart Law, Jason Gillespie, Stuart McGill et al.
Sure fans would be outraged at first if they were drafted to other international teams but with their notoriously short memories they would soon get used to it. Who in Sydney remembers Plugger used to play for North Ballarat?
Anyway if he was well disguised in the appropriate head gear, Darren Lehmann striding out to the centre would just look like a Sikh version of Inzamam Al-Huq. Soon people would just assume he always came from the Punjab.
After several games and a swag of tons by Mathew Elliot in a Black Cap, you'll be hearing comments from Australian fans like: Didn't that Kiwi wanker use to play club cricket in Victoria?
And you can always rely on the media to muddy the water. Take Mathew Sinclair. After scoring a double century on debut the Australian media couldn't stop pointing out his Katherine roots. After a string of failures he's definitely a Kiwi.
Home advantage is too great in cricket and there's a need to level the playing field for the touring sides. Look at how much trouble visiting sides have adjusting to the bounce of Australian wickets. Modern demands have touring teams playing the tests almost as soon as they get off the plane. By the time they are getting the feel of the different conditions on the third day of the third test the series is already over.
Get an Indian groundsman to prepare the WACA wicket as he wishes! That should inject a delicious element of unpredictability into the game.
Unlimited use of the bouncer
Only two bouncers per over is bullshit. This is a dumb rule. It was only brought in to curb the awesome track record of the West Indies in the 1980s and 1990s.
It is an outrageous class-based ruling in favour of those bohemian sportsmen - the batsmen. Bowlers are the real workers in cricket and they have been denied a legitimate weapon in their arsenal.
I will digress for a second. This assertion - bowlers are working class, batters bourgois is actually based on historical fact. Apparently in its early days it was a common occurrence for poncy aristocrats to pay the burly local miners/labourers/farm workers to hurl the ball down at them while they decadently swatted them around the park.
Fast bowlers have legitimate historical and class-based reasons to be angry. Denying them one of the few rights to express themselves is like denying a worker the right to strike. It's unacceptable.
The Total Abolition of One Day Cricket
A contentious idea I know but one day cricket is so one dimensional and forgettable. With the odd exception like the world Cup semi against South Africa they all blend into one another. It develops bad habits in players. And worst of all it is a batsman's game!
Imagine making up rules to protect someone like Michael Bevan. A man who would whither under a Curtly Ambrose stare. Bevan would be walking back to the pavillion before Shoaib Akhtar reached his mark in over one in a genuine contest.
And he's meant to be the world's best one day player! To hell with that. Scrap the game.
Interview: The New President
At the end of her first week in the job, new ACTU President Sharan Burrow trades emails with Workers Online.
Health: Making Sense of Medicare
Nurses lift the lid on the Medicare myths as they shape up for a major national campaign.
Unions: Bush Bashing
The Finance Sector Union is taking to the road to pressure the government to impose community service obligations on banks.
Politics: The French Connection
While Victorian building unions are seeking a 36 hour week, Eurpoean nations like France are taking a more communcal approach to working time.
Economics: Mutual Obligation
New statistics show that an increasing number of people are volunteering to contribute to the community.
History: Living Library - Part II
More on the rich labour history that is housed within the walls of Sydney's Mitchell Library.
International: Russian Revolution
Russian trade unions are calling for the revision of a draft Labour Code, against the backdrop of Presidential elections.
Review: Casino Royale
Laurie Aaron's new book is sparking a lively debate about how a progressive agenda can be adapted to the challenges of globalisation.
Satire: Chop ‘em Up and Stick ‘em in Acid”
The West Australian Government is poised to pass Pakistani-style sentencing laws.
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