Archive | April, 2015

Farewell Mr Benaud

10 Apr

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Ranting and raving about the problems of the world is my usual modus operandi, a therapy of sorts or simply a way to cope with the realities of the world.  But today the bear within has been silenced. The rants are taking a backseat to pay tribute to a legend.

As a young man I grew up with Richie being ‘the voice of summer’. My passion and love for  the game of cricket can be directly attributed to this man. Richie wouldn’t command attention by imposing himself on his audience, he would simply impart his knowledge and the history of the game through a genuine passion and understanding. When Richie Benaud spoke everyone listened, not because they had to but because they wanted to. Right until the end of his career he managed to engage people of all ages. From children right through to the elderly he remained relevant, on point and interesting. Unlike most of the new commentators he didn’t speak to just be heard, he spoke when he had something of relevance to say. Which lucky for us was quite often.

 “My mantra, put your brain into gear and if you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up”   Richie Benaud.

Richie would not only talk about his beloved Australian team but all cricket teams. He was a conduit between the past and the present players of all cricketing nations.  While observing techniques of present players he would make reference to former players of similar styles. Often comparing two cricketers from two completely different countries. Thus bridging the cultural divide  and educating all who were watching and reminding us of the others that walked before us. Sunil Gavaskar, Wasim Akram, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Richard Hadlee, The Don, Joel Garner, Arjuna Ranatunga,  Keith Miller, Kapil Dev are but hundreds of players that are forever burned into my memory. There aren’t  too many sports around the world where you can name past and present players from various national sides dating back to the 1930’s. I attribute this in part to Richie Benaud.

Richie Benaud was a gentleman. Throughout his career as a sportsman and commentator Richie always held himself to a high standard. He never lowered himself to swearing, trash talking or any form of skulduggery. He was a fierce competitor, an honourable Captain and a successful commentator, all while maintaining grace and decorum. This didn’t mean he was a soft touch and he didn’t mix words when he believed something was inappropriate or unsportsmanlike.  I believe that Australia’s sense of sportsmanship and fair play was influenced by Richie Benaud  and this link says it all,

The Underarm Bowl

After seeing this you, you can clearly see why the man was so well liked and respected around the world. To come on national television and speak so passionately gives us an insight into the type captain and leader he was. I bet if he was in the commentary team for the 2015 World Cup Final the behavior of some the Australian team would have come under the same scrutiny.

Richie led a commentary team that provided cricket lessons, tactical hints, anecdotes and insights that could easily see you through a 5 day test match. But a highlight for me was when Shane Warne was bowling and Richie was commentating. The genuine insight into the mind of a leg spin bowler enabled me to not only appreciate Warne’s skill but his ‘chess like’ approach to his craft. Benaud would guide you through every step of the way and give the viewers an insight into the game that was truly special.

His knowledge of cricket was well documented but I think my favourite part of Richie Benaud’s commentary were his subtle jokes. His dry wit and softly spoken elegance  enabled him to slide a joke into a conversation without breaking stride and leave his audience either completely oblivious or in fits of laughter.

“And Glenn McGrath dismissed for two, just ninety-eight runs short of his century.”

I never lived through the Bradman era but people like Richie Benaud enabled me to fully appreciate his legend. I am just happy that I was able to grow up in the Benaud era and witness for myself a true legend.

Thanks for teaching  me cricket and what sportsmanship really means.

Farewell Mr Benaud

How Australia Lost The Cricket World Cup

2 Apr


The Australian Coach and Brad Haddin celebrating their win as ‘World Champions Dickheads’

Well what a bunch of complete dickheads the Australia Cricket Team are (except Steve Smith)!  Never has a victory felt more hollow. I thought it was because Brendan McCullum went cheaply in the first over but that wasn’t the case.

Growing up I loved the spirit in which Australians played sport. Often the under dogs we would fight hard and fair, with a tough, ‘never say die’ attitude.

Win or lose I was proud to be an Australian.

I believe our sense of competition and sportsmanship evolved from the spirit of the ANZACS. The type of men that were faced with impossible odds, fought with their lives and still came away with a mutual respect for and from their enemy.

John Mcenroe, Dennis Conner, Ian Botham, and Douglas Jardin were the type of characters we loved to hate. The pompous, arrogant, unsportsman like antagonsits that drove Australians to try harder to achieve the impossible and beat these wankers.

Enter the Australian Cricket Team. Their ‘pig headed, win at all cost attitude’ made me ashamed to be Australian. These bunch of bogans lead by ‘Boof’ may get results but at what cost. The treatment they gave to the New Zealand players was disgraceful.  Screaming in the faces of McCullum, Vittori, Guptill and Elliot was extremely disrespectful and just showed how weak these bunch of Australian wankers are. I used to see  Australian representatives as an extention of my self but all I saw was the type of dickheads you see in the local RSL after a game of club cricket deciding who bowled the best nut, who has the worst ‘salad’ and what rub and tug they were going to visit that night.

Completely classless,  the lot of them.

If you are a true champion you don’t need that type of ‘carry on’. Considering we have the most mentally fragile characters in the game (Watson and Johnson) I find it quite ironic that Haddin called the kiwis ‘too soft’. No Brad it’s called respect.

The weight of expectation from the New Zealand Public and the illness to Martin Crowe meant the New Zealanders were shouldering immense pressure to perform and a fair bit of emotional baggage as well.

Did they resort to ‘dickhead behaviour’?

No.  Quite the opposite. Brendan McCullum handled himself with complete aplomb when addressing the opposition, the media and his peers. After every conference I walked away thinking, ‘I wish he was an Australian’. Even when prompted by the media in the last interview, McCullum would not resort to finger pointing or highlighting the Australians  behavior. Pure  Pure Class.

Only last night Martin Crowe gave a stirring tribute to Dan Vettori:

“And I saw Dan Vettori …and I just burst open with all the emotion that I had. He gave me a huge hug and I just said, what a career, what an inspiration.

“You set the benchmark for everyone in this team, a class of skill, devotion – you know, I, ..that was the moment for me, March 29, was Dan limping off for the last time.

Daniel Vittori has been an absolute stalwart for New Zealand. He has saved or made countless innings for his country. The treatment he received, on what may have been his last one day international, was abhorrent. Yet we stand and applaud a bogan who once tried to leave without singing the team song to see Lara Bingle and get another Arabic tattoo. Only to have Michael Katich dropped for trying to stop it. This bloke is so ‘off’ even his hamstrings didn’t want to stay attached to him. If you want to see  how champions conduct themselves then click on this link for Martin Crowe’s Emotional Tribute to Vettori.

Invariably someone will argue, ‘well the Aussies needed  to do it to win’!  Being a condescending, arrogant dick is never needed  to win. I was watching the game with my nephew and instead of jumping in the air and celebrating I was telling  him, ‘the way Brad Haddin just carried on is never acceptable. I was half expecting Michael Clarke to order that the rest of the 49 overs be bowled underarm. That is how low we have sunk.

The Australian people are now  looking towards the All Blacks to see what a true champion team looks like. I have many Australian mates that hold them in high regard, higher than any Australian team. The All Blacks are humble, respectful and never resort to unsportsmanlike behaviour to achieve a win. They follow 5 lessons of leadership and if follow the link below you will see why they are the most inspiring sporting team in the world.

The five lessons of leadership from the All Blacks

Even our other codes are looking abroad for their guidance. Last month, Laurie Daley spent time with the All Blacks in an attempt to harness the culture that has been bred among the team. Since when do we have to look at other nations to give us an example of decency and sportsmanship. Have we slipped so far. It isn’t that Australia has run out of winners, we have simply run out of champions.

The Australian cricket team are meant to be the champions of the world and I wouldn’t bother raising a glass to them.  There is maybe one or two blokes I would have a beer but the rest I am happy to leave in the gutter with Warnie.

I am sorry but their behavior is ‘unaustralian’. Yes there is that word ‘unaustralian’. I have lived here for 36 years which makes me pretty qualified in judging it. UNAUSTRALIAN. Or maybe their behaviour is now typically Australian? If it is then something drastic has to change otherwise Boof, Warnie, the big show and the other dickheads can kindly remove the coat of arms from their playing strip because they don’t represent me or Australia.

As of today, the coach Darren Lehman has come out and said,

‘we haven’t been charged by the match committee so our behaviour musnt have been too bad’.

Wow what a mature response from the coach.  As a 45 year old man, if you need someone else to point your moral compass for you, then mate you have no chance. You shouldn’t need a committee to tell you that your teams behaviour was acceptable or unacceptable. Any one with a shred of decency would have seen that the Aussies needed to pull their heads in. As they say a fish rots from the head and Mr Lehman you having very rotten head.

I have news to the Australian Cricket Team. Coming first makes you a winner but winning with class and respect makes you a champion.

We didn’t come close to winning the Gallipoli campaign. We took an absolute pasting but a 100 years on what do we remember? The result or how we conducted ourselves?

Congratulations to New Zealand on the victory. You are the true champions in my mind.