Tag Archives: bryce mcgain

Why it’s always Bryce McGain

I grew up in the People’s Democratic Republic of Victoria. I was indoctrinated early. Dean Jones was better than Viv Richards in Victoria, and had a bigger ego as well. Darren Berry kept wicket with the softest hands and hardest mouth of any keeper I have ever seen. Ian Harvey had alien cricket. Matthew Elliott could score runs with his eyes shut. The first time I saw Dirk Nannes bowl, I felt like Victoria had thawed a smiley caveman. And even though I never saw Slug Jordan play, I enjoyed his sledging for years on the radio.

So my favourite player has to be a Victorian. But my other love is cricket’s dark art, legspin. I wish I knew whether it was being a legspinner that made me love legspin, or seeing a legspinner that made me want to bowl it. Everything in cricket seemed easy to understand when I was a kid, but not legspin. And that’s where I ended up. I’m not a good legspinner, far from it, but I think that any legspinner, even the useless club ones that bowl moon balls, have something special about them.

The first legspinner I ever fell for was Abdul Qadir. I’m not sure how I saw him, or what tour it was, but even before I understood actual legspin, I could see something special about him. His action was theatrical madness and I loved it.

Then the 1992 World Cup came. I was 12, it was in Melbourne (read Australia), and this little pudgy-faced kid was embarrassing the world’s best. I was already a legspinner by then, but Mushie made it cool. This was the age where we were told spinners had no place; it was pace or nothing. Limited-overs cricket was going to take over from Tests, and spinners had no role in it. Mushie made that all look ridiculous as he did his double-arm twirl to propel his killer wrong’uns at groping moustached legends.

By worshipping Mushie I was ahead of the curve, because from then on, in Melbourne, Australia, and eventually England, Shane Warne changed the world. Mushie and Qadir had made legspinning look like it was beyond the realms of understanding, but Warne made it look like something humans could do, even if he wasn’t human himself.

It was through Warne I got to Anil Kumble. He bowled legspin in such an understated way. It was completely different to Warne. His wrist wasn’t his weapon, so he had to use everything else he had. Warne was the Batmobile, Kumble an Audi A4. Anyone could love Warne, his appeal was obvious. But to love Kumble you needed to really get legspin. The legspinner’s leggie.

When I was young, my second favourite was a guy called Craig Howard, who virtually doesn’t exist. Howard was the Victorian legspinner who Warne thought was better than him. To my 13- and 14-year-old eyes, Howard was a demon. His legspin was fast and vicious, but it was his wrong’un that was something special. Mushie and Qadir had obvious wrong’uns, subtle wrong’uns, and invisible wrong’uns. Howard had a throat-punching wrong’un. It didn’t just beat you or make you look silly; it attacked you off a length and flew up at you violently. I’ve never seen another leggie who can do that, but neither could Howard. Through bad management and injury he ended up as an office-working offspinner in Bendigo.

But good things can come from office work. It gave me my favourite cricketer of all time. A person who for much of his 20s was a struggling club cricketer no one believed in. But he believed. Even as he played 2nds cricket, moved clubs, worked in IT for a bank, something about this man made him continue. A broken marriage and shared custody of his son. His day job had him moving his way up the chain. The fact that no one wanted him for higher honours. His age. Cameron White’s legspin flirtation. And eventually the Victorian selectors, who didn’t believe that picking a man over 30 was a good policy.

Through all that, Bryce McGain continued to believe he was good enough. Through most of it, he probably wasn’t. He was a club spinner.

Bryce refused to believe that, and using the TV slow-mo and super-long-lens close-ups for teachers, he stayed sober, learnt from every spinner he could and forced himself to be better. He refused to just be mediocre, because Bryce had a dream. It’s a dream that every one one of us has had. The difference is, we don’t believe, we don’t hang in, we don’t improve, and we end up just moving on.

Bryce refused.

The world would be a better place if more people saw McGain as a hero and not a failure. He just wanted to fulfil his dream, and that he did against all odds is perhaps one of the great cricket stories of all time

At 32 he was given a brief chance before Victoria put him back in club cricket. Surely that was his last chance. But Bryce refused to believe that. And at the age of 35 he began his first full season as Victoria’s spinner. It was an amazing year for Australian spin. It was the first summer without Warne.

Almost as a joke, and because I loved his story, I started writing on my newly formed blog that McGain should be playing for Australia. He made it easy by continually getting wickets, and then even Terry Jenner paid attention. To us legspinners, Jenner is Angelo Dundee, and his word, McGain’s form and the circumstances meant that Bryce suddenly became the person most likely.

Stuart MacGill was finished, Brad Hogg wanted out, and Beau Casson was too gentle. Bryce was ready at the age of 36 to be his country’s first-choice spinner. Then something happened. It was reported in the least possibly dramatic way ever. McGain had a bad shoulder, the reports said. He may miss a warm-up game.

No, he missed more than that. He missed months. As White, Jason Krezja, Nathan Hauritz and even Marcus North played before him as Australia’s spinners. This shoulder problem wouldn’t go away. And although Bryce’s body hadn’t had the workload of the professional spinners, bowling so much at his advanced age had perhaps been too much for him. He had only one match to prove he was fit enough for a tour to South Africa. He took a messy five-for against South Australia and was picked for South Africa. He didn’t fly with the rest of the players, though, as he missed his flight. Nothing was ever easy for Bryce.

His second first-class match in six months was a tour match where the South African A team attacked Bryce mercilessly. Perhaps it was a plan sent down by the main management, or perhaps they just sensed he wasn’t right, but it wasn’t pretty. North played as the spinner in the first two Tests. For the third Test, North got sick, and it would have seemed like the first bit of good fortune to come to Bryce since he hurt his shoulder.

At the age of 36, Bryce made his debut for Australia. It was a dream come true for a man who never stopped believing. It was one of us playing Test cricket for his country. It was seen as a joke by many, but even the cynics had to marvel at how this office worker made it to the baggy green.

I missed the Test live as I was on holidays and proposing to my now-wife. I’m glad I missed it. Sure, I’d wanted Bryce to fulfill his dream as much as I’d wanted to fulfill most of mine, but I wouldn’t have liked to see what happened to him live. South Africa clearly saw a damaged player thrown their way and feasted on him. His figures were heartbreaking: 0 for 149. Some called it the worst debut in history.

I contacted him after it, and Bryce was amazingly upbeat. He’d make it back, according to him. He was talking nonsense. There was no way back for him. Australia wouldn’t care that his shoulder wasn’t right; he couldn’t handle the pressure. His body, mind and confidence had cracked under pressure. He was roadkill.

But Bryce wouldn’t see it that way, and that’s why he’s my favourite cricketer. I wasn’t there for all the times no one believed in him, for all those times his dream was so far away and life was in his way. But I was there now, at what was obviously the end. Bryce McGain saw the darkness but refused to enter it. That’s special. That is how you achieve your dreams when everything is against you.

Before I moved to London to embark on my cricket-writing career, I met Bryce for a lunch interview. It was my first interview with a cricketer. We were just two former office workers who had escaped. At this stage Casson had been preferred over him for the tour to the West Indies. In the Shield final, Bryce’s spinning finger had opened up after a swim in the ocean. He was outbowled by Casson and the selectors didn’t take him. Surely this was it. Why would anyone pick a 36-year-old who had been below his best in his most important game?

Bryce knew he may have blown it. But he still believed, of course. We were just two former office workers with dreams. Two guys talking about legspin. Two guys just talking shit and hoping things would work out.

At the time it was just cool to have lunch with this guy I admired, but now I look back and know I had lunch with the player who would become my favourite cricketer of all time.

The world would be a better place if more people saw McGain as a hero and not a failure. Shane Warne was dropped on this planet to be a god. Bryce McGain just wanted to fulfil his dream, and that he did against all odds is perhaps one of the great cricket stories of all time.

Bryce is one of us, the one who couldn’t give up.

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The children of Shane Warne and Craig Howard

I wrote this for last year’s wisden

Shane Warne’s first real victim wasn’t a batsman, but a fellow legspinner – a fellow Victorian legspinner, in fact, with a wrong ‘un so brutal it would crash into the chest of those who lunged blindly forward; a legspinner who ran in like a graceful 1920s medium-pacer, but who then produced a dramatic twirl of his long arms and ripped the ball off the surface like few teenage legspinners before or since. This legspinner was so good that Warne said he had more talent than he did. His name was Craig Howard. And if you’ve never heard of him, it’s probably not your fault: Howard doesn’t even qualify for a single-line biography on ESPNcricinfo.

By December 3, 1995, Warne – who was by then closing in on 200 Test wickets – had already saved legspin. If the date sounds random, then for Howard it was not: it was his final day of first-class cricket. He was 21. Howard retired with 42 wickets in 16 first-class games at 40 apiece, which was no great shakes. But to understand how good he was, you had to be there – you had to see him hit a batsman with his wrong ‘un. Aged 19, he had returned second-innings figures of 24.5-9-42-5 at the MCG against the South Africans.Wisden noted: “Only Rhodes, with 59, made much of Howard’s leg-spin second time around.” Darren Berry, who kept to Howard at Victoria, said he would have named him in his all-time XI of those he had played with or against if it hadn’t been for Warne. Yes, Craig Howard could definitely bowl.

Plenty of others have been bit parts in the story of Australia’s post-Warne spin apocalypse, but no one has been a more intriguing bit part than Howard. He is the only Australian bowler to go through the Cricket Academy twice, once as the artistic legspinning prodigy from my teenage years, later – after one of his fingers packed in – as a 28-year-old, made-to-order journeyman offspinner. And now Howard is back, plucked from his office job in telecommunications to coach Nathan Lyon, currently Australia’s No. 1 tweaker.

Howard, as it happened, did play alongside Warne in four Sheffield Shield games in 1993-94. The comparison is unflattering: Warne took 27 wickets at 23, Howard – who bowled 100 overs to Warne’s 247 – three at 108. But in between, with Warne away on international duty, Howard finally got a decent bowl: he took 5 for 112 against Tasmania, including the wicket of Ricky Ponting. More than 15 years later, when another leggie – Bryce McGain, who was almost 37 – was making his Test debut for Australia, the 34-year-old Howard was playing for Strathdale Maristians in Bendigo, up-country Victoria.

He is philosophical now. “Had I played Test cricket, my life would have turned out different,” he says. “I probably would have ended up in some sextext scandal and lost my wife and kids and ended up a lonely bum. Although, yes, playing Test cricket was the dream.”

There are many reasons why Howard didn’t make it: injuries, bad management, terrible advice, over-coaching, low self-confidence. But had he played in an era when Australia were desperate for a spinner, he might now be a household name – or at least someone with a decent blurb on the internet.

“At one stage, there were headlines saying I was going to play for Australia,” he says. “I remember being about 20, and at the top of my mark at the MCG. Instead of thinking, ‘How I am going to get out Jamie Siddons or Darren Lehmann?’ I’m thinking about a small group of men in the ground who are judging me. It wasn’t like that all the time, but when I was struggling this is how I felt. In the back of my mind I know the captain of my side doesn’t like me, and has told me to f*** off to Tasmania. The coach believes that, because I can’t bat or field, I am never going to be that useful. It was a dark time.”

In the mid-1990s, no one needed to look for Warne’s replacement, because he would play for ever and inspire so many kids to take up legspin that any who fell through the cracks wouldn’t be missed. Junior sides each had four or five leggies – often with peroxide hair – and they all walked in slowly, ripped the ball hard, and barely bowled a wrong ‘un. But they weren’t Warne. None had his physicality: Warne was built like a nightclub bouncer, not a spinner. Massive hands led into awe-inspiring wrists, the whole lot powered by an ox’s shoulders. But kids who try the same quickly wear themselves out.

Howard knew how they felt: “My body never backed me up. I couldn’t feel my pinky finger, had part of my right arm shortened, tendinitis in my shoulder was operated on, a wrist operation, stress fractures in my shins, tennis elbow in my knees from excessive squat thrusts, a spinning finger with bad ligaments, and barely the fitness to get through a two-day game, let alone four. There was no million-dollar microsurgery in the US for me. In the ’90s, you still had to pay for a massage and work a day job.

“There were suddenly legspinning experts everywhere – not ex-spinners but just ex-cricketers, coaches and selectors who spent years ignoring legspin. No one ever came up to you and said: ‘You should be more like Warne.’ But every bit of advice seemed to be about making you more like him. It wasn’t subtle. Everything just created doubt in your mind. And with legspin, if you have an ounce of doubt, you’re cactus.”

Warne’s retirement sparked a desperate search for his replacement. One spinner simply begat the next: Stuart MacGill, Brad Hogg, Beau Casson, Cameron White, Jason Krejza, Nathan Hauritz, Marcus North, Bryce McGain, Hauritz again, Steve Smith, Xavier Doherty, Michael Beer, Nathan Lyon. Never mind Simon Katich, Michael Clarke or Andrew Symonds.

MacGill should have softened the blow of Warne’s departure, but his knees gave way, his career as a lifestyle-show TV host took off, and it was clear he just didn’t want to bowl any more. Even then, there was Hogg, the chinaman bowler with two World Cup wins to his name. But after one horrendous home summer against India, he retired as well – only to make a bizarre return to international cricket during the Twenty20 home series against the Indians once more, in February 2012, aged all but 41.

Along came Casson, another purveyor of chinamen, but a boyish one who seemed too pure for international cricket. His first (and only) Test was uneventful, and within 12 months he would be out of the Australian set-up altogether after an attack of the yips. A brief comeback was ended by tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect.

White was captain of Victoria, where he virtually never bowled himself, but suddenly – a product of injuries to others and weird selection – he was Australia’s frontline spinner. He was awful. Krejza eventually got a chance and, on Test debut in Nagpur, claimed 12 wickets. The problem was he also gave away 358 runs; he played only one more Test. Marcus North became a Test batsman because he could bowl handy offspin, some said better than Hauritz. But despite a flattering six-wicket haul against Pakistan at Lord’s, North’s offbreaks were gentle; and they weren’t much help when his batting faded.

McGain made his debut amid plenty of jokes about Bob Holland, who was 38 when he first played for Australia. McGain was an IT professional in a bank, who had never really been especially close to state selection. But he wouldn’t go away. And while the search focused on big-turning kids, McGain sneaked into the Victoria side. In the 12 months before his Test debut, a shoulder injury had limited him to four first-class games. When the day finally came, at Newlands, McGain was roadkill: 18-2-149-0. That was it. McGain now plays part-time in the Big Bash League.

Hauritz was not deemed good enough even for New South Wales. He was a timid offspinner from club cricket with a first-class bowling average of more than 50, but he fought hard and improved regularly. The trouble was Hauritz was neither an attacker nor a defender, and Chris Gayle said it was like facing himself. By the time Hauritz was dumped, he was in the best form of his career.

A young allrounder named Steve Smith bowled legspin, and was brought in to play Pakistan in England. He made a dashing 77, was dropped and then later recalled in the Ashes as a batsman who bowled a bit – just not very well.

Xavier Doherty was given a go because Kevin Pietersen kept falling to left-arm spin. He got his man – but for 227. So in came Michael Beer, who admitted he probably wasn’t ready for Test cricket, and then proved it.

 

Mighty big shoes to fill
Bowler Style Test debut Matches Runs Wkts BB Avg SR Econ
Shane Warne LBG 1991-92 145 17,995 708 8-71 25.41 57.49 2.65
Brag Hogg SLC 1996-97 7 933 17 2-40 54.88 89.64 3.67
Stuart MacGill LBG 1997-98 44 6038 208 8-108 29.02 54.02 3.22
Nathan Hauritz OB 2004-05 17 2204 63 5-53 34.98 66.66 3.14
Beau Casson SLC 2007-08 1 129 3 3-86 43.00 64.00 4.03
Cameron White LBG 2008-09 4 342 5 2-71 68.40 111.60 3.67
Jason Krejza OB 2008-09 2 562 13 8-215 43.23 57.15 4.53
Marcus North OB 2008-09 21 591 14 6-55 42.21 89.85 2.81
Bryce McGain LBG 2008-09 1 149 0 0-149 - - 8.27
Steve Smith LBG 2010 5 220 3 3-51 73.33 124.00 3.54
Xavier Doherty SLA 2010-11 2 306 3 2-41 102.00 151.66 4.03
Michael Beer SLA 2010-11 1 112 1 1-112 112.00 228.00 2.94
Nathan Lyon OB 2011-12 10 832 29 5-34 28.68 55.72 3.08

 

The first anyone in Australian cricket heard of Nathan Lyon was when Kerry O’Keeffe mentioned him on radio. At that stage, Lyon was part of the Adelaide Oval groundstaff, and was travelling to Canberra to play for the second XI. After some good performances in the nets, Darren Berry – now Adelaide’s Twenty20 coach – took a punt on him. Lyon suddenly looked like the best spin prospect in the country – which wasn’t saying much.

Howard really had come along at the wrong time. But there were moments, before I finally spoke to him, when I wondered if he actually existed at all. Finding someone who remembered his name was hard enough; finding someone who’d seen him play next to impossible. I’d talk to a guy, who’d tell me to contact a guy, but that guy would also tell me to contact a guy. The leads never went anywhere. Craig Howard wasn’t the missing link of Australian spin bowling: he was just missing.

Then I asked Gideon Haigh about Howard, and he gave a long stare, as if he was searching through his billion-terabyte memory. I had my breakthrough. Haigh talked about how Howard looked like an otherworldly artist – long shirt buttoned to the wrist, billowing madly in the wind; incredibly gawky, like a schoolkid. Howard didn’t fit into Haigh’s, or anyone else’s, imaginings of an athlete. But it was the Howard of my youth. Someone else remembered my poet leggie.

After that I cornered O’Keeffe, legspin’s court jester. He had coached Howard at the Academy, probably twice. O’Keeffe’s eyes were full of regret: he said Howard had a biomechanically flawed action, and O’Keeffe hadn’t tried to fix it. But that didn’t stop him happily reminiscing about “a wrong ‘un batsmen had to play from their earhole”.

I collared Damien Fleming, Howard’s Victoria colleague. Fleming seemed surprised to hear the name again. He told stories about how he thought Victoria had a champion on their hands, but said his skin folds were thicker than those of Warne or Merv Hughes: “Basically bone and fat.” He could have gone further with a more supportive coaching structure, said Fleming. He added, almost lustfully: “The best wrong ‘un I’ve seen.” Then came the clincher. “If someone like him came on the scene now, he’d be given everything he needed to succeed. Like they treat Pat Cummins.”

Haigh, O’Keeffe and Fleming all seemed to think Howard was a Test spinner we had missed out on. They could be right. But Howard was caught between two eras, relaxed and regimented. And Australia had Warne.

“My career is long over,” says Howard. “It finished with me out of form and mostly injured. It wasn’t one thing that ended my career, and I’m not coming up with excuses, but this is what happened to me. Due to my finger, I can’t even bowl legspin any more – I have to bowl offspin, but nothing can ever compare to being a legspinner. I’m younger than Hogg, McGain or MacGill and instead of preparing to play in my 100th Test and thinking about retirement, I am working in an office in Bendigo.”

Craig Howard went from a freakishly talented wrist-spinner to a boring club offie. Australian spin did much the same.

 

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the end of the end for Bryce McGain

Oh baby, when it’s over, it’s over. It’s been a hell of a ride.

Most people don’t go from an ordinary bank worker who plays a bit of cricket on the weekend in their 20s to playing for their country in 30s.

It doesn’t happen for many reasons, and at least one of those is that bank employees usually bowl off spin.

Bryce McGain bowled leg spin. I said that in the past tense on purpose.

And while most IT workers were busy hacking into ex girlfriends email accounts, Bryce was planning to play Test cricket.  Even if test cricket didn’t know or care who he was.

Then through his dogged denial, the most amazing spin bowling drought in Australian cricket, his will to succeed and the power of legspin, Bryce played for his country, and was crucified.

It was perhaps one of the greatest sacrifices of a human being that anyone will see.

Bryce’s flesh was hacked off with blunt objects piece by piece and thrown to the masses by brutal South Africans.

No player has ever come back from anything that harsh in their first test, and even though Bryce was a one man middle aged fairytale come true, not even he could recover from this slaughtering.

Yet, Bryce didn’t run off and cry.

He just kept going.

Age had always been against him, but the man could not step down, he could not fade away, and he would not retire with his one cap clenched firmly in his grasp.

After the ritual public embarrassment he had he could have been forgiven for taking the job as a caretaker of a factory in some shut down industrial estate and spending the rest of his days like a real life Wall-e.

Instead, Bryce stood tall, and came back for Victoria and continued to try to get back into the Australian team.

His whole career had been a series of fool’s errands, what was one more?

That said, this was the first time that he knew what everyone else had always thought, he wasn’t going to make it back.

It seemed like this was just to prove he was made of something.

That made the fact he tried one last time even braver than all those years of him trying to make it in obscurity.

At least before he had that small glimmer of hope that what he was doing might lead to playing for Australia, and that if it didn’t, few would know he failed.

This one was in vain and in public, with people sniggering and mentioning his figures as he continued to try hard with far less belief than he had before.

Yet, there he was, turning up for Victoria, trying hard, and doing everything he could to give himself the slightest chance.

If he was the middle age dream before, the man who made it because he wouldn’t give up, now he was the middle age reality, the man who kept doing what he did out of pride and because he probably didn’t know what else to do.

Now that decision has been made for him, Victoria’s decision to release him from contract is nothing like the brutal way South Africa ended his test career.  This was far more like a loving family member putting a pillow over Bryce’s mouth and waiting for him to stop wriggling.

Today Bryce McGain starts the rest of his life, it’s probably not going to be as cool as playing for his country, but he was the man who was never supposed to make it and did, so I wouldn’t put anything beyond him.

It’s been one hell of a story, Bryce. Well played and good luck.

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Nice Bryce takes 5 for Essex

I actually wrote this last night, which is tonight for me.  Or to be technical I wrote it after midnight, so earlier this morning.

I tell you that because the headline says that Bryce McGain took 5 wickets.

Now he may not have.

There is a chance, however slim, that Bryce, in his first game for Essex, did not take 5 wickets.

Life is unpredictable, years ago I kicked random cats, now i kick my own.

So while Bryce is probably going to take a five for in his first bowl ever in county cricket, he may not.

Regardless, I will back him to do this. Sure I didn’t see how he bowled in the match like Sarah did.

But I feel like Bryce and I have an unspoken, unnatural and unreal bond. He probably feels it too.

Bryce has overcome so much in his life, that all he needs is one wicket to complete a well earned (read exxpensive) 5 wicket haul, so he will do it.

Obviously there are some things beyond his control like a declaration, flash flood, or some nasty type digging up the pitch, but other than something like that, Bryce will prevail.

It won’t be a glorious five for.

They won’t talk about it for the ages.

Like most things for Bryce, he will work hard for it, it won’t be given to him, and it will take longer than most, but at 38, he will have his first five wicket haul in county cricket.

Or he won’t, and I’ll delete this post and you’ll never know about it.

Or I’ll leave it up, as a tribute to Bryce, the man who took 4 wickets in his first county match, but bloody well earned them.

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Little Nathan strikes again

“Oh, he is so cute and loveable; I just wanna take him home to my mum so we can double team him”.

I know that is what you think about little Nathan Hauritz.  But behind that puppy dog exterior is a cold-hearted assassin.  One who will kill anyone to get where he wants.  An aspirational career driven sociopath.

Not only has he led many a batsman to their untimely and embarrassing end, he is also taking out Australian spinners one at a time.

First was beautiful Beau Casson, who was too young to die, but Hauritz took him out during a shield game, but made it look like suicide.  He placed sweets down on a trail that led Beau got to the edge of a cliff and Nathan ran up behind him in a Mr Squiggle mask and said boo.

Then Bryce McGain was taken out when Hauritz bribed Kallis with 7 pigs he killed with his owns hands.  When that wasn’t enough Hauritz showed Kallis and Prince this website, but most importantly the parts about Prince, Kallis and Bryce, to prove that I don’t exist and Bryce writes this site.

And now, Jason Krejza is gone.

It was probably the most horrendous of all Nathan’s crimes, as he did it with help of a whole team of suicidal Pakistani batsmen, and the Tasmanian brain’s trust.

It was disgusting, and when Nathan was finished all that was left was a puddle of blood, excrement and organs, with a newspaper clipping that was mostly unreadable except for the number 12.

Sorry to burst your bubble, people, but little Nathan is an angel of death.

One by one he is taking these spinners out.  Right under our noses.  Yet no one is doing anything about it.

Someone must stop him, otherwise Steven Smith will take a bite of some weird tasting vegemite sandwiches any day now.

Buy the book, get a t-shirt, or donate to the whisky fund.

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Australia picks a legspinner

There is no surprise that on the day that my book comes out is the day Australia has picked a Victorian on debut and a leg spinner, even if he doesn’t play.

This is obviously Cricket Australia’s way of apologising for ripping off my idea.

It is not enough; I would have preferred Bryce McGain.

So am I happy with Andrew Hildtich plucking Smith from his inner bowels?

For

Australia has picked a leg spinner.

He can bat.

He is a wicket taker in limited overs cricket.

He is baby faced.

His name is easy to remember.

His recent form with the bat is pretty tasty.

He has real actual talent.

Moises Henriques will be mad.

Against

Hauritz’s average would laugh at his first class average.

Shane Warne said he should not be picked yet.

He is a batsman who bowls; best way to ruin him is to pick him as a bowler.

It is the Waca for fucks sake.

Jason Krejza invented a super duper mystery ball, and none of us get to see him bowl it live.

Last week he said he bowled bad because the ball was sticky.

He is from NSWales.

Now he has to meet Ricky Ponting.

Get my book, you know, if you want, no pressure.

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Australia gets doosra’d

Ed Cowan told twitter it came out of the footmarks and gave him wood.

Jimmy Maxwell said it hit a crack and was a work in progress.

Terry Jenner informed Australia it was chucking and against the law in his book.

And AGB questions if the selectors will pick someone who bowls it.

All of this because Australia’s off spinning back up, Jason Krezja, got one to go the other way.

About 12 people have seen this ball (it was during a shield game), but it has stirred up some emotion already.

Not be left behind, Nathan Hauritz has jumped on the doosra bandwagon, saying he has one, but he is afraid to use it. Strong words, Nathan.

Bryce McGain doesn’t have one, but he did take 7 wickets for 92 runs in his last first class game and I haven’t stopped smiling since.

Aaron O’Brien probably doesn’t have one, but no one knows who he is anyway.

Marcus North doesn’t care. He is a batsman.

This time last year I was writing about how you’d be better off trying to survive a zombie attack than trying to pick an aussie spinner.

Now there is little Nathan defying logic and common sense, Krezja has a mystery ball, McGain is fit, and O’Brien is taking wickets and making runs.

Four of the top ten wicket takers in first class cricket this year are spinners, last year at this stage there were none, and that doesn’t even count little Nathan, Cullen Bailey or Jon Holland.

Oh baby, Australia is spinning again, both ways.

Australia may not be the spinning wasteland it was, there are options, all rounders, wrist spinners, and now one of their spinners has dabbled in voodoo.

The selectors NSP are even going to use little Nathan at the gabbatoir, even if he doesn’t believe in his doosra yet.

It is like the Oval never happened.

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The Australian Squad for the Ashes in a parallel universe

The test squad for the Ashes seems pretty worked out, bar the two all rounders.

But what of the parallel universe, as they prepare for their series, we take a look through the wormhole at the make up of their team.

In that universe they pick squads on Tuesday. Obviously.

M North (captain) – Having cemented his captaincy after Shane Warne’s retirement he fires up the team with sensible slogans and common sense captaincy.

C White (vice captain) – When Cameron is not poisoning North’s meals he is the number 7 Australia has been waiting for since Ian Harvey retired, and his big turning leg breaks are unplayable.

S Katich – This stylish batsman doesn’t make many runs, but when he makes runs, the whole world sighs in orgasmic delight.

M Klinger – Struggling to perform as a Jew, Klinger has had the best run of his life since converting to Satanism.

B Hodge – Although suspected in the deaths of many of Australia’s best young batsmen, Hodge has never been charged, and his form is as good as ever. The selectors love his good nature ribbing.

D Hussey – Inspired by the tragic auto erotic asphyxiation of his brother, David becomes the worlds most dominant stroke maker.

M Cosgrove – Even though Cosgrove’s form is poor, he is selected for the tour on the basis that he gets his weight back up to over 120kgs. Coach Darren Lehmann remains confident he can gain the weight and form.

D Christian – Australia decide to follow the South African example and set a quota of one Aboriginal player in every test. After poor results bringing Jason Gillespie and Ryan Campbell out of retirement, they settle for Dan Christian, and find that he is shit hot.

L Carseldine – Is now technically steel than flesh, but the ICC is slow to move on banning bionic cricketers, and Lee’s metal torso body and titanium legs will be allowed in the ashes.

C Hartley – Is the best keeper in the world, averages 12 with the bat, but everyone knows you take the best keeper regardless of batting quality.

S Tait – Australia finally get the best out of Shaun Tait by employing Rodney Hogg as his full time carer. The two fall in love and get married in the lunacy room.

B McGain – Was humiliated by losing his test spot in South Africa after missing the flight over, but is fired up to star in his first test against England.

M Inness – Even though he had retired, experts realise that Matthew’s first class average was 2fucken5 and pick him for the tour.

D Pattinson – The man the Ashes hopes rely on. His 26 wickets against South Africa in only 3 tests was just about perfect fast bowling.

D Marsh – Some would say that Dan is an odd choice, especially since he is retired, but Chief Selector Rod Marsh said “we needed a hard bastard to toughen these fuckers up”.  Is picked to be the back up keeper/spinner/batsman.

They should do well against Rob Key’s England.

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Cricket With Balls’ Own Holly Colvin wins the world cup, others do things as well

You might be thinking, oh poor Jrod, look what happened to Bryce.

He must be crying into his full english breakfast.

Not so, while bryce has had a weekend worse than the time my foreskin got caught in a zipper, Cricket With Balls’ Own Holly Colvin hit the winning runs in the world cup.

Ying, Yang, and all that stupid shit.

I didn’t pick Holly thinking she would save me from McGain Pain, but she has.

She single-handedly won the world cup for England.

She bowled the most overs in the tournament.

Took 9 wickets at 18.

Had an economy rate of 2.65.

And then hit the winning runs.

But that is all bullshit, what she did was bring presence.

Presence doesn’t transcend into stats.

It is intangible, like turgid yogalates.

But she was the banker for the English team, they knew she wasn’t going to go for many, they knew other teams would have to go around her, like Daniel Vettori, only in a good team.

So while the pain of bryce’s mind fuck performance is there, Holly has evened my emotions out.

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