Another post from the Omitted. A new omitted as well, I am building an army of omitted volunteers now.
For the last couple of summers, the only thing I have enjoyed more than Mango Weis Bars in the bath has been been hurling abuse at Shane Watson and wishing every move he made resulted in another broken toe nail that would rule him out of the next series. Not because I knew he couldn’t play – I have always been a huge fan of his batting – but there has been so much to dislike the way he carries himself that overshadows all of his (then) underperforming skills. And then he found himself in South Africa and Abu Dhabi and my abuse turned into applause.
I needed a new target. I did not have to look very far. I have disliked Cameron White for years. The fact his name rhymed with Shitey reminded me there is in fact a (cricket) God. I am not alone it is fair to be said.
Hatred is too harsh a word. I hate warm beer, I don’t hate Cameron White. I just thoroughly disliked him. Part jealousy of the ride the has been given, part arrogant demeanour he gives off – I have yet to see him come in for a beer after a game, he never uses anyone’s name when saying hello, I even played in a game when he captained the great Shane Warne and set his fields for him. Warney responded by ensuring that the ball went everywhere the fielders weren’t just to prove a point.
In the same game I looked up at the scoreboard when he came out to bat and his List A average was 16. How could this bloke be captaining the strongest domestic team averaging 16, pulling facial expressions of a retarded Labrador and bowling more slop than is thrown onto plates of homeless shelters around the country. He could catch, and is the still best slipper in the country. But how does this push you through the national selection set up? Was he giving hand trolleys to Big Merv?
He was the laughing stock of the professional cricketing circuit in Australia. He would bully them in the winter at Taunton to prop up his floundering first class average that in itself was propped up by batting behind Hodge and Hussey on the slow wickets of the MCG.
There was the Indian Test tour debacle that had people closing one eye to avoid seeing such a demeaning act of the sacred baggy green and one open to not miss a second of laughter. Even Sachin felt sorry for him. This however proved to be a turning point – it was as though he too realised he could not bowl and to comfort himself he decided to become the most kick arse one day batsman in the world.
It is fair to say I am now a convert. His hundred at the ‘Gabba was as good as I have ever witnessed. Not just the stroke play, but how he timed his run, the eased of how he dealt with pressure. It was nothing short of world class. I still secretly harbour desires to kick him hard in the shins, twice, but in his form, he would probably wind up and slog sweep me over mid wicket for six.