Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Tag: Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke : Three Moments

Michael Clarke is about to play his last cricket Test. Sadly, he will leave the game as an Ashes losing Test captain regardless of the result.

For many people that will be his legacy. For some, this is the time to criticise and to bring up the past.  But not for me.

Here are the three moments of Michael Clarke that I will treasure in ascending order.

First was that magnificent innings of 329. Apart from the score, he never looked like getting out.  But there was more. He never looked like he would stop batting.

Second was his beautiful and sad eulogy to his little brother Phillip Hughes. There was in that moment, a man who had lost but showed also how much he gave.

Third and most treasured was the first time I ever saw Clarke captain a side.  It was at Perth and he was suddenly placed in charge of the Australia T20 side. I had the sound turned off (it’s the best way to watch cricket). I have no idea what he said to his players so I relied on the body language. But everyone he spoke to stood a little taller and played a little better.

And that’s what cricket and leadership is all about.

Michael Clarke : Three Moments

Michael Clarke is about to play his last cricket Test. Sadly, he will leave the game as an Ashes losing Test captain regardless of the result.

For many people that will be his legacy. For some, this is the time to criticise and to bring up the past.  But not for me.

Here are the three moments of Michael Clarke that I will treasure in ascending order.

First was that magnificent innings of 329. Apart from the score, he never looked like getting out.  But there was more. He never looked like he would stop batting.

Second was his beautiful and sad eulogy to his little brother Phillip Hughes. There was in that moment, a man who had lost but showed also how much he gave.

Third and most treasured was the first time I ever saw Clarke captain a side.  It was at Perth and he was suddenly placed in charge of the Australia T20 side. I had the sound turned off (it’s the best way to watch cricket). I have no idea what he said to his players so I relied on the body language. But everyone he spoke to stood a little taller and played a little better.

And that’s what cricket and leadership is all about.

Go for the Zac : Goodbye Phillip Hughes

Cricket is at times a lonely and solitary game. At least I thought so.

You bat by yourself.  You bowl by yourself. You stand in the field waiting for a catch, then run after the ball and throw it back. By yourself.

Waiting for a catch or the chance to run after the ball can seem like an eternity meaning fielding is the longest waiting game. As a parent said to me during an under 16s game, “Cricket is a team game played by individuals”. True but there’s more to it than that.

And certainly with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes (who remains 63 not out forever), I felt that cricket is a lonely and solitary game.

I didn’t want to pick up a bat or bowl or field anymore. I didn’t want to watch or listen to the latest T20 or one day or test match. I didn’t even want to put my bat out. But I did. FullSizeRender (1)

I felt I had lost another who knew the storms and sunshine that is cricket.

Then I listened to Michael Clarke’s eulogy at Phillip Hughes’ funeral. It opened my eyes and my heart and my memory.

Cricket isn’t a lonely and solitary game at all. I remembered that for too short a season, with a mate, I coached an under 14s boys side.

Some were exuberant, some were talented, some were sorely disappointed and then rewarded. I went through it all with them. I knew what it was like. I had experienced the same myself. In that season, I realized that that cricket wasn’t a game of physical ability or talent but a game of heart and mind.

And extraordinary fun. I can remember being on the sideline as the fast bowler from Croatia encouraged the batsman from Vietnam to “Go for the zac.” (Hit six runs).  Which he did! And I laughed and laughed.

What I had forgotten and what Phillip Hughes and Michael Clarke together reminded me was this.

Everyone who picks up a bat or bowls a ball or fields or ‘keeps are part of  a band of brothers and sisters. We’ve all been through the same storms and sunshine and we all know what it’s like for anyone else who plays.

We all know what its like to go for the zac and succeed or fail.

That is Phillip Hughes’ legacy. Thank you for rekindling my love of cricket. Rest in Peace but go for the zac!

Australian Institute of Sledging?

As a cricket lover I’m following the current Test series.

Cricket picture

Cricket picture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My hope is that one more Aussie win will return the Ashes to us.
Yet cricket is not a predictable game. And it can be overshadowed by outside issues. Such as sledging.
Sledging is sustained verbal banter (truthfully outright verbal abuse) designed to unsettle an opponent.
All players have encountered it. It is more pervasive than admitted. I rarely indulged in it. In all honesty I saw sledging as a waste of time.
Sledging is verbal abuse in cricket

Sledging is verbal abuse in cricket (Photo credit: absentbabinski)

Cricket is both physically and mentally adversarial. It was a complete surprise to hear opponents calling your names and saying they wanted you out. That’s why they did more than turn up for practice!
And most of the insults (sorry misdirected advice) were of a very poor standard indeed. Usually just silly sexist names and insults. Most (nearly all) weren’t funny.
So I rarely replied and only then to give coaching advice! “I’m just trying to keep him interested (after playing and missing at a wide ball)”. Apart from that I never really repeated much of what was said to me.
And I had an expectation that first grade, first class and international cricket would have a higher standard of verbal banter (sorry sledging). So with an hour to spare I quickly thumbed through Crickets Greatest Sledges. And finished it in 10 minutes.
Nope most of them I had heard before in under 16s and third and fourth grade. The best was a batsman telling a bowler to go fetch the ball after it was hit. I was told that at practice all the time !!
How disappointing !
And this highlights the problem with sledging. The standard just isn’t good enough. And it needs to be improved. In fact, Australia should aspire to be a world class country of sporting sledgers.
And starting with cricket, there should be more emphasis on improving this skill from junior cricket through first grade and into international cricket. A sporting program should be put together to train and educate cricketers to sledge better. An improvement in these skills would improve it as a spectacle.
But in my humble opinion, the best way to improve sledging is not for it to rely upon insults. There are only a limited number of insults (see above!).
The best way to improve sledging is to educate and train our sports people in the fine art of humourous verbal banter.
Why?
It’s obvious!
  1. Firstly, sportsmen and women will enjoy the game more and deal better with the games ups and downs!
  2. Secondly, their opponents will have to deal with the off putting effects of on field humour.
  3. Thirdly, all sportsmen and women will have a clear post game career path post sport as after dinner speakers, stand up comedians and authors.
  4. Fourthly and most importantly, the stump microphones can be left on ALL the time!

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