Show some respect: an open letter to the Cricket Press

Michael Clarke ponders his retirement decision on final day of the 4th Ashes Test (photo via ESPN Cricinfo)

Michael Clarke ponders his retirement decision on final day of the 4th Ashes Test (photo via ESPN Cricinfo)

Michael Clarke announced his resignation as captain of the Australian cricket team and his retirement from all forms of cricket only 3 days ago.  I confess that I have not been a massive fan of Michael Clarke over the years however I felt a significant sense of loss at the confirmation of the end his, frankly, magnificent career.

Regardless of my negative feelings as a fan of the game, towards Michael Clarke, I have been, frankly, appalled at his treatment by the press, in both Australia and England, in the aftermath of his retirement.  Stories containing allegations ranging from a schism with other players through to an alleged offer to return his baggy green cap have been splashed across our broadsheets.

I just don’t understand why these stories are especially relevant now? Yes we all want to know the circumstances that surround such a poor performance by the Australian team in this Ashes series BUT to do so in the immediate aftermath of Clarke’s retirement is not only unseemly but it is massively disrespectful of a man who:

  • Has held the highest office in the land (including the Prime Ministerial office) for a not insignificant period of time.
  • Has played 114 test matches for his country and has, until the last 12 months, performed consistently at the highest of levels to average over 50 runs per innings.
  • Showed his measure as not only a leader but as a man, leading a whole sport, let alone his country, in grief after the passing of Phil Hughes.

This attack on not only Clarke’s career but his character almost has a pre-planned feel to it.  Whether you liked him or loathed him he did not deserve this in what ought to have been a period in which his career should be being lauded.

I have to say I am especially appalled by the revelations that have come from Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds this week.  Again I ask: why now? And again this attack from these former players appears to have been both pre-planned and based on a personal dislike for Clarke.  To attack a former player in such an open and unseemly manner immediately after his retirement is nothing short of petty.  To say I have lost a lot of respect for both Hayden and Symonds this week would be an understatement.

The Cricket Press have much to answer for and I can only implore them now to call off the metaphorical attack dogs and show Michael Clarke some respect which he has certainly earned.

Dear David: An open letter to David Warner

Dear David,

I am sorry to see that you have again been involved in an on field fracas that has led to you being fined.  This year we have seen you involved in these things in a number of fixtures, continuing a form line of conduct that has been a constant during your career.

I confess to you David that I am not a fan of yours.  I concede openly that you are one of the most devastating stroke players in the game and that you are fast become one of the icons of the game in this country.  Channel 9 has anointed you as one of the faces of the game and not a day goes by during the season where you are not in the press in some way.

I do not write to you to express my own thoughts about your sledging and aggressive conduct.  I have written before that I have become less engaged with the game (that I have loved for over 30 years) in part because of the way Australia plays the game and your conduct is no small part of that. Rehashing that is not my purpose.

I write to you simply to ask you to stop! Please stop! I hear all the time that there are thousands upon thousands of young cricketers who just want to be like you.  They want to bat like you.  They want to field like you. They follow your every move.  When they see you on the TV they absorb everything you do, both the good and the bad.  That means they are absorbing both the slashing cover drive that bounces off the pickets and you standing face to face in the middle of the pitch yelling at an opponent.

Kids are great mimics: I can remember trying to replicate the actions of bowlers that I enjoyed watching.  I am sure that there are young batters trying to blast a ball through backward point just like you do.  I am scared that there are young players who think it is OK to stand toe to toe with an opponent in the middle of the pitch.

My nephew is just starting to get into cricket and went to his first game a couple of weekends ago.  He still thinks that his uncle, who bowled slow medium outswingers that did not swing and whose only shot was a cover drive, is his favourite cricketer.  That will not last long: soon I fear that you will be his favourite cricketer and he will start to mimic you, both the good and the bad.

So again: I ask you to stop! Not for lifelong fans like me but for the next generations of young fans who don’t know or don’t understand that what you are doing is not the way the game of cricket should be played.

Thank you.

Best regards,

A concerned uncle and cricket fan

Cricket: Australian Short Form Squad named for post Ashes series

National Selection Panel Chairman of Selectors, John Inverarity, has announced the following squad to play England in a series of T20 and ODI fixtures against England after the end of the Ashes series:

Michael Clarke (c), George Bailey (vc), Fawad Ahmed, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazelwood, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Shane Watson

One assumes that Watson will be released from the squad if the injury he sustained in the 4th Test at Chester-le-Street leads him to having to withdraw from the 5th test at the Oval in a week’s time. Xavier Doherty has been left out in favor of Fawad Ahmed which, if nothing else, vindicates the Australian government decision to fast track his citizenship. According the Chairman, Doherty might be in the frame to play in the seven match ODI series in India which follows this series. Given that Doherty has done nothing wrong, in my opinion, in ODI fixtures or T20 fixtures for that matter it is a strange decision.

From the current squad in the UK, Clarke, Faulkner, Hughes, Smith, Wade and Warner will remain to play in this series.