Australian domestic season preview October 6, 2008

Top picks and dummy spits

Ben Hilfenhaus: "Good for a dummy spit or a thrown club" on the golf course © Getty Images

Michael Dighton might never play for Australia but according to one of his team-mates he's got a skill that makes him extra special regardless. When the Tasmania fast bowler Chris Duval was asked what talent he wished he had, his response was: "I wish I could put my whole finger up my nose like Michael Dighton". It's amazing what can be learnt from the player profiles on the state teams' websites.

Dighton himself provides an insight into what one might see at a Tasmania celebration. What makes him laugh the most? "Dan Marsh on the dancefloor". But Michael, since when has making fun of your captain been a good career move?

For another Tiger, Brendan Drew, the funniest thing is Ben Hilfenhaus on a golf course. Apparently "he is good for a dummy spit or a thrown club with a little winding up". So, what talent does Hilfenhaus wish he had? "Golf short game". Spot on, Brendan.

Hilfenhaus probably has more hope of developing his desired skill than his slightly pale colleague Dane Anderson. He craves the ability to tan and his favourite place is in the shade. Another good spot to be might be well away from his team-mate Alex Doolan, who was asked what songs he sings in the shower. His response: "Don't sing or shower".

Nor apparently does Ed Cowan, the New South Wales opener. At least he clarified things: "I only bathe". Cowan is one of the few Blues who didn't nominate Doug Bollinger as the biggest source of laughs. But are they chuckling with Dougie or at him?

Grant Lambert said the funniest person was "Doug Bollinger, but only when he is not trying to be funny". Dominic Thornely, the stand-in captain, nominated "Doug Bollinger in all forms of life". The Test squad must be rolling in the dressing-rooms having Bollinger in the group in India for a month.

The New South Wales medical staff might need to chat to their ex-Victorian import Peter Nevill about the healthy food pyramid. When asked what he most likes on a sandwich, he answered "salt". Only marginally more acceptable was the nominated sandwich filling of Western Australia's Josh Mangan, who crams his bread full of hundreds and thousands.

Another Warrior, Liam Davis, won points with Cricket Australia for giving one of their sponsors a free plug. He likes "a piece of the colonel's chicken, mayo and lettuce on a sesame seed bun". On a related topic, there is a gap in the profile of the New South Wales fast bowler Aaron Bird. According to the Blues' website, he doesn't have a Twenty20 nickname. At least, not since the preferred choice of Bird - "Flu" - was deemed inappropriate for the KFC Twenty20 a couple of years ago.

Those New South Wales boys have always had a knack for mastering the original Twenty20 nickname. One of the best is Greg "Junk" Mail, although as one of the competition's most dour batsman he rarely gets to use it. But the most inventive new entry for 2008-09 has to be Ben "Southerner" Rohrer.

Rohrer nominated Steve Waugh and Brian Lara as the posters he had in his room as a child and, naturally, most of the answers to this question revolved strongly around cricket. But perhaps the most intriguing response came from Western Australia's Theo Doropoulos, who during his formative years gazed up at "Thomas the Tank Engine before moving on to Pamela Anderson". Let's hope there were quite a few years in between.

"Posters of bands and cars - real bogan stuff!" was the admission of Mitchell Johnson, who has now moved to Western Australia in line with the state's confusing-name-based recruitment policy. They already have a Michael Johnson and a Matt Johnston. If only they can lure the other Michael Johnson, a Queensland rookie, they will have the complete set.

The Warriors have also picked up a fast bowler who is bound to put the frighteners into opposition batsmen. His name is Death. Nicholas Death. Pleasingly, his profile suggests he is a fun-loving, golf-playing, Family Guy-watching 20-year-old. And Death likes to sing Build Me Up Buttercup. Isn't that a more agreeable image than fingers up Tasmanian noses?

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo