February 16, 2010

Australian cricket

Bill Lawry, this is your real life

Brydon Coverdale

© Getty Images

Anyone who heard Bill Lawry’s acceptance speech after being inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame on Monday night could have been forgiven for thinking they were listening to a parody by the Twelfth Man. Lawry brought the house down at the Allan Border Medal ceremony with a speech that could easily have come from the Bill Lawry, This is Your Life album.

On that classic expletive-filled recording, Lawry’s fictionalised wife can’t make it to his big night because it clashes with an important bowls tournament. And as it turns out, it wasn’t that far from the mark, as the real-life Lawry explained that his wife Joy hadn’t joined him for his Hall of Fame honour.

“She’s not here tonight because she’s got no time for the Australian Cricket Board because they treated us like second-rate citizens back then, the wives in particular,” Lawry said. “She’s stood firm for 50 years and she’s not going to budge and good luck to her.”

He also made mention of his fellow Hall of Fame inductee Graham McKenzie, who as a 19-year-old set out for his first Ashes tour in 1961 with his mother asking Richie Benaud to keep an eye on him. Benaud reportedly saw the bevy of young beauties surrounding McKenzie before they set sail and replied that he looked quite capable of looking after himself.

Lawry shared a cabin with McKenzie on the ship and confirmed Benaud’s assessment of their new team-mate. “We were at sea for 21 days and I spent 14 nights sleeping in the bloody life-raft. McKenzie was just absolutely magnificent!”

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Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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