Selection December 14, 2010

Beer and the Wizard of Oz

Kimber justifies Michael Beer's selection and Tyers gets nostalgic about England's desperado days

Jarrod has called correctly and will argue first; on the subject of Michael Beer

Jarrod Kimber writes

Michael Beer’s selection is pure genius. I am in awe of the selectoral brilliance involved in such a decision. There seems to be a fair bit of negative chatter about how Australian selectors have lost the plot and just picked some random guy to play as the spinner. Nonsense. Cricket selection is not about numbers and form; it’s about gut feel and crazy hunches. And there is no one who has a smarter gut or crazier hunches than Greg Chappell.

I understand why the English wouldn’t get this, it isn’t the safe option. Beer hasn’t been a regular first class performer, so it seems like a weird decision to them. Statistically, he shouldn’t be picked; emotionally it is the right and only thing to do. Australians understand that sometimes seeing someone just once out the corner of your eye while you are looking at someone else and writing off Nathan Hauritz is enough to know that a player is the one. After ten mistakes you’re that much closer to a success.

Alan Tyers writes I am sorry to say that we English “get” the selection of Michael Beer all too well. It’s exactly the sort of Hail Mary play that we made our own during The Dark Days Of The 1990s. Hours of my teens and young adulthood were spent staring in disbelief at Ceefax, as the name of the latest lucky unknown to win a day out as England’s second-change bowler flashed up. Now it’s Australia doing the random name-picking, and we have the internets not Ceefax, but the principle remains the same: crazed desperation.

The only gut feeling that the Aussies should be getting on seeing the name of this nobody is nausea. When the chairman of selectors is touting a guy “because it’s his home ground” – and he’s only played on it three times, you know that things are getting pretty desperado. They might as well have got Richard Dawson in as an asylum seeker, bunged him a passport and a baggy green and told him to get on with it. “Not a safe option”? It’s borderline psychotic. Andrew Hilditch is a danger to himself and others.

Jarrod replies Three times? This is the sort of uneducated nonsense that makes me sick. Beer has played four times at the WACA. The fourth time may not seem all that important, but in the fourth innings when he is spinning a web of mystery, deceit and general awesomeness, it will become apparent how important that fourth game is. I don’t know why Hilditch is getting blamed for this, I doubt he was even involved, he probably didn’t even know who Beer is. Greg Chappell is the Wizard of Oz, Professor Marvel, the Wicked Witch of the West, a flying monkey, Dorothy and the Scarecrow.

Alan replies I can see poor Michael now, clicking his heels three times and squealing, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” as England’s batsmen belt his occasional tweakers all over Western Australia,. Hilditch: “You ARE home, mate. You belong here.” I’m afraid that he very much does not. I wonder who Australia’s 11th post-Warne spinner will be?

Ashes, 1896 style, in Alan’s W.G. Grace Ate My Pedalo

Ashes, 2009 style, in Jarrod’s When Freddie Became Jesus

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