No. 8

Hookes hits out

With five resounding strokes in the Centenary Test, a new poster boy for Australian cricket is born

Christian Ryan

February 8, 2009

Text size: A | A

© Getty Images

Melbourne, 14 March 1977

A lofted off-drive, a hoick round the corner, a cover-drive, a whip off the pads, and a flick through the covers - off a looping straight-break, a half-tracker, a half-volley, a shortish one, and another over-pitched straight one; of such commonsense strokeplay is legend born. And what of the fact that Adam Gilchrist's five fours off one Mushtaq Ahmed over, also on debut, remain virtually unremembered? Well, that's cricket. Or, more particularly, that's showbiz.

For if not for those five gun-barrel blows off Tony Greig's five speculative offbreaks, David Hookes might never have become World Series Cricket's mop-haired centrefold. He might not have been dead-ended by a Kerry Packer lawsuit ("David will spend the rest of his life paying me back what I sue him for") when he considered bailing out. He might not have had his jaw realigned by an Andy Roberts bouncer.

Instead, he might have gone to finishing school against Bishan Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna, Dilip Doshi, and company in 1977-78 and 1979. He might have discovered his dancing shoes. He might have beaten Kim Hughes to the Australian captaincy. He might have played more than 23 Tests.

To perform one of Australian cricket's seven or so wonders at the age of 21, in a packed MCG, in your lucky Adidas squash shoes, on the game's 100th anniversary, with 218 of your Test predecessors looking on, is hardly cause for regret. And yet… expectations had been raised, perilously so. "I suspect history will judge me harshly," Hookes confided to his friend Alan Shiell in 1993. "But I tried to be aggressive and entertaining, and succeeded occasionally."

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

RSS Feeds: Christian Ryan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Email Feedback Print
Christian RyanClose
Christian Ryan Christian Ryan lives in Melbourne, writes and edits, was once the editor of The Monthly magazine and Wisden Australia, and now bowls low-grade, high-bouncing legbreaks with renewed zeal in recognition of Stuart MacGill's retirement and the selection opportunities this presents. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and Australia: Story of a Cricket Country
Related Links
Players/Officials: David Hookes

    Test cricket's young Fab Four

Martin Crowe: Kohli, Root, Smith and Williamson will take turns as the No. 1 Test batsman. So far each has shown only one technical weakness

    Can keep, can bat

Numbers Game: The modern wicketkeeper needs to be more than capable with the bat, and West Indies and Pakistan have had some success with them recently

    'Which current England Test star made a duck on first-class debut?'

Cricket Brain: Ian Bell takes the challenge. How well does he know his own team-mates?

'Pietersen has won Tests on his own in India, Sri Lanka'

Modern Masters: Dravid and Manjrekar on KP's ability to change the course of a game in two or three hours

Why wasn't England v India a multi-format points series?

Raf Nicholson: The future of the women's game is tied in to whether all boards agree to adopt this system

News | Features Last 7 days

India disgraced themselves by not competing

MS Dhoni and the BCCI are to blame for a touring party that became too comfortable and compliant

'I couldn't bring myself to set a batsman up by giving him runs'

Glenn McGrath talks about the method behind his metronomic consistency, visualisation, and why aggression isn't about sledging

Dhoni doesn't heed his own warning

Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff

Errant elbows, and Priyanjan's shuffle

Plays of the day from the first ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan

Don't lap sweep when Sangakkara keeps

Plays of the day from the second ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in Hambantota

News | Features Last 7 days