Trevor Chappell

Cheer up, mate

An Englishman becomes part of the Aussie entourage... with a little encouragement

Nagraj Gollapudi

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Rod Marsh illustration
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Players/Officials: Rod Marsh | Trevor Chappell
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of England
Teams: Australia

The 1981 Ashes tour was one that had lots of interruptions on account of bad weather. We had started the series quite well by winning the one-day series, and were confident going into the first Test, at Trent Bridge. But the Nottingham wicket was seaming and it was a low-scoring game - there were only two scores of over 50, one from each side.

Scoring runs was a real struggle. It was overcast right through - very much a bowler's wicket. We needed 131 for victory in the last innings. The dressing room was a tense place. Everyone in there had to support the team's cause - even our team's coach driver, an Englishman who we called Geezer because of his Cockney accent.

As our second innings was about to begin, Rod Marsh instructed Geezer to get a pen and piece of paper, write down numbers on the paper - from 132 to 0 - and cross each run off that was scored in the middle. Geezer thought that Rod was joking and wasn't having any of it. But Rod was very serious and insisted. So Geezer sat there and crossed each number off as the runs were scored. And that was how Geezer became part of the Australian touring squad even though he was English.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi
This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

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