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Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes

SOS the Fat One

Australia's selectors call on a burger-loving, card-playing 40-year-old

Alan Tyers

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Doug Bollinger leaps for joy after bowling Andrew Strauss, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 2nd day, December 4, 2010
Doug Bollinger attempts a complicated entrechat hoping for a call-up from the Royal School of Ballet © Getty Images
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Andrew Hilditch, gibbering and shaking nervously, called the meeting to order.

"Fellow selectors," he said. "We have some decisions to make."

"Too right," said Jamie Cox. "I'll get the raffle tickets. Boony, can you drag that big barrel over here and we'll stick them in."

"Right you are mate," said David Boon. "I'll just finish drinking it first."

A few seconds later, the firkin was dry. Cox finished writing names of possible bowling candidates on the ripped-up pages of Mitchell Johnson's autobiography Lion Of The Left (published by Tattoo Press, Aus$19.99 or £138.54).

"Look, how about this bloke as a third seamer?" suggested Hilditch. He passed a CV over to Boon. Boon read it:

"Pete Blimey. He's 23, he's from Woolongobba Gorge, he's a plumber by trade but he gets it down there at a decent clip for his pub side and he's free for the rest of the month."

"Sounds like a live one," said Hilditch. "Stick his name in the barrel, Boony."

"Aw, no, hang on," said Boon. "He's a left-armer."

"No good," said Hilditch. "Can't have him showing young Mitchell Johnson up."

"Here's one," said Jamie Cox. "Young, slow left-armer, doesn't give it much of a rip, hasn't taken too many wickets, but looks a good competitor."

"What's the availability like?

"Yeah, pretty good," said Cox. "School holidays coming up, but we'd probably need to get the parents along to chaperone."

"Young Daisy Smith, eh?" said Hilditch, glancing at the résumé. "Looks like she could be a big personality in the dressing room. Incredible mental toughness for a nine year old girl. Maybe it'll rub off on some of the current rabble."

"Aw, no," said Cox. "She goes to ballet lessons on a Saturday morning. No good."

"Look, what if we sent Dougie Bollinger to the ballet classes in her place and she comes and bowls at the WACA?" suggested Boon.

"Alright," said Hilditch. "Probably worth a shot. Now, how about this guy?"

Cox read out the CV: "Fat bloke, 40s, enjoys McDonald's chicken burgers, playing cards, watching TV."

Hilditch picked up the phone.

"Shane? Alright mate? You busy? Good. Now, we were just wondering…"

RSS FeedWG Grace Ate My Pedalo, a Victorian cricket annual by Alan Tyers and illustrated by Beach can be ordered here and here. All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

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Comments: 12 
Posted by KalanaSam on (December 9, 2010, 15:41 GMT)

How about giving a non-australian an aussie passport & bringing him to play the matches!!.. for eg: Murali :D give him an aussie passort & get him into your squad..He would surely love to play in an ashes series... :D :D

Posted by   on (December 8, 2010, 13:44 GMT)

Its funny though its realistic that Australia badly misses Warnie, McGrath and their star opener Mathew Hayden. If these three are recalled today then it would make a lot of difference in the Ashes. I agree to what is said, "Warne is still better than spinners playing across the world."

Posted by   on (December 7, 2010, 7:10 GMT)

West Indies and Australian fall from grace should alert the Indians to keep substitutes for Sachin, VVS and Dravid ready. When these guys leave India would face the same fate as the Aussies.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2010, 3:47 GMT)

this is a real tough time for aus, i think ponting so called great, should do something special to rescue his team . Its easy to make big scores when you have a great team n no pressure. Real great is one who wins a match when u r playing in a poor team n against strong oppositions. If ponting wins a match in subcontinent n gets a man of series award there then we can think that he is a match winner.

Posted by aa61761 on (December 7, 2010, 1:23 GMT)

Bring back D.K. Lillee, it will help fast bowling and team sprit.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2010, 21:07 GMT)

Hello Australia, who ever thought you would now fall into the same trap as the Windies. Your once in a lifetime greats have all left the scene at around the same time & their successors are not that good. Give Shane a call, he can't do any worse than the 1 for 158 which you current spinner produced over the weekend.lol!

Posted by   on (December 6, 2010, 19:18 GMT)

was this supposed to be funny ?? maybe a laughter track would help.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2010, 17:27 GMT)

"Shane.." So he is a regular at MCD.. that's MCD not MCG.. lolz

Posted by green_jelly on (December 6, 2010, 15:37 GMT)

A rare miss... waiting for the next one.

Posted by MAD-1 on (December 6, 2010, 10:53 GMT)

Might not be such a bad idea. somehow I have a feeling that this retired burger eating, card playing sms trigger happy bloke is STILL the best spinner in Australia and can still probably bowl the odd test line-up out on his own. either way certainly a better option than Doherty.

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan Tyers Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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