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Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes

Australia unveil new leader

He'll bring fresh ideas, a change of direction - and tattoos, lots of tattoos

Alan Tyers

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Mitchell Johnson began his second-innings work by removing Andrew Strauss, Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 3rd day, December 18, 2010
Johnson's first decision as captain was to pass an edict that all members of the team needed to have one foot off the ground at all times © Getty Images
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Hobbling around the dressing room mournfully, Simon Katich sang the traditional Baggy Green team defeat song ("Two Little Boys") in an unsettling falsetto. Tinnies were consumed as if on autopilot. Even a game of "Pin The Rug On The Bollinger", normally a surefire morale raiser, had been abandoned before it got going.

Phil Hughes was the first to speak.

"Aw, look--" he began.

Simultaneously, Shane Watson piped up. "Aw, right--"

Both stopped, uncomfortable and embarrassed.

"Sorry, mate," said Watto. "You go on."

Hughes searched in vain for something to say.

"I've forgotten what I was going to speak about," he said, his voice trembling. "I can't even remember a positive-thinking acronym like Mr Alfie taught us. I've failed. I don't belong here. I'd better just go."

Heartbroken, he trudged out of the room. Watson watched him go.

"Don't let the door hit you on the way out, mate," he cried cheerfully. "There's only room for one aggressive but unconventional opener in this team."

Michael Hussey coughed pointedly.

"I mean, I am devastated about the run-out mix-up," said Watson. "I just wish it was me that got out."

Mr Cricket peered at him uncomprehendingly, like a man who invited Steve Waugh round for a couple of tinnies and a watch of his favourite DVD Bloody Great Australian Heroes from Simpson And His Donkey to Toadfish off of Neighbours only to find Steve Smith standing on his doorstep with an Xbox360 and a six-pack of Nesquik.

Mr Cricket sighed and got to his feet.

"You blokes," he said. "As the senior-most awesomely competitive member of the leadership unit, I have been asked by our beloved leader, Ricky, to pass on a message. A decision has been made, and we are to have a new captain."

Watson got to his feet and raised a hand in munificent acceptance.

"Mates, can I just say--" he began.

"Not you mate," said Hussey. "Sorry. It was felt that a radical change of direction was needed in the team. Someone with fresh ideas, someone who can think outside the box, produce something a bit special."

Watson slumped in disbelief.

"Katto, if you please?" said Hussey.

Katich hobbled to the stereo and inserted a CD. The Lion King theme, "The Circle Of Life", boomed out.

"The captain is gone. Long live the captain," shouted Hussey. "Mates, I give you… Mitchell Johnson."

Mitch sat quietly in the corner, playing with an interesting piece of string he had found on the floor.

"Skip," said Hussey. "Skip, say something. You're our new leader."

"Huh?" said Mitch. "Me?"

Hussey nodded. Mitch looked suspicious.

"Do I have to get a different haircut?" he asked. "I like the haircut I've got at the moment."

"No mate, skip, you can keep your haircut."

"Have you checked with my mum?" asked Mitch.

Hussey nodded.

"In that case," said Mitchell. "I am delighted to accept the role of captain of Australia. I look forward to a period of haircut stability, and unrivalled success, as long as we only have to play at Perth. Aussie, Aussie… erm… Aussie?"

RSS FeedAshes 1896 style, in WG Grace Ate My Pedalo, a Victorian cricket annual by Alan Tyers and illustrated by Beach. Order 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: 15 
Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 9:02 GMT)

where are my worthwhile comments on Ponting - a man who carried his heart on his sleeve - put to the sword by the Chappell brothers - the oldies like me who once can say they knew the game - as I said yesterday the word balls cuts two ways.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 7:43 GMT)

great work Alan... I was following ur over by over comentary on the telegraph and it was hilarious...u r one of the few whose writings I desperately wait for every week...also ur article "what ponting said to aleem dar" on the telegraph was hilarious...keep up the good stuff

and @astopal: sa should have won if the udrs was in place and secondly England are ranked third rather than mid table and will soon overtake India and sa as the deserved no1 in icc test ranking

Posted by   on (December 30, 2010, 6:10 GMT)

@boundsy0868...this Aussie supporter found the article very funny.

Posted by Haneefmohammed on (December 30, 2010, 6:09 GMT)

Please bring back Shane Warne and give him captaincy....there is no other option at the moment..

Posted by CouchCommo93 on (December 30, 2010, 4:12 GMT)

hahaha that's a good one... love Watto's preemptive acceptance. nice one Mr Tyler, keep 'em comin.

Posted by cabinet96 on (December 30, 2010, 0:14 GMT)

"Have you checked with my mum" HA Ha great one.

Posted by MrPud on (December 30, 2010, 0:07 GMT)

Even Aussies find this funny. Hopefully with the series lost some fresh blood will be injected into the team.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2010, 19:03 GMT)

Ha ha :) So mitch's really happy wit his hair cut??? If I were him I wudn't be.......

Posted by   on (December 29, 2010, 17:46 GMT)

Hahahaha.... Funny as always :) Mr Alan Tyers is certainly the most consistent Page 2 writers... Change of direction.. Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich singing 'two little boys', every line is hilarious :)

Posted by astopal on (December 29, 2010, 17:15 GMT)

Alan, forget perth, can you write something for greame Smith and company who can't even win in Durban these days, or are you going to stick to the mid table clash called the Ashes?

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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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