The Heavy Ball

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A day in the life of Andrew Hilditch

It's not easy being Australia's chief selector. What do you do when people can't even get a simple sandwich right?

Alex Bowden

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A
Andrew Hilditch, chairman of Australia's national selection panel, addresses the media, Sydney, May 20, 2009
"It's an awful job having to be proved right all the time, but someone's got to do it" © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Andrew Hilditch
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Australia
Teams: Australia

7am: Alarm goes off. Press snooze.

7.10am: Alarm goes off again. Switch it off.

8.30am: Wake and realise that I have overslept and am likely to be an hour late for work. Having chosen the best alarm clock available, cannot be held responsible for its performance. Vow to take up the issue with the manufacturer.

9.30am: Arrive at work. Brush aside questions from senior partners at the firm, citing poor performance from items that had been selected to do a particular job. Emphasise the lack of viable alternatives and express disappointment with Australian alarm equipment in general.

9.40am: Phone alarm manufacturer with a view to admonishing them. On hold.

10am: On hold.

10.30am: On hold.

11.45am: Get through to alarm manufacturer representative. Admonish them severely for alarm's poor performance. Point out that alarms were far superior in 2006-07.

12.10pm: Take an early lunch with a view to purchasing a replacement alarm clock. Evaluate all the available options before plumping for the cheapest one on offer.

1:40pm: Head into sandwich shop. Have had delicious avocado-lime prawn sandwich from this place several times recently. The sandwich has always been perfect and so vow not to be taken in by such obviousness on this occasion.

1:45pm: Close examination of the chiller cabinet reveals very little choice. The avocado-lime prawn sandwich is available, as is a rather bland-looking sandwich, which appears to contain generic cheese and little else.

1.50pm: Having scrutinised the nutritional information, find that the bland cheese sandwich has 0.1g more fibre. Knowing it is impossible to argue with a stat like that, make purchase, safe in the knowledge that I have made exactly the right decision. Also, Ricky has said that he "doesn't trust prawns" and so feel even more confident.

1.55pm: The sandwich is insipid. Harangue staff at length for their poor performance. Maybe if there were better options available, I wouldn't be in this position. I have been forced into a corner and cannot be held responsible.

2.10pm: Second sandwich shop also offers a bland cheese sandwich that is tantalisingly high in fibre, if you happen to think about fibre in tenths of a gram - which I do. Make purchase.

2.15pm: Berate staff for their low standards. State with certainty how sandwiches didn't used to be this bad. Shout at God for putting me in a position where the exact right decision can have such dire consequences. God fails to respond. Does no one take responsibility anymore?

2.25pm: Return to first sandwich shop and buy the delicious-looking avocado-lime prawn sandwich.

2.30pm: Back at work, stare at delicious-looking sandwich. Feel certain that despite its obvious appeal, somewhere there is a better alternative. Maybe something like those toasted cheese sandwiches that were so readily available between 1992 and 2007 (except for that brief period in 2003, when it was rumoured that they contained unlawful ingredients that elevated one's rate of urination.)

2.32pm: Peruse the refuse receptacle in the hallway.

2.33pm: Locate half-eaten ham sandwich and identify qualities undetectable to the untrained eye. Tuck in with gusto.

2.35pm: Set sandwich aside when stomach starts making odd noises.

3pm: Steve pops in to ask if I have any food. He has worked through his lunch break and will take anything that's going. Successfully talk him out of the delicious-looking avocado-lime prawn sandwich, citing lack of character in the bread. Proffer the three-quarters eaten insipid cheese sandwich instead.

3.10pm: After a lengthy, persuasive argument that relied heavily on the nutritional information printed on the crumpled wrapper, Steve reluctantly accepts the stub of cheese sandwich and takes a couple of bites.

3.20pm: Start feeling slightly unwell.

3.30pm: Receive phone call from Steve. Steve is feeling unwell.

3.45pm: Feel decidedly off-colour now. Privately blame the local shop for improper storage of cheese sandwiches. Make note to admonish them at a later date, when fully recovered. It's almost like nobody can see the mistakes that they're making but me.

4pm: Head home early. Judging by their faces, the senior partners seem satisfied with my justification that I require a "rebuilding phase".

4.45pm: Feel even worse - hot, sweaty and nauseous. Take off shirt in order to cool down. Spit on shirt for causing such discomfort.

4.46pm: Feel freezing cold and put shirt back on. Shirt is suddenly more effective for having been completely abandoned a moment earlier. Congratulate self on getting the best out of shirt. Phone national newspaper to laud shirt as world's finest, emphasising importance of own role in transformation.

4.55pm: Nausea increasing. Correctly identify that now is the time to make some major changes.

5pm: Correctly conclude that drinking a small amount of rat poison will get the badness out. Pour out the correct measure into the correct vessel and drink it in the correct manner.

5.10pm: Start to lose consciousness. Congratulate self on once again making correct decision after correct decision in a dangerous and unconquerable world.

7am: Alarm goes off. Press snooze.

RSS FeedAlex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

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Comments: 11 
Posted by   on (January 21, 2011, 23:35 GMT)

That was hilarious! So which one was Michael Beer?

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 21, 2011, 19:11 GMT)

This is one of those esoteric articles that wud make absolutely no sense to someone who hasn't seen the Ashes events closely and wud rate this article as third rate. On the other hand, someone who is in the know of things is going to keep chuckling at the various metaphors used by the author. I am obviously the 2nd type. Great article Alex. It actually made me crave for a succulent Smoked Chicken Tomato Basil Sandwich. Deja!!! Where re ya?????

Posted by Dr.K.H.Iyer on (January 21, 2011, 16:58 GMT)

Awesome! Very creative writing! Great job, man!

Posted by Tigg on (January 21, 2011, 14:56 GMT)

That was brilliant. Very funny, and perhaps more than a little true.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (January 21, 2011, 11:17 GMT)

Is Nathan Hauritz the sandwich or the shirt?

Posted by   on (January 21, 2011, 11:13 GMT)

@Something_Witty That "shirt" one is Mitchell Johnson, he was rested in Adelaide and then taken for next test @WACA. So hilditch is claiming the fame for Mitchell remarkable turnaround within single test.

Posted by krsriram on (January 21, 2011, 8:28 GMT)

absolutely hilarious!!! lol

Posted by   on (January 21, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

Hilarious... comparisions with the "invincible" aussie cricket team pure piece of genius....

Posted by akshay4india on (January 21, 2011, 7:38 GMT)

Absolutely brilliant. VERY refreshing to read a different styled article. Great job!

Posted by vermasandeep04 on (January 21, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

Hahaha..Well done Alex..I loved the "Take off shirt in order to cool down. Spit on shirt for causing such discomfort"...What defines this man is the quote attributed to him in the picture in this article and thats the reason i feel tht till he is at the helm of affairs "choosing the best alarm clocks" there is no hope in hell for Australia to ever recover its lost glory days.

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