Seventy six year old Rocky Harris sits calmly outside the visitors dressing room at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A war veteran, Harris was part of the Malay insurgency from 1952 to 1965 before taking to umpiring in the early 1970s. Since 1995 he has been in charge of the visitors dressing room at the SCG and has a special cupboard inside to commemorate the fine performers.
The story of the cupboard, on which he s etched the hundreds and five-fors at the SCG over the last decade, is fascinating. In 1999, Mark Harrity, a quick bowler from South Australia, fell for a first-ball duck, walked into the dressing room and kicked the cupboard. A few months later, Andy Bichel got caught down the leg side, came back in and also kicked the cupboard door. So I wrote those two names in the spot where they kicked the cupboard.
Then an interesting thing happened. On October 26, 2001, Jason Gillespie stood in front of this cupboard and said, Today I m feeling like a million dollars, time for an eight-for. And he went out there and took 8 for 50 in 16.4 overs. He came back, wrote his name on the top of the board and signed it. It was then when I decided to mention all major performances on this board.
England wicketkeeper Paul Nixon is there too, after giving Glenn McGrath his final international wicket in the country. Paul walked in and kicked the cupboard too so I put him in there.
VVS Laxman figures prominently on the board, and every hundred of his is signed, Thank you Rocky . Harris remembers Laxman on his 1999 visit. He was padded up to bat when he noticed a sole hanging out of one of his boots. He asked me if something could be done. So I took a tube of adhesive, stuck it together, wound a tape around it, placed it under the massage table and told everyone to sit on it. A few minutes on, he put it on, walked in, and made that 167.