Cricket

Satirical look at how Australian cricket team chose Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh as their two vice-captains

  • James Marsh
  • September 28th, 2018
  • 16:49:08 IST

Somewhere on the outskirts of Sydney. It's the final round of the Australian vice-captaincy-vice-captaincy selection procedure. Coach and recently self-declared “hippy”, Justin Langer, is sitting in the woodland cross-legged doing some sort of tantric breathing. There is a line of twigs in front of him. Six players are sitting close to it, facing him. There is birdsong and wind chimes.

File image of Australia's Mitchell Marsh. REUTERS

File image of Australia's Mitchell Marsh. REUTERS

Langer: Right guys, thanks for coming. Now as you know, a lot of the problems we had last year stemmed from the vice captaincy of David Warner. So what do you think we're going to do about that?

Nathan Lyon: Just knuckle down, forget all this moralising, and play the best cricket we can against Pakistan, boss?

Langer: Oh dear, Nathan. Not a good start from you. No, we're going to reduce problems stemming from the vice captaincy by doubling the size of the vice captaincy.

Gasps and applause from the group.

Langer: Thanks, guys. I know there'll be a few blown minds among you, but that's right, two of you are going to be vice-captains.

Stunned silence.

Langer: Now, does anyone know where I got this idea?

Josh Hazlewood: Was it from the idiosyncratic recesses of your slightly unfathomable mind, boss?

Langer: No, mate. But that's a good guess. Anyone else?

Peter Siddle: The Ryder Cup? They have multiple vice-captains there?

Langer: Err, no Peter. We want to steer clear of anything involving sand at the moment. Anyone else?

Glenn Maxwell: India?

Langer: Yes, that's right Glenn, but don't interrupt. It's a bit pushy.

Maxwell: Sorry, boss.

Langer: That's ok, Glenn. Yes, you're right, though. If you maximise the number of captains or vice-captains there's a greater chance not all of them will bring disgrace to the nation.

Further gasps

Langer: To explain, India have had three skippers in the last month alone, and only one of them has acted like a cobra with a gin hangover towards the opposition. A line uncrossed percentage of 66.66%.

Further applause

Langer: Right, so I want to hear a pitch from all of you as to why you should be co-vice-captain. Mitchell, you first.

Mitchell Marsh: Well, I’m a decent bloke and I've got a few ideas on how to improve our training sessions.

Langer: Training sessions, Mitch? Instead of ethical sledging seminars? Well, it's a novel idea. I’ll certainly consider it. Who's next?

David Warner: G’day everyone.

Langer: Um, David, you do realise that firstly you're still banned and secondly you're the reason we're all here?

Warner: Yes, Boss. But the celebrations when I scored my grade century last week were so wild I thought Australian cricket couldn't do without me.

Langer: Well technically it was only you celebrating, David, but go on. If reinstated as vice-captain...

Maxwell: Co-vice-captain

Langer: Don't interrupt, Glenn, for goodness sake.

Maxwell: Sorry, Boss.

Langer: Go on, David. If reinstated as co-vice-captain how would you restore dignity to the Baggy Green?

Warner: See-through trousers.

Langer: Err, you might need to explain that idea a little further, David.

Warner: Well, I figured that if we all wore see-through trousers everyone could see we weren't hiding any sandpaper down them.

Langer: Yes, that’s true, mate. And I like your thinking there. They would, however, be able to see your underpants.

Warner: I hadn't really thought about that, to be honest, boss.

Langer: Ok, well let's move on. So Nathan, why you?

Lyon: Well, I played in that fateful Sandpapergate South Africa series and was one of the few Australians to emerge from it with any credit.

Langer: Well, hang on, mate. You did throw the ball at AB’s head after you ran him out.

Lyon: I guess. But I didn't throw it very hard at his head, boss.

Langer: Yes, good point. That's exactly the sort of moral leadership we're after. Okay so next up, it's you Peter. Go ahead. Why would you be a good co-vice-captain?

Siddle: Well, mainly because I'm an elder statesman and vegan.

Langer: Peter, Peter, Peter. We're after ethical leaders here. What's ethical about being a vegan?

Siddle: Well, you know, helping the environment and the lack of killing and all that.

Langer: Sounds a bit un-Australian, Peter. It's great to have you back in the squad, but you've embarrassed yourself there. Who's next?

Maxwell: Me, boss.

Langer: Now hang on, Glenn. You're not in the squad, but you want to be vice-captain?

Maxwell: Well, David’s here and he's not in the squad. I just wanted to show willingness.

Langer: I see. Well, how many hundreds have you scored today, Glenn?

Maxwell: None, boss. I've been sat here with you, haven't I?

Langer: None, eh? Dear, dear. Not really the sort of form a co-vice-captain needs, is it? Rather arrogant of you to come at all, actually.

Maxwell: Sorry, boss.

Langer: So, last up it's you Josh. Why do you want to be co-vice-captain?

Hazlewood: I don't really.

Langer: See, Glenn. That's the sort of attitude we want.

Maxwell: Sorry, boss.

Langer: That's ok, Glenn. Right, we'll sort this out later. In the meantime, who fancies a game of UNO?

All exit to the sound of good-natured banter.

Updated Date: September 28, 2018 16:49:08 IST

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