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.
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.
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.
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%.
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...
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.
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