A day in the life of Dr Allan Border: Australia's pre-eminent medical guru advises Matt Renshaw

These days Australia, like most teams, spend substantial amounts of money on professional medical staff. This is a mistake according to many former Australian cricketers, who seem to believe that most illnesses can be cured simply by being Australian.

It’s a novel approach to healthcare, and one which may yet take off, but it didn’t work for poor Matt Renshaw on Thursday. Instead of simply curing himself of a stomach bug with his nationality, the young opener had to leave the field while batting on Day 1 of the Pune Test against India. Bizarrely, Renshaw opted not to play out the colonic endgame of his illness in the middle of a sports stadium on live television.

Allan Border and Matt Renshaw. AFP

Allan Border and Matt Renshaw. AFP

Yet this cowardly decision inevitably brought condemnation from several grisled ex-Australia players and led to Renshaw being sent to see the country’s pre-eminent medical guru, Dr Allan Border, who had been particularly critical of the decision to ‘retire ill’. In transcripts obtained for Firstpost, here’s how things unfolded for Renshaw and Dr Border’s other patients on Thursday:

A knock on the surgery door.

“Come in, you wibbling manflower.”

“Er, good morning.”

“Mr Renshaw, is it? I'm Doctor Border. This is Nurse Jones, but you can call him Deano.’

“Oh...Hi Deano.”

“Hi, mate.”

“So, what do you think’s wrong with you then?”

“Well, the thing is, Doctor. It’s my first time in India and I picked up a bit of the old tummy trouble.”

“I see. You'd know about that, Deano, wouldn't you?”

“Sure would, AB.”

“So you obviously carried on batting, Matt?”

“Well, I just couldn't, Doctor. My stomach was so bad. I was going to, well, you know....”

“But you stayed out in the middle, mate?”

“I had my whites on, Doctor.”

“I never thought I'd see the day. Nurse Jones, tell us about the time you were sick in India.”

“Oh, I don't really like to talk about it. Hardly ever mention it, AB.”

“Well make an exception, Deano.”

“Well, it was in Chennai, 1986. Quite hot. I felt sick. So I threw up on the pitch.”

“Tell him the rest, Deano.”

“Yeah, I vomited up my liver.”

“Er, is that actually possible?”

“Yes, Matt. It is. And then my nose fell off.”

“That’s completely true. I was there. But tell him what you did next, Deano?”

“I stayed on the pitch, mate. Stayed on the pitch and won the match!”

“Wasn't it a tie, guys?”

“Don't get cute, Renshaw. Where are you from anyway? Probably somewhere known for mollycoddling soft boys like you I expect.”


“Hm, I see.”

“Well, what do you recommend, Doctor? Can you give me anything for it?”

“Sure I can. Here you go.”

“Oh. A book. ‘Hard men love moustaches’, by D Boon and M Hughes.”


“And this will cure my stomach if I read it, Doctor?”

“Should do. If not, just shout at your stomach really loudly then have a beer. Now get out of my surgery and send the next patient in. Unbelievable, Deano.”

“Complete Snowflake, AB.”

A loud and masculine knock on the door.

“That’s more like it. A man’s knock. A bloody bloke’s knock. Ah, Mr Matt Wade.”

“Alright guys. Sorry about old girl’s guts Renshaw. He’s young, you know.”

“No worries. Now what can we do for you? You probably tore a muscle wrestling bareback in the outfield with Davie Warner or something?”

“I’ve got a sore throat.”

“Oh, er, I see. That's a bit lame, mate.”

“No, you don't understand, Doctor. I got it from shouting and sledging really loudly. Guess that’s why Peter Nevill never ever gets a sore throat, eh?”

“Aw, right. That's fine then.”

“So what do you recommend to cure it?”

“More shouting.”

“You think shouting more will clear up my sore throat.”

“Yep. But do it in a deeper voice. Maybe while spitting and looking like someone’s chosen a romcom for the coach journey.”

“You said you liked Muriel’s Wedding, AB.”

“Shush, Deano.”

“Right, well cheers, Dr Border. That's great.”

Another knock.

“Yes, get in. What is it?”

“Hi. Well, er, the thing is, Doctor. I keep seeing double.”

“Right. Too many cold beers, eh Deano?”

“Good one, AB.”

“No, Doctor. Nothing like that. It’s just the other day I put my telly on to watch the cricket. I've got a split screen. And on one half there was Australia playing India A. And on the other there was another Australia playing Sri Lanka. At exactly the same time. Double Australia! It was too much. It really freaked me out.”

“Right. And you are?”

“Mr Hohns. Trevor Hohns, Aussie chief selector.”

“Mate, get out!”

“Great shouting, AB.”

“Thanks, Deano.”

“Should I get you some lunch. Nice chicken biryani?”

“Nope, mate. Just a Vegemite sandwich for me, Deano. Can't be too careful.”

“Right you are, AB. The old ways are the best.”

PS: These conversations may not have taken place...at all.

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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2017 13:42:35 IST

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