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The Noblest Gang of Cricketeers

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Best of 'Ashes Diary 2005' - Part One [Jul. 10th, 2006|02:15 pm]
The Noblest Gang of Cricketeers


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[My Hare Krishnas-in-a-can feel: |okayokay]
[My Hare Krishnas-in-a-can are listening to: |Ross and Terri's 11th January Triple J Podcast]

I was recently given Ricky Ponting's Ashes Diary 2005 book for my birthday, managed to read it in two weeks or so -- it's not that taxing reading, Ricky, sorry... but that picture of you feeling Michael Vaughan up made me laugh on many occasions.

I thought I'd post up the best quotes here (best being funny/awww because if they're neither of those they're boring stats), but unfortunately I didn't mark the pages where they were and it's about 350 pages long. Here's my best effort:

Glenn McGrath

"When umpire Aleem Dar turned down McGrath's lbw appeal...the bowler could not believe it. He put his head between his legs and swore loudly and I could see he was losing control...As he headed off to his fielding position, still reflecting on the decision, I ran over to him, gave him a pat of encouragement and also said to him 'Remember the Spirit of Cricket.' That is our agreement as players for how we want to play the game..."

I bet Glenn was *really* glad of that pointer.

"The crowd were throwing plastic bottles and fruit at Glenn McGrath on the boundary, and when he cleared them off the playing area the steward just threw the items back to the crowd so they could have another go. McGrath got upset and shouted at the steward, who got fired up himself, and at one stage I saw McGrath racing around the boundary chasing after the steward to tell him exactly what he thought of him. That was no good to us because it left him out of position and he missed a catch..."

And who says PM doesn't have control over his troops, eh?

Adam Gilchrist

"Once my official duties were over, I headed to London, about 90 minutes away bu car, with Adam Gilchrist for a fun afternoon..."

Okay, okay, here's the rest:

"Once my official duties were over, I headed to London, about 90 minutes away bu car, with Adam Gilchrist for a fun afternoon at an Australian cultural festival...The highlight of the afternoon was our appearance on stage alongside television's Kath and Kim, actresses Jane Turner and Gina Riley, who are over here to promote their ABC TV show. I was paired with Kath and Gilchrist was paired with Kim, and both pairs were given a mass of ingredients -- including tuna steaks, beef kebabs, a packet of marshmallows, prawns, a pineapple and garlic -- with which we had to create a meal. All this was done in front of a lively crowd, with the winners to be decided by the audience's cheers.
In the end it was called a draw, which is just as well, because neither meal was edible. Hardly a surprise, given the mix of ingredients!..."

Hehe bitchy

"I know questions will be asked about what the captain and coach are doing to solve the problem, but my view is that it is solely the responsibility of the player who oversteps to sort it out. He is letting everyone down and, I said to Adam Gilchrist afterwards, I do not understand why a bowler has to deliver with his heel so close to the front line in the first place..."

"Essex had already racked up more 100 runs. I tried to lighten the mood by carrying Michael Kasprowicz's fart machine with me when I ran out the refreshments, but when I got out to the middle and let it off I soon discovered that it did not impress acting captain Adam Gilchrist one bit.
'You can turn that off,' he shouted before laying into the players. 'I'm not saying people are not trying,' he said, 'but this is embarrassing. We have to put things right.'...I sat down with Gilchrist in the dressing room after play and tried to lift his spirits, but, not surprisingly, he failed to see the funny side of anything..."

Michael Clarke

"One area of concern is our slip catching, with several chances going down over the course of the two innings. We have been fallible here for a while and that is odd because in Warne, me, Clarke and Hayden we have some excellent slip fielders and we practise every day. Confidence could be a factor, especially for someone like Clarke, who has dropped several chances since coming into the side in India. At one point during that tour, when we were chatting on the phone after he dropped a chance in Chennai, he said, 'Hurry up and get fit so you can get back into the slips.'..."

"My one concern with Clarke is the number of questions he asks. He analyses his game a lot, maybe too much, and occasionally looks for too much advice. For example, he talks to me and to Hayden, but that might not be a good mix, because we have contrasting styles as batsmen and may offer conflicting advice.
Sometimes I feel that someone with Clarke's natural ability should be a bit more instinctive, like Adam Gilchrist, and a little less prepared to analyse every technical aspect of his game..."

[Last day of Edgbaston Test]"Cricket dressing rooms can be superstitious places at the best of times, and this morning was no exception. As our last-wicket pair whittled away at the target, everyone stayed in the same seats, no-one was daring to move in case it brought us bad luck and the end of the innings. The drinks break arrived with us wanting 30 more for victory, and as most players bolted for the toilet, the call went up -- from Justin Langer, I think -- for everyone to return to the seat they had been watching from during the first hour.
I was sitting between Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden, and as the drinks were taken onto the field Clarke said to me, 'At least it's good that we've got this close.'
'It's not finished yet,' I replied..."

"It was during the final Test of the Ashes tour at The Oval that he told me: 'I'm going to retire on the same day as you.'..."

"For such a talented player, it is amazing to see how nervous he gets before he plays in a game. He is always one of the first players down to breakfast in the morning, one of the first to want to go to the ground in the morning and one of the first to want to leave after play."

"He has a mass of energy, which is why the back trouble he experienced in England was such a cruel blow..."

Shane Watson

"The one downside of the match was another injury to poor Shane Watson, who cried his eyes out when I saw him in the dressing room. Two years ago he broke down with a fourth set of stress fractures in his back on the even of the World Cup and today, after establishing himself in the Test and one-day squads, he tore a side muscle that is bound to rule him out of the New Zealand tour. All I could tell him was to fight back, although he has done that plenty of times already..."

"Our dinner was organised by Mike Hussey, who has been playing for and captaining the Durham county side this season, and during dinner there was plenty of chat about the place where we are staying, Lumley Castle. It overlooks the ground and there are rumours that it is haunted.
I do not believe in any of that but there were a few people in our group who do -- Dennet, Watson and Lucy Frostick, our massage therapist, were clearly unsettled by jokes about ghosts during the evening. The hotel is a strange place: the staff are dressed in medieval costumes in keeping with the setting, the corridors are filled with suits of armour and busts, and there are some narrow and dark nooks, corners and stairways in the building. In Watson's defence, his room is gloomy and an unusual shape -- his bathroom is behind a concealed door. For someone who may be nervous about ghosts, it is not an ideal spot..."

"I slept really well last night, but the same does not seem to have been the case for a few of the squad. Shane Watson was so unnerved by his room that he went and slept on Brett Lee's floor..."

"I captained him during the one-day series on that trip, and if I had any criticism of him back then it was about his body language. If he bowled a bad ball he would get down on himself. I told him that sent out the wrong message to the opposition, who suddenly knew they were on top. He is a great listener, and he took that on board..."

Rianna Ponting

Today was our final day of practice before departure, and also time to say goodbye to Rianna. We agreed that tomorrow, with the whole process of departing for the next 3 months, will be stressful enough without throwing in our goodbyes as well, so she has headed off with a friend for a few days to Margaret River, south of Perth, to take her mind off our separation. It is not an ideal situation and, as I get older, leaving family and friends behind for long periods gets harder and harder. But this is the life I have chosen. It is lucrative, and it will not last for ever, so Rianna and I have plenty of time to look forward to as a couple when cricket is no longer my job..."

"Rianna is with me now after we linked up in Paris following her holiday in New York [that girl was always in NY]. I caught the Eurostar train that goes under the English Channel to meet her and we had a great time for a few days as neither of us had been to the French capital before. I did not attempt any French, something that seemed to upset the locals, but thankfully I was able to rely on Rianna..."

I have to say that in my experience, if you're in a tourist location, like Paris obviously is, you won't get a chance to speak the native language. If the locals can speak English better than you can speak their language, which invariably they can, they won't let you. It saves time to just speak English instead of faffing around with a phrasebook. Shame but there you go.

A few months later:

"Rianna left early this morning for a break in New York with Helen Appleyard, Damien Martyn's former fiancée. She will meet Helen there and they will have 10 days of sightseeing before she comes back for the first Test at Lord's. Her departure reminds me how close we are to that match now..."

"Rianna arrived from New York this morning, landing at 6.30. I was desperate to meet her at the airport, but as it was the day before the first Test she said I should get some extra sleep. In fact, she said that if I did come to meet her she would not speak to me, so I had to be content with sending a hotel to pick her up..."

"After play Rianna and I had an Italian meal and watched the movie Closer, a drama with Jude Law, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman. It was a miserable film which just about summed up my feelings after 2 days of this Test..."

England Players

"As [Michael Vaughan] took guard from the umpire I strolled up from slip and said, 'There are a few wild throws when you fielded, eh?'
Vaughan said, 'Yes, plenty', but I thought he said, 'Yes, we meant it', and I added, 'If you hang around here for a while you can expect your fair share flying around too.'
Speaking to Brad Haddin, our reserve wicketkeeper, after play, he said that from his vantage point on the dressing room balcony he sensed Vaughan's body language visibly tailing off after my exchange with him..."

"As [Damien Martyn] walked off he was told where the dressing room was by Andrew Strauss, and incident that was captured on camera. I gather no action is being taken by the match referee..."

"I only saw one of the England players, wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, come in for a drink, and he joined our reserve wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin, for a chat. Haddin said afterwards that Jones was very down-hearted at England's loss and his own performance, which culminated in his dismissal today..."

*pats Ashley, you're better than Michael*

"Most of the questions revolved around the ineffectiveness of Ashley Giles at Lord's and the fact that England's players are not playing any cricket between the first and second Tests. I did not get involved in commentating on England's selection policy, but my own opinion is that they would be better of picking Paul Collingwood, Collingwood offers England more with the bat, and if they need any overs of spin, Michael Vaughan could bowl them himself..."

"The reaction of the England players was interesting: although they must have been devastated not to finish us off, they hid that disappointment very well. By the time I got back to the dressomg room, several of their players, including Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, were sharing a drink and some banter with Shane Warne, and Flintoff, who had bowled tirelessly all day, revealed another skill he possesses -- taking the tops off beer bottles with his teeth..."

"One part of touring life that can be tough, especially after more than 2 months away, is seeing the same faces every day. That is not meant as a criticism of anyone, but there are times when you just want to spend some quality time away from cricket, and that is not always easy. Rianna and I decided to leave the hotel an dhead into Nottingham city centre for a quiet meal during the afternoon, but our plan to avoid anything to do with cricket came unstuck when we picked the same restaurant as Andrew Flintoff, his wife, Rachael, and daughter, Holly. It still turned out to be a pleasant meal -- I think they felt the same way we did. We sat together, and managed to avoid the subject of cricket all afternoon..."

"Michael Kasprowicz cranked up his iPod and the England players came in for a beer and a chat at the end of a supberb contest. The cricket has been hard on the field, but the spirit between the two sides has been excellent, and that was reflected in the scenes in the dressing room tonight.
Andrew Strauss, Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff chatted with Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden, Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard did the same with Jason Gillespie, McGrath and Kasprowicz, and there were plenty of other similar scene for more than an hour, until at 10 o'clock..."


A snigger-behind-the-hand quote for Reece:
"Tait was the bowler who hit me on the head in the nets in Colombo in March, but he has played very little cricket since then -- and it showed.
He only played because of the rain, which gave him an extra two days to get over his jet lag, but off the back of winter break he had no rhythm at all and he bowled a 15-ball over to me full of no-balls. At one stage his front foot at the point of delivery was so far over the front line that it landed in the bowlers' follow-through marks..."

Our win was cue for a great evening in the dressing room. With no cricket for a couple of months, pizzas were ordered, the New Zealanders came in for a drink and a chat, and any bitterness I felt about their approach on the field dissolved over a few beers. It was great to see the two sides mixing as I chatted with Brendon McCullum, Stephen Fleming and Shane Warne got together, Hamish and James Marshall shared a drink with Michael Clarke, and young fast bowler Iain O'Brien picked the brains of Michael Kasprowicz..."

"Today's play was frustrating to watch as we lost our way after a great start from Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer. Three of our players walked rather than waiting for decisions to be made by the umpires, and although one of the was Adam Gilchrist, a known 'walker', I was surprised to see Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz follow suit. I was not aware it was team policy to walk, and neither Gillespie or Kasprowicz has a reputation for being walkers. I sent a text to find out what was going on but never got a reply..."

"It was a very emotional time for me, made more so because I have not played a shot in anger. And a mix of relief, frustration and pride and the performance of the rest of the squad caused me to break down and cry when we all got together as a group in the dressing room after the match.
Justin Langer, in charge of our team song whever we win a Test match, got up on a table in the dressing room and called everyone together. Then, in turn, he called on each player to join him and explain what the Test and series win meant to him. He called me up and I was pretty much lost for words. All I managed was, 'I can't explain what it means to be part of it but I can explain what it means to be part of this group...' and at that point I started to cry..."


These two impressed me somewhat:

"I chose to play on the day I arried from Australia, having landed early in the morning. My view is that Somerset has gone to the trouble to contract me so I want to repay that faith by doing the right thing by the county. The last thing I want to be seen to be doing is just taking whatever money they pay me and coasting. I wanted the club and my new team-mates to see that straighaway..."


"I was desperate to do well, desperate to make a good impresseion on my team-mates and the county that was employing me, and desperate for us to break our duck..."

"We also did the dreaded bleep test..."

Argh the bleep test! I always got chucked out of that one early because other people got in my way and I couldn't touch the wall in time. Not that I was complaining at the time.

The Andrew Symonds Incident

"I first got wind of that something was wrong about 75 minutes before the start of the match. When we got onto the ground we we split into two groups - batsman and bowlers - to do our warm-ups. Those warm-ups started with some gentle leg-swings, but after four or five swings in the batting group, Symonds moved away from us and headed for the other set of players. He based himself on the edge of that group and leaned against a wheelie bin that was on the edge of the field. As he did so he fell over.
I saw it all, as did Adam Gilchrist, who was next to me, and straightaway I said to him, 'Do you think he's drunk?' Neither of us could believe that he was, but we went to him to check for ourselves.
I knew a few of the lads had gone out to celebrate Shane Watsone's birthday, but surely they would not have been stupid enought to stay out late on the eve of a match...When Gilchrist and I got to Symonds I did not beat around the bush. His eyes looked puffy and I could smell alcohol on his breath. 'Were you out late last night having a drink?' I said.
'Yes,' he replied.
'What time did you get back?' I responded.
'About 1.30, I think,' said Symonds.
Given the state he was in 8 hours after that, I found his claim hard to believe. My blood started to boil. I did not shout, but I let Symonds know exactly what I thought of his behaviour.
'Right' was his response, but he said it in such a casual 'see-if-I-care' way that it wound me up even more. 'Don't encourage me,' I said. I was furious at a player being so disrespectful to himself, his team-mates, his opponents and his country by turning up to play a game in that state, and I blurted out, 'He can go home then!' to Gilchrist.
My mind had gone from thinking about the match to wondering what on earth had happened last night. I began to wonder if any other players were involved. I knew a couple of the lads had gone out with Symonds, so I turned my attention to them. Brad Haddin and Shane Watson were two of those players. The look on my face must have told them how angry I was, because when I came up to them they looked as thought they had seen a ghost.
'Were you out with Symo last night?' I said.
They said nothing, which annoyed me even more, if that was possible. Looking back now, I guess their reaction was understandable. They were obviously sticking up for their mate; they realised he was in trouble and did not want him getting in any deeper than he was already. Maybe they thought I would have a go at them about being out late, but all I was interested in was getting to the bottom of what Symonds had been up to.
Chatting with the players on a one-to-one basis, I began to understand some of the things I had seen this mornings; things which, at the time, I had thought nothing about. I had seen Michael Clarke running from the breakfast room onto the bus with a bacon sandwich, and had joked with him: 'Bit hungry, are you?'
Clarke is usually one of the first to breakfast, especially on the day of a game, so it was uncharacteristic for him to get up so late as to miss his meal. The reality was that he had spent the previous 30 minutes trying to get Symonds out of bed and dressed so that he would not miss the bus.
After Symonds had had his early breakfast, he had gone back to his room and fallen into such a deep sleep that not even Clarke banging on his door could wake him. Clarke got a spare key from reception, let himself into the room and dragged Symonds out of bed to get him ready for the bus's departure.
Watson was especially down on himself, because his birthday was the reason for the evening out in the first place..."

"Different players handled our time out the tour bus in different ways. A few players watched DVDs or read magazines at the back; Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Brad Hogg spent the trip playing the Tiger Woods golf game on PlayStation; Shane Watson, like Lee, is someone who can sleep in almost any situation, so he asleep for most of the time; and Adam Gilchrist tapped away on his laptop..."

"The evening in the bar with Bernard Fanning turned out to be a late one, and included a few drinks, so today turned into a bit of a write-off. I slept in, then spent the day lazing around the hotel, not doing very much apart from strolling across the road for a coffee and having lunch with Damien Martyn, who was equally fragile..."

"To stop us eating junk food at motorway rest areas, Jock collects some money from all of us before we set out, then buys some bread rolls and various fillings and makes the rolls up during the journey. Katich was helping him today. Matthew Hayden did have one go at using his portable gas barbeque on the bus, earlier in the tour, but the driver, Geoff Goodwin, soon put a stop to that..."

"If I had to pick out one special memory, it would be of our celebration of the World Cup win, which culminated in our singing the team song in the middle of the ground. I led the singing while perched on Tom Moody's shoulders..."

"If I had to pick out one special memory, it would be of our celebration of the World Cup win, which culminated in our singing the team song in the middle of the ground. I led the singing while perched on Tom Moody's shoulders..."

"Cricketers tend to be creatures of habit. If we get runs with a certain bat, we like to keep using it. These habits also extend to the places we occupy in a dressing room. Everyone who had played at Lord's before gravitated to the area they had changed in previously. My place is in the middle of the bench on the back wall, with a view out towards the balcony that overlooks the ground. The right-hand corner in front of me under the window is occupied by Glenn McGrath; next to him, in an armchair by the door that opens out onto the viewing balcony, is Adam Gilchrist; and on the opposite side of the room from McGrath, also under a window, is Shane Warne..."

"After play Alcott took me to get the wound stitched. I assumed it would just a few minutes lying on a bench, but it turned out to be a bit more drawn out than that. I was put into a surgical gown, taken to theatre and given eye pads to shield my eyes from the glare of the lamps as a plastic surgeon sealed the wound with eight stitches..."

"Although we still have 5 wickets to take, there was almost a party atmosphere in the dressing room after play, helped by the appearance of Hugh Jackman. I am not sure who was more starstruck -- Jackman at the chance to chat with the likes of McGrath and Warne, or the players in the presence of a major Hollywood star. He turned out to be a regular bloke who likes a laugh and beer, and we ended up in the dressing room for more than an hour after play before finally heading back to the hotel..."

Smelly quote:

"Eventually everyone departed except the players and sypport staff, and we sang the team song, something we always do to mark a victory. Langer is in charge of that, and he came up with a supberb idea for a location. He took us across the first floor of the pavilion and into the England dressing room, and it was there that we belted out the song, the final expression of our success..."

"Buchanan was equally furious with what he has seen over the past 2 days. He is normally the moderate voice out of the two of us, and will often rein me in when I am keen to shout and bawl, but tonight he was scathing about our play..."

"This evening I had a photo shoot with Anthony Stevens, the former Kangeroos footballer, to promote our new business together, Stride Sports Management. I put on Kangaroos gear and Stevens donned whites, and I even forced him to wear my baggy green cap, though he did not want to..."

"Warne got tantalisingly close to a maiden Test hundred before he pulled Simon Jones to square leg. He was unlucky, because he hit the ball right out of the middle of the bat, and as he walked off I saw him mouth to his mate, Kevin Pietersen, 'I creamed that.' I said to the lads around me on our balcony, 'The first thing he says when he walks into the dressing room will be, "I creamed it"', and sure enough, I was right..."

"This evening I went to the cinema with Justin Langer, Brad Hodge and Brad Haddin and watched the comedyThe Wedding Crashers, which stars Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Australian actress Isla Fisher. It made us all laugh..."

Part Two coming up...


[User Picture]From: musicorcricket
2006-07-10 08:49 pm (UTC)
Please may you put up this pic of him feeling up Mick, please?
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From: a_person_who
2006-07-10 10:18 pm (UTC)
Hehe I'll see what I can do, I don't have a scanner.
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[User Picture]From: musicorcricket
2006-07-12 04:21 pm (UTC)
Ah, see that'd be a prime example for my to use when he tells me off for assuming things, which I did cos I assumed you did as the other one had pictures.
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[User Picture]From: ajat
2006-07-12 01:03 pm (UTC)
Go on, do post linkies at BnR ! It's plenty spiffy ... and a lot of hard work ye've done here ...
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