Saturday, 26 January 2013

Our favourite Australians

Having run the article below which brought over 20,000 people to our site this week alone, we have been accused of being anti-Australian. We're not I can assure you and I have many Australian friends. We just think you might get spanked over here in England this year. Saying that there is nothing worse than some loudmouth working in an Earl's Court pub, telling you how wonderful Australia is and how shit the UK is, all the while having left God's own country just to serve beer to a race they profess to hate! Anyway, seeing as it is Australia Day, and we have an army of new fans from Down Under, we thought we'd bring you the Middle Stump guide to our favourite Australians.

Captain Grumpy...what a player!

Lennie Pascoe - absolutely off his rocker, the man born Leonard Durtanovic to Macedonian parents opened the bowling with Jeff Thomson in schoolboy cricket. Can you imagine facing those two who both went on to bowl in the 90mph plus region on a regular basis? Fuck that for a laugh! Never short of a word or two for the batsman, Pascoe loved bowling short and almost killed India's Sandeep Patil once when he hit him on the head. Took a fivefer in the Centenary Test at the Oval in 1980 after almost feigning injury as he thought his school mate Thommo should be playing instead.

Allan Border - an Aussie who spent almost as much time at an English crease in the twentieth century as Michael Hutchence! His unbeaten hundred in 1981 in a losing cause against England was one of the bravest knocks I have seen as he was in agony with a broken finger. The captain of the 1985 team that lost in the UK, Herbie (named after herbaceous border) toughened up and was more stand offish when he returned in 1989. Under the coaching of Bobby Simpson the Aussies proceeded to dominate the English as much as Kylie and Jason were dominating our charts at the time, with AB averaging 74.

Bobby Simpson - the Aussie who pissed off more Englishman in the 1960's than Rolf Harris, Simpson was a technically very correct player but it was as a coach that he was one of the best in the world. He turned the Australians into the best side in the world, possibly ever, although having world class bowling such as Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath in your side certainly helps. Coached over here at Leicestershire, where in Paul Nixon's brilliant book, Keeping Quiet, he tells a story of a barbecue at the home of the Aussie coach. These were often alcohol free affairs, but some of the younger and more enterprising players would sneak vodka into a bottle of Coke. This was all going fine, until Simpson's three year old grandson got hold of it, and fell over repeatedly around the garden!

Lennie "Pinocchio" Pascoe

Andrew Hilditch - the happy hooker, he has been described in our upcoming book Cricket Banter, as a man who gets into as much trouble hooking, as when Abu Hamza wipes his arse. Started off the 1985 series with a brilliant hundred at Headingley but after that would compulsively hook the short ball, often ending up being caught at fine leg or deep square. After a spell as a selector for the national side, Hilditch is now a Partner in a law firm in Melbourne specialising in Insurance Litigation.

Jason Gillespie - another star of our book Cricket Banter (have we mentioned it is out in April 2013 via The History Press? If we haven't and I'm sure we haven't, then you can pre order a copy on Amazon right now), Dizzy gave us a hilarious interview last summer. The holder of the highest score by a night watchman, his bowling was genuinely quick and had an absolutely quality bouncer, one good enough to break Michael Vaughan's shoulder. Now one of the best coaches in the world, he took Yorkshire up to Division One at the first attempt and he has his own range of wines named after his famous night watchman knock, called Dizzy 201. A thoroughly good bloke and a man known to read The Middle Stump now and again!

Thirsty for a cold glass of Dizzy201?

Richie Robinson - played just three Tests against England in 1977, he makes our list of favourite Australians as he was shit and always guaranteed to make the Aussies 0/1. Or seeing as this is a piece about Aussies, is it 1/0? And on the subject, why is a groundsman called a curator over there? And Extras called Sundries? Anyway, back to Robinson, he played just the three Tests in his career averaging 16 before fucking off to World Series Cricket.

Mitchell Johnson - the star of the SCG in the last Ashes series, he was constantly baited by the Barmy Army.  "He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is shite" is the famous song and he was about as accurate as Stevie Wonder with a snipers rifle. Genuinely quick, he can bat and has scored Test hundreds. His famous sledge to James Anderson from the non strikers end is legendary, telling the Burnley man he can't bowl, before Jimmy cleans up his team mate next ball, is comedy gold. No doubt, Mitch will get loads over here this summer, although secretly he loves it. Watch this space!

Rick Darling - has a Test cricketer been hit on the head as much as this man? Bob Willis famously hit him in the throat in Sydney in 1979, making him swallow his chewing gum and he actually stopped breathing before John Emburey thumped him in the chest causing it to fly out in a projectile manner, albeit still slower than an Emburey flighted delivery in the late 80's! Was given mouth to mouth resuscitation although batted the next day. Many a person has been hit by a person from Peckham in South London, but it is usually more life threatening than life saving!

5-0 to England this summer Glenn?

Glenn McGrath - an Ashes series wouldn't be an Ashes series without the man known as Pigeon predicting a 5-0 whitewash to the Baggy Greens. His bowling at Lord's in 1997 was outstanding as he ripped through the English batting to pick up 8-38 on the Saturday. I have to put it up there as one of the finest displays I have ever witnessed. Never short of a word or three, his wife was English and Glenn has dedicated his recent years to the McGrath Foundation after her premature death from cancer in 2008. Metronomic accuracy, he also took one of the best catches I have ever seen to dismiss Michael Vaughan.

Shane Warne - rumours that the Victorian took it too literally when he was told to come out of retirement to "stick it up the English" are completely untrue especially when it comes to his love life. Who will ever forget that ball to Mike Gatting in 93 or Andrew Strauss in 2005? The best bowler I have ever seen, and one of the best captains too. Would Australia have retained the Ashes if he had held KP at the Oval in 2005? Who knows...we should just celebrate a great bowler, a great slip fielder and a handy lower order batsman too!

Right, who is getting excited about the Ashes? We are...


  1. I can imagine. We get all sorts in this country that whine and carry on and say how shit Australia is and how marvellous their home country is. Well, we say here in Australia: like it or leave it.

  2. What about Darren 'Boof' Lehmann? Drinks, smokes, bets, bowls completely nude balls, bats good and tells us what he really thinks, to the detriment of his hip pocket!!!

  3. In my experience Aussies are in general much more bullish than Brits. Some may say also more full of bull. They tend shoot from the lip which endears them to those more verbose than your general reserved pom. My personal fave is Dirk Welham who I am told by an Aussie colleague used his bat other than what it is meant for in one famous incident down under.

  4. my fav is the one and only Yorkshire head coach Dizzy but i like most of the ex players tbh

  5. No room for Doug the Rug? Nevermind...

    In fairness I suspect you could have doubled the length of this list and still not mentioned every character that the Aussies have produced!

  6. I've been following cricket since the late 60s (Australian). One of the things which doesn't endear us to other nations is our sledging but it's part of life off the cricket field. We grow up sledging and being sledged. If you can't handle sledging over here you quit sport. And anything goes - mum, sister, grandma, auntie, cousin, etc.

    There's too many cricketers to list. One of the best bowling performances I saw was Denis Lillee going from 2-29 to 8-29 against the World XI, picking up the last six wickets for 0.

    Then there was Bob Massie's 16 for 137 at Lords. Not a bad debut.

    And Terry Alderman often gets forgotten. Two 40+ Ashes tours. One of the last great swing bowlers. The modern Australian bowlers don't know how to swing the ball.

    Dougie Walters gets forgotten but he was the guy who could make a century on unplayable pitches when everyone around him was getting ducks.

    Too many others to list.

  7. Is this the real Bill Lawry? If so, a pleasure to have you on board! Thanks for the comments chaps, we missed our Merv of course who was loved worldwide, Lehmann was hugely popular in England especially in Yorkshire. Maybe we'll have to do a part two including of course Mr William Lawry :)

  8. Always loved Brett Lee personally, watched the Ashes at OT in 2005 and he was great with the crowd