Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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Ashes Diary of the 17th Man – May 22

The briefing for the travel arrangements early in the week was mind numbing. With some players doing Ashes only, some Champions Trophy only, some Australia A only, some Champions trophy and Ashes, and some others Australia A and Ashes, getting on the right plane at the right time will be no easy task. Who knows who’s playing in the ODI series in September. As for getting the right combination of travel strip, training strip, playing strip, caps and pads, it was certainly beyond the straightforward minds of the quicks.  Their psyshes are in a constant spin over the rotation policy as it is.

As for the “farewell function”, I’ve seen some product placements before, but Qantas getting a whole A380 into the back of a press conference today was a bit much.  There was much hilarity about us having to hang around in the rear of the plane for fifteen minutes until everyone was ready for us. The Captain didn’t even know they put seats that close together. The Freak made the mistake of saying “Bet Mantis bumps his head on the overhead lockers,” under his breath. The laughter didn’t even get going before the newly appointed Anti-Corruption Officer pulled him aside for a five minute lecture on the dangers of gambling in sport. As for Mantis, he bumped his head.

Puff was a little over excited and started to jump up and down.  “Let’s see if we can tip this puppy.” Fortunately, we were called out into the spot light before he get any momentum going. Hope I’m not on his flight.

It’s quite common for some of the guests or hangers-on to be a bit star struck when the whole team makes an appearance like this, but today it was newby Unlucky who really embarrassed himself.  He’s the only member of the squad old enough to know that the Minister for Sport used to be the lead singer in a band.  At first, we thought he was all nervous because of the big occasion – fronting the press in a drafty aircraft hanger on the first real day of winter and all. But he was carrying an ancient CD in his pocket, and somehow managed to get an autograph. Rocket Man had his substantial intellect on display, as usual.  “Who’s the bald dude?” he said as we staggered down the rear stairs of the plane to the press conference.  He only got more confused when The Prof told him that Unlucky is a huge fan of Gonski.

Pleasantries over, photos taken and interviews done (though none with me) it was back home to more packing and getting ready for the flights out on the weekend.

Bring it on!


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© 2013 Dave Cornford & Jeremy Pooley

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