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The Ashes Files Part III: Can Sports Stars stand up a crowd when England bat?

Cricket Australia engaged us in March 2013 to vet applications for batsmen and spinners in the wake of our 4-0 defeat in India.  As at September 2013 make that 7 losses from the last 9 Tests.

This is the third in a series of sensational releases of the best applications we received.

The Sports Stars are rich with precocious talent.  As CA reminded us “We remain open to innovative alternatives.”  Alternatives to whom?  People who can actually play the game? This file was pretty thick until The Prof grabbed a handful of applications and headed off for his mid-morning constitutional. We managed to restore many applications but some were beyond repair without support from the local health authorities.

We have listed who we think could be batsmen first, then the potential bowlers.

Tom Waterhouse
[Bookie to the Stars]

I know I once said that I wasn’t born to wear the Baggy Green, but at 4-to-1 that I can score more than the incumbent No. 3 on a turning wicket, I’m worth the gamble. I’ve never worked with a bat and ball 400 times, but I expect that persistence in racing and excellent breeding counts for something. I’ll look very sharp in the middle of the team photo and can handle myself in front of a TV camera for the post-match interview.

Imagine the off field assistance I could be to my team mates in placing their affairs in order, laying off their exposures internationally without disrupting global capital markets and giving them some tips on cross-sports spreads. The BCCI is a great supporter.

Mum promises not to come on tour.

Little Tom

Black Caviar
[Champion racehorse]

black caviarI am the world’s best thoroughbred sprinter with 25 wins from 25 starts. I like winning, handle like a Ferrari, and shift like Kingston Town.

I am from Bel Esprit – Helsinghe by Desert Sun, an exceptional royal pedigree. I am worth more pound for pound than a squad of chancy first generation Test cricket nags. My family includes stakes winners MuirfieldVillage, Russian Tea Room, Frosty the Snowman and Midnight Sun, each traced from the unraced Vain mare Song of Norway. Beat that!

I am seeking a less energetic profession.  My manager suggested mud wrestling, travel writing, pearl fishing, or Arctic exploration paired with four tall black stallions.  We settled on cricket because of its mature betting market.

I also flog a highly successful 9 piece grooming set that is more popular in Ireland and the Scottish midlands than SW’s discount set of red jocks and eyeliners. The set includes the best-selling ‘Silky Detangler Spray’, an eco-friendly oil free formulation that protects cricket whites from urine, grass and manure stains, and a high gloss waterproof hoof enamel perfect for damp conditions.

I bat at no. 2. I can hold an end for days as long as I have a chaff bag and high quality grass – I’m a big paddock mare. Cricket ovals are fine. I bat 3 yards outside the crease like KP, the English stallion. I accumulate runs slowly like Mr Ed. Only Flat Stanley has more not outs.

Those who bowl to me end up bald and bleary eyed.  How can one bowl sensibly to a horse, let alone a champion brood mare like me, and survive the animal liberationists and loss of twitter followers?

Black Caviar

Israel Folau
[Big boy]

My debut year in 2007 was full of records – youngest player, most tries, Rookie of the Year.  Now, with League, AFL and Rugga on the resume, there are still are a few sports to conquer and cricket is next for me. I can kick, pass, throw, hit, spin and catch with the best of them, so count me in.

After cricket I think I’ll debut in hockey, tennis and diving.  Why they didn’t ask me to humiliate myself on Celebrity Splash, I’ll never know.


The Queens Park Rangers Team
[Ed: football?]

Whatever. If we can’t play Premier League we have got to find something to do.


Roger Federer

Hitting balls hard is what I do.  Timing, hand-eye coordination and style is what it’s all about, and I’ve got it in spades as well as a wardrobe full of rolexes and other silverware.  Most importantly in terms of presenting my credentials, I know a blade of grass when I see one.  Having said that, it’s a myth that I can’t play on clay – I might have had something to add on the recent tour of India, where it is clear that what you lacked was someone with discipline who would practice, practice, practice AND put in their homework.


Rafael Nadal
[No 1]

I am the King of Clay and from what I heard you could do with someone who can cope with anything that’s dished up on that most magical and mysterious of surfaces.  There is nothing quite like hearing the sound of a hamstring pinging accompanied by the sound of a tennis shoe sliding along in the ochre red dirt. Well, it’s that or Spanish hip-hop, but that’s not to everyone’s taste, is it?

How big are the trophies?  I’ve got a few and they’re all in the special house I built on the Riviera to contain them all – each one with its own room, bathroom, spa and sauna – each victory deserves honour and I’m hoping to get some more.  Maybe The Ashes will be next?  Variety is the spice of life, but not in terms of your pre-match routines (socks right, hair right, racquets right, drink bottles right – you get the idea.) I’ve heard that Steve Waugh always carried a lucky red rag – bring on The Bull!


Tiger Woods
[Still going strong]

I’ve been Number One and then sunk to the depths, so I know what it’s like to have to claw your way back. It’s not an issue that the reason for my downfall was that I got caught playing a round and yours is that you’ve got a dearth of talent and no idea how to manage what you’ve got.  Clawing your way back, avoiding a swinging one-iron and running like hell will work every time.

I’ll always be the greatest, and now I’m looking for a new challenge. The only game I can find that is even half as dumb as golf is cricket.


Mark Webber
[F1 racer]

Speed. Speed. The need for Speed. That’s me behind the wheel, and that’s me given any opportunity to throttle Sebastian Vettel after he stole that race in Malaysia. I know it looks like it’s all civilized in Formula 1, but behind the scenes it’s really a dog eat dog world – the competition for the best caviar in the Ferrari tent is always fierce.  If you manage to get a handful, squish it up with a little salami and one of those cute little stuffed red peppers from the antipasto plate.  Delish.

We know how to win and we know how to fizz a bottle of the best Moet so it will blow off just right. There is always someone we want to hit with a cork, or an ear we want to fill with a flood of hard-to-remove champers.

Skill – that’s all it is.  And class.  I’ve got them both in bucketfuls. Or buckets full.  Whatever.

I’ll open the batting and bowl fast. Really fast.  At least I’ll be the first at the ground every morning.


PS I don’t care who Cricket Australia’s Official Automotive Partner is.  I only drive cars with horses on them.

Oscar Pistorius
[The accused]

I am the blade runner. I held a cricket ball for the first time last week, urged by my publicist to adopt a sympathetic cause – “child poverty, whales, battery hens, or Australian Test Cricket” she said. “That’s what people are talking about.”

I am an outdoors guy, so I rolled my arm over a few 100 times in the compound applying more sideways draw and back spin than my publicist has nerve. “A natural” she said. I peered down at the rubble that used to be mypebblecrete driveway, thinking it looked like a first day pitch in Hyderabad. “Nice foot marks for a bowler. Wide and deep,” she said, lowering a ladder and grabbing a flashlight from her Porsche. “If you can’t make it jink and swerve like a springbok in here, I’ll stop calling you a…..S*#t!.  I’m walking in it.  The sewer!  You hit the sewer main, you clumsy git.  Come down here and get me out!” Things were looking up at last.

I sat the CA exam the next day in the local scout hall with 11m of my South African brothers across the country.  My publicist was certain I would be the only applicant to list correctly the number of maiden overs by Australian spinners in the Indian tests, AND the 4 ways to counter leg spin: handle the ball, shake a leg, blindfold the umpire and use a wide bat.  I finished first, licked my pencil, blades crossed, and twiddled my thumbs for 20 minutes until the invigilator called time.

The Judge hailed me on the way out to return my passport. “No problems, Oscar.  Your parents are very impressive.”  The prosecutor threw me a cherry and a wink.  My publicist was already tweeting ‘Blade Runner in a Spin’ as she completed my s.457 application.


David Beckham
[No 7]

Good with bending balls, so I should be able to adjust to the small red one easily. I am familiar with English conditions.  I will be able to show that pretender Mitch Johnson a thing or two about tattoos and modelling underwear. Vicky will raise the tone amongst the WAGS, and is sure to sort the frocks out for the next Allan Border Medal. At 37, I am old enough to be a senior player from the off.

Contact the manager, he’ll talk readies.

Big Ups


Usain Bolt

Anything called a Big Bash is okay with me.  I’ve tasted it, they wanted me, it didn’t happen but I’m in. Any doubts?  Shane will vouch for me.

Plus, I reckon the whole cricket thing is a bit too laid-back, and that stupid Sprinkler thing the English do is just plain dumb. Given my experience at developing my Lightning Bolt pose, I can help every player develop their own signature move. Imagine it.  You could have something that rivaled the Haka.  And that would be something else!


“Looks good,” said The Freak

“You should have read the one’s I flushed away,” The Prof replied. “Wrestlers, boxers, archers, shooters all good with their hands and their feet. The gent in the next stall thought I was crazy tossing them away until he realised it was too late.”

“Thanks,” I said. “A bunch of unique individuals that can stand up a crowd when the ball is old.  Anything to drown the trumpeter and the BArmy in November.”

ashes diary cover grass edge2bGet your copy of

Ashes Diary – Summer of the 17th Man – England 2013

in ebook now at (Aust/US residents) and (UK residents) .

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PS  The ebook is fantastic on the kindle app for iPad.  Paperback out soon.



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