Debating #Homeworkgate

Let’s get to the bottom of the week’s hottest topic. No, it’s not the colour of rising smoke from the conclave, it’s cricketers gone wild-ish in India. Paddy from Warming the Pine knuckles-on with myself to decide who’s reputation stinks most after a turbulent week in the Baggy Green.

PADDY: Dane, since I’ve really just got nothing else going on in my life, I thought I would use my overburdening amount of extra time to fire off brainfarts of cricketing wisdom in your direction, in the hope that you would misguidedly respond to such a haranguing.

The topic, you ask? Well, realistically, what other topic is there? #Homeworkgate has been on every person’s lips, text messages, email flirtations and inane twittering for the past 72 hours, so I thought a discussion of exactly how right Cricket Australia were to do what they did was in order.

In my view, being the sycophantic Michael Clarke fanboy that I am, Mickey Arthur and the other faceless men behind the removal of our best quick bowler, best non-bowling all-rounder, best left-handed batting prospect and best left-handed bowler who can’t hit the pitch, got their decision spot on. It reminds me of the people who got rid of Kevin Rudd. True visionaries. Realistically, they’ve only got the best interest of the party, ahem, I mean cricket team at heart.

Four blokes. One baby. No brains.

Four blokes. One baby. No brains.

And now I hear that our vice-captain’s gone and sooked off home to “see the birth of his first child.” The number of times I’ve used that excuse to brush off my girlfriend’s family dinners! Good one Shane! Surely it’s time for the faceless men, along with Australian cricket’s Swan and Gillard to send Shane Watson to the back bench?
DANE: Ahhhhh Paddy old pal, I was awaiting this call. I knew #Homeworkgate would come a-knockin’ at some point, and now here it is to disrupt my application for status as a New Zealand citizen. Let me put down my Steinlager and reply to your maniacal points of view.

With all of the caterwauling and burning effigies around, I believe that it’s important to be level-headed about this whole thing.

What we have witnessed this week is the ugly manifestation of an Australian cricket administration locked in the vicious throes of emo-like self-harm. There, I said it. Cricket Australia is cutting itself while wearing eye-liner.

It’s been mega-fugly so far in India, but Test axings for homework makes it official; the Aussie game is dying a laughable death, and the residents of earth are staring and pointing as they capture the whole sordid episode on their smart phones, ready for upload to YouTube or Cricket’s Funniest Home Videos at any time.

Frankly sir, I’m flabbergasted that you can see a silver lining in the actions of Adolf Arthur and his chalk-clutching iron fist. However, I do agree with your comparison of Cricket Australia to the diabolical Labor Party; both joints stink to the back teeth, and it’s all thanks to those inside it’s rotting carcass.

And as for Shane Watson, he should’ve been chaired out of Sydney airport this week like the God he is for standing up to this heinous attempt by upper management to establish a fascist regime by clerical means. If this game is going to get up off the canvas in this country, his stoic fight against the machine makes him the obvious face of the team’s much-needed revolution. The board needs to lance this latest festering boil immediately by making him captain and shipping Mickey Arthur to the mail room, where the coach can really ensconce himself in A4.

I’m hoping your love for this whacky decision-making doesn’t extend to include Pat Howard too. There was no concussion rule in rugby in his playing days, is this the reason for his loose-lipped fire-starting after the news broke?

Dane, I see you’ve been sucked into the player power route too huh? I thought the last of the adherents to this foul doctrine were routed when the Brumbies’ revolution was quashed. But here we stand.

Arthur: evil genius or closet teacher's aid? Or just an arsehole?

Arthur: evil genius or closet teacher’s aid? Or just an arsehole?

Have you been watching the floundering flop Shane Watson has become with the willow? And now you want to raise the chap on a pedestal? He’s been given every opportunity there is by Clarke and Arthur, and right now Australia deserves better then two centuries in 40 games. When Shane Watson proves his bat can be as fertile as his loins then I’ll let him go attend his little hospital session.

Speaking of high, how high must have Shane and the rest of them been not to simply chalk down three points on a post-it note and stick it on someone’s door, signing “love Shane” or “Mickey, I think you’re really nice and very handsome,” or some pleasant touch like that? Instead, we have him spitting drivel about “accepting his punishment.” Nasty, nasty stuff.

Why does he have to shirk a simple task then shirk his responsibility to his comrades in arms by jetting when things don’t go his way?

Let’s not forget, Dane, players are dispensable. A disciplined coach and a headstrong captain is what we need to nurse our baby boys through to cricket adulthood. “Talent” is a misnomer. Attitude will take you further than talent ever could. Ask Warney. Or Brian Lara.

As for Pat Howard… We all know that he is single-handedly reshaping the Australian and international sporting landscape. His media performances are simply sublime. Telling journos he’ll take them through the details, then instantly retracting that? Genius! Suck on that, journos. No story here!

I know for a fact that Cricket Australia’s rotation policy, combined with this new homework policy, is the best thing we’ve got to show for ourselves at the moment. I hear the Icelandic curling team have already begun to institute a homework regime and learning syllabus, and the Finnish wife-carrying squad have been dabbling in rotating their carriers and their wives. It’s caused some relationship damage, sure, but wives and kids, like players, come and go.

And Dane, let’s not overreact and call comrade Mickey Arthur a fascist. He’s a man of the people, just like Michael Clarke. I have no doubt whatsoever that they know what’s best for themselves, everyone in the team, and probably you and I for that matter. This point was made very clear by James Pattinson in an interview he recorded where he completely endorsed Cricket Australia’s action. I forget the name of the media company and journalist who interviewed him unfortunately, otherwise I’d point you in the right direction…

You know what, Paddy? You’re bloody spot-on. That was a wonderfully authentic outpouring of purely personal thoughts from James Pattinson after he was jettisoned. In fact, it was eerily similar to some of the totally natural statements that used to be made in the 1980s ventriloquist craze by the smart-arse comedian Chuck Wood, a doll made of rare oak who like James was also honest, unhindered in opinion and 100% controlled by his master, lest he be made to sleep near a circular saw. Whether or not James also had a hand up his back at the time of the press conference is another matter altogether and totally unrelated to cricket, and I’ll leave that to those with surplus time and dirty minds to look in to further if they wish.

Either way, I’m sure the piercing sound of my warning whistle is now obvious. It’s definitely time to panic people, as our national team is now firmly in the grips of a regime that has begun with homework and will end with all of our players pissing off to England like half of South Africa has. Pattinson was forced to forego his true feelings about spewing deluxe in exchange for unabashed praise for his puppet-master’s supposedly superior thinking, lest he be made to sleep near a circular saw and/or the lively vege-lined bowels of Peter Siddle. Or if the truth is important, just made to miss a Test match.

That, my friends, is a garden variety reign of terror!

As for Watson’s captaincy prospects… OK, much like most weekdays and whenever I’m on the keyboard, I may have been mixing antibiotics with Kahlua this morning. But just for a fleeting moment, think of my crazy claim in this fashion. 

Wouldn’t you like a bloke in charge who doesn’t have a pool room wall adorned with ‘kills’ wearing Baggy Greens? Clarke may have 1200% more Test centuries than his 2IC, but he also has the dead careers of Simon Katich, Andrew Symonds and Mike Hussey hanging up like stuffed bison next to his cue rack, which is not only an outdated interior decoration, but also bloody frightening for kids and drunks alike.

For some reason, Clarke just shits people. And nowadays, he has the power to make those who are shitted by him totally disappear. Abracadabra and voila! There goes that hindrance back to Shield cricket. 

So if we are going to be run by an evil essay-obsessed South African who is masterminding for total domination of our game, then we might as well appoint a captain who can be endured by those around him for longer than seven consecutive minutes at a time. It’s a nice juxtaposition, and really, no business can survive with too many a-holes at the apex.

Does it make sense? Good. Now if you don’t mind me, I’m off to buy some pens. I’ve got a net session this afternoon.

Dane, you and your Howard-bashing have really upset me. In fact this debate has ruined my whole bath. I’m going to go towel myself like they do in the shampoo ads. Ciao!

Fleeing the scene like a common Watson. Have you knocked someone up?


For more insightful insights, log your log on to @warmingthepine and/or @playup_roosters. NOW.

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Dane Eldridge Tries Hard

Contemporary rugby league surrealism and hot takes on Shane Warne

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