The false hope of King Arthur, the Border wars and the collapse of the Lehmann Brothers – a plea against insider training

You I know I have developed a bit of a theory. I keep seeing former players going on about how Simmo and Border identified a group of players, and backed them in. Eg G Marsh. Boon. S Waugh.

I think they don’t understand history. I think they think that’s the right way to build a team all the time. As if form, class and being able to accommodate different personalities are irrelevant.

What they miss is the crucial context. By 1987, when at nadir, Australia had had 11 years of turmoil:

– the premature loss of Chappelli, Mallett and R Edwards
– WSC

– the bizarre decision to recall Simmo
– re- integration of WSC players
– G Chappell and the “yes; no” approach to captaincy
– emergence of limited overs formats, with greater emphasis on fielding
– unstaged retirement of Chappell, Marsh and Lillee
– dominance of program by Windies
– the Hughes v Hookes tensions
– the defections to Sth Africa, and then their impending return

Of course Simmo and Border were both craggy cranky self-identifiers. They gained comfort in each other.

In contrast, Australia suffers no such moment of crisis. It has an abundance of talent. There a million pathways. Modern cats are a very broad spectrum. For every Smith there are probably 10 Maxwells. Players move around between leagues and formats and teams. They balance a million expectations.

I think the Smith-Lehmann insiderism is a false reading of history. An Arthurist deviation.

Even AFL teams have moved beyond Swansification. They have integrated it, into other threads, like Balmism and Clarksonism. In people like Buckley, we have coaches able to see the positive in each and every young player.

So either these guys in Australian cricket are duds at hist0ry. Or have just found a convenient way of getting their mates into a team, against a hapless opponent.

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About peterwarrington65

geography, street art, cricket, Richmond Tigers, PJ Harvey, View all posts by peterwarrington65

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