Tour of the UAE v Pakistan
Still waiting for a new member
Marsh and O'Keefe let poor Flem down
Another Test match finished, and another personal disappointment for the AWHOTDC.
The Dubai Test loss in spin-friendly conditions against Pakistan hurts but the pain was nothing in comparison with the fact that two more Test debutants – namely Mitchell Marsh (438) and Steve O’Keefe (439) – declined my offer to be the second cricketer into the ‘Australians with Hat-tricks on Test debut Club’.
First things first, Marshy, it’s hard to get a hat-trick when you don’t get a single wicket, and Steve, well done on your four wickets but you couldn’t get three of them in a row!
Budding Australian Cricketers stop me in the street virtually every day and ask you how to become a signatory to the AWHOTDC.
I reply simply, but firmly: “GET THREE WICKETS IN CONSECUTIVE BALLS ON YOUR TEST DEBUT”.
Surely it’s not that difficult?
I realise I created history on that fine October day 20 years ago, but it has come to weigh heavily on me. Some days it feels more of a burden than an honour.
I tell prospective members of the AWHOTDC that their experience may vary, but for me, when it happened, I recall feeling as if I had been touched by an Angel.
Not just touched, but lifted clean off my feet – by my fast-bowling teammate of the time, big Jo Angel.
One of the many benefits that comes with membership is the doors it opens with similarly exclusive clubs across Australia and around the world.
For example, the ‘Women Prime Ministers of Australia Collective’, which recently relocated its headquarters to a new rocker-recliner in Adelaide.
The hours seem to fly by as the ‘Australian Nightwatchmen to Score a Test Double Century Club’ gather around a raging fire that wards off the mid-summer chill in Yorkshire, and that ‘Dizzy’ innings is recounted ball-by-ball, over and over again.
As you would expect, inclusion in the AWHOTDC is but a first step to a life of future riches and privilege.
You’d no doubt be aware that the first man ever to capture a Test hat-trick on debut – England’s Maurice Allom against New Zealand in 1929 – went on to become President of Marylebone Cricket Club from 1969-70.
Of course, while Maurice’s achievement was quite the talk of Christchurch back in that January 85 years ago, we must remember that was the Kiwis’ first-ever Test match so in fairness they were not really prepared for what was coming at them.
Rather like England’s top, middle and lower-order against Mitchell Johnson last summer.
Peter Petherick, the New Zealand spinner whose hat-trick on debut in 1976 was far more heroic because he managed to do it against Pakistan in Pakistan which is widely considered the most difficult assignment for a Test bowler, carved out a similarly distinguished life post-cricket.
He turned his talents to under-arm bowling and skippered a men’s pairs team to the final of the NZ national titles in 2006, doubtless inspired by the work of a couple of Australians, namely Trevor Chappell and my far more effective effort in the World Cup semi-final of 1999.
And when I became eligible to establish the Australian branch of this select group in 1994– coincidentally having also achieved my slice of history in Pakistan – my career both on and off the field went into overdrive.
So much so that I was able to move to South Australia and play a season with the mighty West End Redbacks, which allowed me to revisit – time and again – the very spot at Adelaide Oval where in 1999 Shane Warne dropped that dolly of a slips catch that would have elevated me to a gold-class status as the sole global member of the ‘Cricketers With a Hat-Trick on Test Debut and Two Hat-Tricks in Their Test Career Club’.
Not that I’m scarred.
Well, I wasn’t until I saw Warnie’s latest Twitter selfie!
So having been let down once again, I resume my waiting game.
Test cap No.440 (whoever you are), don’t let me down.
Sure, winning the annual AWHOTDC golf day again yesterday took some of the pain away, but it would be exhilarating to actually tee off beside a fellow inductee at next year’s event.
Guess I'll have to update that invite once again.