Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Worst Pieces of Cricket Memorabilia Ever

Firstly a disclaimer, good readers: I own an alarming amount of cricket books, memorabilia and tat associated with the game and thus it is a bit rich for me to be passing judgement on the people who buy the items that follow.

I have been known to return home brandishing an item that will make my girlfriend slap her palm across her face (I'm not kidding, she LITERALLY does that and somehow manages to work a simultaneous eye-roll into the one single expression of disgust. It's actually quite remarkable).

I talk of items like...say....this:

Who needs a travel bag from the 1973 tour of the West Indies to put their gym gear in? Who doesn't? I also cannot sit before you and say I haven't drunkenly bought things on eBay late on a Friday night, or gotten a bit sauced at a sportsman's night auction and bid (I think there is a theme here...) for similarly pathetic acquisitions. 

Actually, I don't even have to be drunk. At one point my Dad took up wood-turning classes and for one of his first projects made my brothers and I (grown adults, one and all) a replica of the Ashes urn. It was immediately decreed we needed something worthwhile to burn and place inside it before that Christmas's "Backyard Ashes". I zeroed in on a suitably random item; Ben Barnett's wicket-keeping 'inners' used while he was back-up keeper on the 1938 Ashes tour. Post-purchase, my only job was to courier one of them down the Peninsula for the burning ceremony on Christmas day. But I forgot to, didn't I? So after a hastily convened committee meeting we resolved to burn our underpants instead and the ghosts of Ben Barnett still rest in a box in my wardrobe. In related news, yes, I am fortunate to even have a girlfriend.

But getting back to the point, Cricket memorabilia takes on many forms and there genuinely is some quite cool stuff out there, but there'll be none of that today. Today, we look at the random, the horrible, and the worst of all: the stuff that Channel Nine spend entire summers trying to sell us. So sit back and...grimace?

Brett Lee - "Leethal"

If there is anything I like less than a bad pun, it's a Brett Lee wicket-celebration. What does it say about you when two out of the six photos chosen to represent your career are fist-pumps?

I once took my much-younger brother to a game at the MCG at which he decided to collect all the Australian players' autographs on one of those mini bats. With limited space, the first four or five of them diligently fulfilled his request to do a small signature across the face so he could fit the whole team on. Jumping up out of his seat to collar Brett Lee, a look of horror spread across his face as Bing magnanimously snatched the bat, gave him a friendly "g'day champ", and then proceeded to sign the entire remaining surface space of the bat with a giant, illegible scrawl. The crestfallen look on my brother's face as he slumped into his seat has outlived any detail in my memory about the actual game. 

"The Champions"

"The Champions" is a bat signed by some of the "all-time greats of world cricket." So who have we got on there? Some knighted cricketers - Richards, Hadlee, Botham, Sobers, Bedser; legends one and all. Chappell, Walters and Marsh? Yes, big tick! And then finally.... Asanka Gurusinha??? Sure he only had a Test average of 38.92, but it was the way he made them, you see.

Tony Greig's Panama Hat

While there is a degree of poetry that a man who so relentlessly hawked dodgy memorabilia should become the subject of a piece himself, I could feasibly write an entire blog post on how wrong this thing is. I think the eBay listing for it provides damning enough evidence: "Hat was worn by Tony Greig. It even has the sweat marks. Buyer will not be disappointed." At a $500 starting bid, I think there is actually a lot of scope for disappointment if we're being honest. Did Greigy wear this while he was gardening? It seems very...soiled, don't you think? 

I just thought of approximately 6 theories as to how this hat got to be in such a state and I fear it is too soon to share any of them. Okay okay, I just don't wanna get sued.

"Chappell Brothers - The Backyard at Mum's"

The only explanation for this piece is that it was commissioned by Mrs Chappell herself and she specifically decreed that all the boys be included so as to avoid having Trevor feel left out. Danny and Dean Waugh are nodding their heads right now...

I can imagine that if Chappelli himself was to take over the memorabilia racket left behind by Tony Greig, it would be a matter of days before we were being bombarded with limited edition Les Favell prints.

The Glenn Maxwell Badge

Stay with me Australian cricket lovers, I'm tipping the pin on the back of this thing is perfect for poking your own eyes out. There is also a matching "Big No-Show" magnet available, which would be ideal to slap on the side of a nuclear weapon before you position it towards the Mumbai Indians' first IPL game.

Phil Hughes Signed Cricket Ball

Things you can buy with 85 dollars: 17 "Stunner Meals" from Hungry Jacks, every movie that John Cazale starred in on DVD, a meat pie and a coke at the MCG, or this Phil Hughes signed cricket ball. It's actually quite a rare item in that each one takes him hours to sign; the pen just keeps flashing past manically and not making contact. This also comes with a bonus Neil D'Costa coaching DVD. Just use it as a drinks coaster like Philthy does.

Shane Watson signed photo

Show the cricket-lover in your life how much you hate their hobby with this Shane Watson signed photo, guaranteed to make everyone in the room wince! I often joke that Watto probably can't spell his own name and the two prominent S's here seem to vindicate my theory. You heard it here first, people. I also like that he's signed it over the most well-utilized tool in the Watson armory; his mouth. 

"Justin Langer & Matthew Hayden - Double Impact"

I'd like to think that the person naming this particular piece of Channel Nine 'scamorabilia' was a would-be comedian. They probably could have pushed the boat out a little further but "Double Penetration" would only have worked for a bowling partnership, I guess. If you see this hanging in someone's games room, you have my permission to go to town with a Sharpie. Get creative, too.

Shane Warne Signed Photo

Remember 'fat Warnie'? I loved fat Warnie, he was so much more fun. And he was an ace cricketer, too. Anyway, I am borderline on buying this as a constant reminder of the good times. Its definitely not the dodgiest piece of Warnibilia out there though...

Warnie at play

This falls into one of my favorite sub-genres of sports memorabilia; the unsanctioned piece that no athlete in their right mind would consent to. You simply take a blank piece of paper, have it signed by said athlete, then attach it to a photo or montage of their most inglorious moments. Magic. Come to think of it, Warnie would probably sign that photo, if only as a reminder of the time he used to blow smoke rings whilst drinking a full-carb beer. Come back Warnie, it's never too late.

Meanwhile, down at the Scamorabilia factory...

"Dave Warner - The Powerhouse"

Are you sick of hearing the words "only $500 unframed" in between balls in Channel Nine telecasts? Well apparently you're not alone, because two years on, they still can't sell any of these Dave Warner 'Powerhouse' prints. And there was only 250 of the things to start with. Maybe Cricket Australia could throw one into Mickey Arthur's redundancy package? Feel free to leave your suggested uses for this monstrosity in the comments section.

"The Aussies and the Colonel"

Several questions immediately popped into my head when I saw this; Was Dirk Nannes engaging in a passive display of protest by putting his hands in his pockets? Is Colonel Sanders a better middle-order batting option than Moises Henriques? Would any amount of KFC refresher towels wash the filthy stain off everyone involved in this exercise?. But then I remembered this:

Right you are then, gents.

Jason Krejza signed cricket ball

So this thing will cost you 65, exactly the same as each Jason Krejza wicket. You'd have to be a serious lover of off-spin to invest in this thing. There is no similar memento to be had for Beau Casson fans unfortunately; at the sight of a cricket ball he instinctively curls into the fetal position.

Dirk Wellham Autograph

I feel a bit sorry for Dirk that this languishes on eBay with no bids despite its starting price of 99 cents. I might buy it and affix it to the title page of my copy of Dirk's book, 'Solid Knocks and Second Thoughts' a great read for lovers of the "axe-grind" genre of autobiography. 

Brad Hodge Signed Publicity Photo

This isn't actually a piece of memorabilia that is for sale, Brad Hodge just walks around handing them out himself.

Chris Lewis Stimorol Trading Card

There is only one reason that this remains un-signed and that is because, technically speaking, anything that Chris Lewis touches becomes evidence. 

Peter George Signed Photograph

While we are on the subject of police matters, can someone get this thing down to "Missing Persons" pronto? Literally no-one has seen or heard from this bloke since he played a Test in Bangalore three years ago. History tells us that if you go missing in Adelaide it rarely ends well.

Allan Border - Beyond Ten Thousand

I am currently a serious risk of buying this. Somebody stop me. I'm not even kidding. This could be a relationship-ender... This book was the greatest 'limited edition" scam of all time; 10,000 in total. Get in quick before they're all gone!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Indian Tours can break you - just ask Michael Slater

Just because I’m fed up with this Indian tour and the horrible prospect of Shane Watson becoming an Australian Test captain, I thought I’d distract myself by recounting the glory days of Australian tours of India. By ‘glory days’, obviously I mean Michael Slater’s physical and mental melt-downs on the sub-continent.

Slats averaged a tick over 28 on his three Test tours of India, only passing the half-century mark on one occasion, but his blunders and outbursts will live long in the memory of this cable-TV veteran. In many ways, Slats’ history in India is a microcosm of Australia’s struggles there; the brash, confident Aussie who wants to slash and smash his way out of trouble but has his technique dismantled, his colours lowered, before finally being driven over the edge and having to be restrained from attacking an umpire. Many preceded him and many more will follow.

Slats tour India for the first time – 1996

Ah, the innocence of youth. Slats is seen here kicking off his first Indian tour by being cursed by a local witch doctor in Jaipur. As she applied his Bindi she not only condemned him to a lifetime of runless tours, but accurately predicted he would one day team a navy sports jacket with floral board-shorts in a KFC ad.

Slats strikes me as the kind of ham that would probably strike a novelty pose “pushing over” the leaning tower of Pisa in his holiday photos. Here he just engages in some light-hearted japes with his mate Gandhi. The real reason I put this photo up? If you find a Peter McIntyre photobomb, it is your moral obligation to share it with the rest of the world.

Giving Paul Reiffel a painful warning of what he could later expect touring with Brett Lee, Slats livens up a train ride to Patiala by serenading the rest of the carriage. There is at least a 95% percent chance that he’s playing Bon Jovi’s ‘Dead or Alive’ in this pic. The way Pistol’s eyes remain glued to the newspaper give some indication as to how well the Slater oeuvre was received. Slater’s batting performances went over just as well, resulting in a tour average of 22.

1998 – the best of times, the worst of times

Slats made his highest score in India on this tour and in fitting Slats style, managed to get himself out in the 90’s. This was a horrific tour for the Aussies; heat, humidity, illness, and the indignity of having to play alongside Gavin Robertson.

Not many photos remain of this tour, unless you go to Gavin Robertson’s house, in which case I’m guessing an epic montage awaits you. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube though, we can all enjoy watching Slats get out in the 90’s one more time.

 2001: a Space-Cadet Odyssey

The 2001 tour was legendary for many reasons that we’ve heard about over and over. Hayden, Dravid, VVS Laxman (the only thing more demoralizing for an Australian than VVS’s 281 was having to listen to him talk about it for an hour at a time during his commentary stints on the current tour); but an oft-neglected fact is that it was also the tour on which Slats’ career started to spiral out of control. 

I think it was around this time that he had his Test number of 356 tattooed on his arse and applied to the number plates of his Ferrari. Only it wasn't his Test number, was it? It was a painful and lasting tribute to his teammate Brendan Julian, who was one ahead of Slats in the roll call. It's probably only the 12th dumbest thing that Slats did during his career. How, with such an extensive back-catalogue of brilliant stories, has he become such an abominable commentator?

Engaging in the great Australian art of claiming a catch that bounced a metre in front of you, Slats underestimated several things; the ability of Rahul Dravid to brush aside sledging like a Nathan Hauritz nude-nut, the intestinal fortitude of umpire Venkat, and the damage that a thousand slow-mo replays can do to your credibility. Not to be perturbed, Slats still carried on like a spoilt child and now has to live with the fact that this YouTube clip is called “Michael Slater Cheating” and not “Was it a catch?” No it wasn’t Slats, but thanks for memories all the same.

Like this year’s Aussies, the 2001 team moved from India to England, where Michael Slater’s Test career finished. Now there’s a precedent that some of our current batsman should ponder.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Why Chris Rogers needs to play in the Ashes

As each day of this Indian tour passes I begin thinking more and more of the upcoming Ashes series and what it holds for Australia. I have also been engaging pretty heavily in the dubious science of selection prognostications. As a result, I’ve been thinking a hell of a lot about Chris Rogers.

Chris Rogers is an old-fashioned Australian cricketer, which is to say he scores loads and loads of runs with a minimum of fuss and generally does his job properly. He doesn’t have a Twitter account and he’ll never become the subject of a bidding frenzy at an IPL auction. In fact it was almost disconcerting to see him in a Big Bash uniform this year, like watching Nanna stomp through your living room in a Pantera t-shirt and spit on the floor. Chris Rogers has red hair, he has glasses and you probably wouldn’t pay him much attention if he walked past you in the street. But put him in whites, give him a bat and he is a rarity in Australian cricket; a specialist batsman whose first class average hovers near the 50 mark.

There’s no guarantee that Rogers would have set the world on fire in India, though I wouldn’t have bet against it. But what does stand out like a sore thumb is Rogers’ record in England. Over the span of nine consecutive winters away, whilst others were lining their pockets with Twenty20 riches and lolling about at the Centre for Excellence, Rogers was lining the stats books with hundreds; 28 of them in England and an unbelievable 58 of the first class variety in total. He’s passed the half-century mark an additional 42 times in England and 81 in total. To give some perspective on these stats, these are the comparative records of some of Rogers’ rivals for a Test spot:

-          David Warner: 6 hundreds / 9 fifties
-          Moises Henriques: 1 hundred / 13 fifties
-          Usman Khawaja: 6 hundreds / 9 fifties
-          Steven Smith: 11 hundreds / 20 fifties
-          Glenn Maxwell: 1 hundred / 8 fifties
-          Alex Doolan: 5 hundreds / 14 fifties
-          Rob Quiney: 7 hundreds / 16 fifties

If your arithmetic is failing you, that septet has managed 37 hundreds and 89 fifties in their combined careers in comparison with Rogers’ 58 and 83. Sometimes statistics tell us fibs and pad out our arguments, but runs don’t lie. Especially in England where Rogers passes the half-century mark in 37% of his innings. In fact his record in England is a shade better than it is in his home country.

FC Games
FC Runs
FC Average
In England
In Australia

Rogers’ appetite for runs and his ambition to play Test cricket remain undimmed by the years spent languishing on the periphery. Aside from Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin, he is the only other player to reach three centuries in the Sheffield Shield this season. It’s the sixth Australian season in which he has achieved the feat; to go with the 8 English seasons he passed the same mark (we’ll let him off for his 2005 English summer in which he only made two tons… in six innings). By comparison, of the serious contenders only Queensland’s Joe Burns has 2 tons but then he also has an average of 34 to go with them.

Still not convinced? Let’s look at Rogers’ record at some of the grounds that will host Ashes tests in England this winter. At Lord’s, Rogers averages 48.04 from 15 games with 3 centuries and 4 fifties. At the Oval he fares even better; in 6 first class innings there he has only failed to get past 50 on one occasion, racking up 2 centuries, 3 fifties and a Bradmanesque average of 109.8 – is there any safer bet on English decks with the ball swinging around? Does this experience churning out runs in England really count for nothing? Rogers has scored a double century for every first class team in which he’s played. He also holds the dubious distinction of being the only Australian to score a double hundred on the 2005 Ashes tour, it was just a pity he was wasting his time playing for Leicestershire at the time.

“Ah, but he piled on all those runs in England when he was a young buck,” you’re saying. Well sorry, but you’re wrong. In the past three English county seasons, Rogers sits atop the run-making charts with 3696 runs at an average of 48.00, scoring 11 centuries and 17 half-centuries. If the NSP opt for Rogers for the return Ashes series in Australia, they can do so knowing that he averages over 40 at every Test venue other than Adelaide. At the SCG you can pencil him in for close to 65.

Chris Rogers is 35 years old and there is no doubt that age is not on his side. But shouldn’t youthfulness and the corresponding lack of experience and fortitude equally count against players like Maxwell and Henriques? There's no doubt that Inverarity and the NSP will face severe scrutiny if they opt for Rogers but I’m not entirely sure of the merit of picking a “team for the future” if that future is an assortment of mediocre triers. The selection of Rogers could send the greatest cultural message of all: ‘we want excellence and we hardened batsmen who consistently make runs.’

Here’s a scary thought: on the last Ashes tour in 2009, Australia had six out of its top seven batsmen average over 40 and still lost the series. To get anywhere close to England in 2013, Australia need someone other than Michael Clarke to average over 50. And that also encumbers Clarke with the expectation of nothing less than that mark. To achieve such an average a player will need to pass either a pair of centuries or 3-4 significant scores over 50. Is there any player outside the current setup, Rogers aside, that you would put your money on to achieve this? Feel free to let me know.

Mickey Arthur has spoken glowingly in the past of the “X Factor” that Glenn Maxwell could be for Australian cricket. That ‘X’ is a great unknown though. Would Australia not be better placed with the degree of certainty that Rogers would bring to the line-up? At the very least his selection would prompt a higher degree of respect from the opposition. At present, England are relishing this series with the kind of blood-lust normally reserved for World Cup football qualifiers against banana republics.

Test matches are harder to win when your batsman are failing to make centuries and I am unconvinced they can be scored by anyone from outside the current line-up other than Rogers. Experience carries weight on an Ashes tour. In the last 3 tours, only three Australian specialist batsmen under the age of 30 have averaged fifty or above. Those players were Clarke, Damien Martyn and Marcus North. Martyn and North were both on the cusp of 30 at the start of their respective tours and seasoned veterans of English conditions. North’s fruitful return in 2009 is perhaps the best advertisement of all for Rogers’ selection.

But who knows? Maybe we’ll end up with an Ashes squad containing the same muddled assortment of all-rounder-shaped youngsters and batsmen under siege. If we do, we can’t expect much steel, we can't expect much polish and we can’t expect a return of the urn. That’s the thing about the ‘X factor’.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

How Australian Cricketers used to find out about the arrival of their kids

The arrival of young Will Watson has got me thinking not only of the father-son potential we now have in play, but the gradually shifting sands of Australian cricket.

Specifically, it made me think of the ways in which Australian cricketers used to experience the birth of their children...

Some friendly advice for the Aussies in India

Over the past couple of days the Australian Test squad in India have become the butt of a thousand jokes. Mostly lame jokes, but jokes nonetheless. Meanwhile, those who haven't been joking have been wagging their fingers disapprovingly and tut-tutting at the supposedly shambolic state of Australian cricket.

Irrespective of your view on the gravity of the transgressions by players or the severity of the punishments meted out by their coach and captain, you have to admit that touring India is tough.  In the 78 years since the first representative Australians traveled to India at the behest of the Maharajah of Patiala, we have come away with two series victories. So let's just take a breath and come down off the ledge, shall we?

The Maharajah of Patiala - the kind of swag that N Srinivasan could only dream of.

In the interests of maintaining my own sanity, I'm writing off this and every future tour of India as a loss and instead turning my attention to the remaining positives. In this light, I'd ask that the Australians view the rest of this trip as nothing other than a bonding exercise and extremely lucrative holiday. Here are my suggestions for Clarke and co which I base on the touring activities of their predecessors:

1. Try and make friends with the opposition

Nathan Lyon has copped a decent helping of stick from both the press and the peanut gallery on this tour and is supposedly at the pointy end of faction within the team. With that in mind, perhaps he'll find more friends in the opposition sheds? I'd love to see him sidle up to Harbhajan and ask if he can adopt his look, a la Ray Bright and Bishen Bedi

In the event of an unlikely Aussie win in Mohali,surely even freshly minted "Captain Grumpy" Michael Clarke would crack a smile once he saw Lyon-Nathan up on the massage bench belting out "Beneath the Southern Cross I stand, a bowl of korma in my hand." He'd at least enjoy it more than a Simon Katich rendition.

2. Have a drink and relax

I'm not generally one to recommend novelty sized drinks, but Warnie could be onto something with his suggestions that Clarke eliminate any tensions by locking all the boys in a room with an industrial quantity of grog. I mightn't have viewed this as a viable solution during the Andrew Symonds era, but at least we could be sure they were abusing a totally legal substance.

3. Be thankful you are touring India in 2013

In the 1960's, when an Indian crowd didn't like the direction of the match, they voted with both their feet and with lighter fluid. Crowds are far better behaved these days. I'd actually be in favour of this kind of people power if it was in reaction to Watto metaphorically burning another DRS referral, so the BCCI were possibly displaying some real foresight in nixing the technology.

Let's also not forget that touring teams now enjoy the benefit of neutral umpires. This is a bonus for two reasons; it eliminates hometown bias plus also avoids the situation faced by the Aussies in the 80's where umpires like Swaroop Kishan forced bowlers into makeshift delivery strides from which they had to release the ball from mid off. I guess there'd be a fair few guys asking to field next to him at square leg though; shade is hard to find in the middle of an Indian summer.

3. Embrace the local culture

Maybe this could be a way to put James Pattinson to work during his team-imposed suspension. I'm sure that the puritanical knee-jerkers in the op-ed columns would love to see Mickey Arthur initiate a cricketing "work for the Dole" scheme for Pattinson, Khawaja and Johnson. 

Remember, Greg Ritchie wasn't the first Australian cricketer to "black up" and don a mildly offensive costume. The 1964 Aussies came up with this look on their way to Bombay. The 2013 Australians might need to be a bit more low-key in their attempts to mix with the locals.

4. The team that bathes together, stays together

We need to be honest with ourselves, cricketers in 2013 are coddled millionaires. Is it any surprise that touring Aussies are not meshing given that they're often insulated from the simple pleasures of team spirit by multimillion dollar contracts and luxury hotel rooms? Instead of blocking each other out with iPods and living in isolation, perhaps Clarke could hark back to the spirit of the 1972 Ashes squad who were so unified they even had baths together. Who wants a moustache ride?

5. If all else fails, do a rain dance

We've all been there; staring in the face of humiliating defeat and all secretly avoiding any discussion of the fact that we're praying like buggery for rain to come bucketing down. I actually played for a club who greeted rain delays with a game of "jockstrap football" out on the ground. Never underestimate the ability of men with a huge amount of time on their hands to achieve greatness. Graham Pollock and his 1965 South African teammates make it look like a right lark, don't you think?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A Pictorial Case Against Shane Watson

If a picture tells a thousand words, then I present to you 28,000 words that may remove any sympathy for Shane Watson and the state of his Test career. The highest profile member of the 'Gang of Four', (this moniker tickled my fancy; surely a loose tie with the angular English post-punks is the only time Watto will ever be associated with musical excellence?) in the last 24 hours Watto has merely continued a career-longer pattern of 'me-first' behaviour.

There will be countless column inches devoted to the problems with Watto and his cohorts over the next few days. I cannot blame journalists for this; he's a fascinating case study. For all the wrong reasons. Yet I feel the visual case against Watto is just as strong as all of that prose. 

No player winces in mortal pain at the injustice of a turned down appeal like Watto. No recent Australian player, save for Brett Lee, engages in such gratuitous displays of self-aggrandizement upon taking a wicket; pumping firsts and facial contortions often at odds with the importance of the dismissal or his own claims to credit for it. It raises Watson's profile and probably his "marketability" in the eyes of people with cheque books, but it engenders him far less kudos among cricket lovers. Well, this cricket lover at least.

Shane Watson is said to take criticism quite personally and reads nearly everything that is written about him. I hope he doesn't jump on Twitter for a dose of "#watson" any time soon, because he may never recover from the experience.

But I digress. I now present to you, the pictorial case against Shane Watson:

Watson in celebration

No matter what the situation of the match, Watto will celebrate a wicket with gusto. Gauche, infuriating and it usually makes him look like an utter knob. Here he is in full flight with the double fist-pump taught to him by his tutor and friend, Brett Lee. I'll take a stab and say he's just dismissed a tail-ender, possibly caught on the boundary.

Really putting his back into this one and losing himself in the moment. An overpaid Premier League footballer couldn't come up with anything as simultaneously over-the-top and meaningless as Watto. Having said that, it probably genuinely does mean a lot to Watto that Watto is taking wickets. Watto is all about Watto.

This photo was actually taken during a net session. Watto had just dismissed one of the bowlers. Not a 100% confirmed dismissal mind you, though he DEFINITELY had a deep extra cover, okay? Don't hit it in the air when facing Watto in the nets; he has fieldsmen everywhere.

Sometimes Watto will take a 5-for or make a (ODI, let's be real) ton and you start convincing yourself that you can live with Shane Watson, Australian cricketer. Then you watch the highlights and see this wicket celebration and the red mist of hate descends upon you. Again.

The only interest that remains in Watto-world for me is his potential to do a serious injury whilst celebrating a personal milestone. Let's be honest, his body has crumbled under the strain of far less onerous tasks in the past.

Master and apprentice.

This isn't just a personal vendetta on my behalf, is it? It's highly likely that Watto practices his fist-pumps in front of the mirror.

Watto issued a self-imposed fine for this half-hearted single fist effort. Really lowered his colours that day.

Unfortunately Watto hasn't had many chances to perfect his celebration of this particular milestone so we may never really know what his ceiling was for public displays of self-satisfaction. This one's looking like being a collectors item.

When Chris Gayle is calling you out on being a Show Pony, it might be time to tone it down a little bit.

Watson pleading his case

It's possible that Watto has mild OCD, as his signature appeal is a small scale version of his wicket celebration, a double digit point that in it's usual camp flair, at least gives you some advance warning you're in with a chance for some fist-pumping.

"Ok great Shane. Now let's go through it one more time, but try to be even less likeable for the next shot, okay?"

"Look Mum, I appreciate your line of thinking with this gift, but this is not going to fly on the school bus. I don't want to have my head flushed down the toilet again."

Watto the Ruthless Team-Switcher

There's an interesting moment for me at the start of every Australian summer when Watto wants to run himself into some form in state cricket. The only problem is trying to guess which state he is actually playing for. He's playing for Queensland in this shot, though he looks pretty confused himself, to be honest. I think he's checking the scoreboard to make sure.

Watto signs on for the Brisbane Heat. After one year with the Sydney Sixers, Watto was getting stale and looked for a change of scenery. He still hasn't memorized the names of half his teammates yet.

Happier time at the Sixers. There was an awkward moment after this shoot where Watto was informed that the young lad next to him wasn't actually one of the male cheerleaders. He felt even more guilty once someone told him they'd actually played a Test match together.

Rajasthan Royals. I think we're going to see a lot more of this version of Watto from now on. They'll probably let him bat wherever he wants, too.

New South Wales. Watto's nervous laugh here is a failed attempt to mask his insecurity that he might have gone to the wrong changeroom  He's mulling over whether he should ask someone for confirmation. By the way, it's almost impossible to find a photo of Watto playing for his first state team, Tasmania. I think they burnt the lot.

Watto the Poser

Watto will seek out any opportunity to take his top off. It was possibly going a little bit far to oil himself up like a WCW wrestler though. He'd definitely be one of those guys that whips the shirt off when he's out on a run.

At some point we have to consider the fact that he wants us to dislike him. Mission accomplished, Watto.

Australian cricketers of the 80's are fond of telling tales of waking in the night during tours to find Swampy Marsh shadow-batting in front of the hotel mirror, completely starkers. Watto is also fond of this practice but always makes sure he's wearing his metallic pads and has a tub of hair gel at hand. 

I guess we can be thankful he didn't go with an exaggerated "leave" pose for this one. If there were hidden camera's in Watto's hotel rooms, I'm sure 90% of the footage would be along these lines.

This is actually just a happy-snap from Watto's last holiday. Can someone set up a webcam of Ian Chappell's reactions to photos like this? It could be a subscription service. I'd pay $30 a month. Minimum.

Paper Cut Watson

The news of Watto heading home from the Indian tour was surprising only because it wasn't as the result of another injury. Watto has proven as reliable as a Leyland P76 over the course of his Australian career. In a way, you can't entirely fault Watto for this as he clearly does a lot of work in the gym.

Sorry, I lost myself for a minute there, let's get back to paying out on him.

"Oi Watto, you're grabbing the wrong shoulder, mate."

Shane Watson the Brand

When Watto is not destroying the dressing room mood by publicly white-anting teammates, he's blasting dents in their lockers in Brut ads. These were a little harder to stomach in an Australian summer in which he barely played a game.

Brut endurance: great for removing the odour of mediocrity and the stench of arrogance. As an aside, the words "Shane Watson" and "long lasting" should never be used in the same sentence, marketing people. 

I'm not even sure what he's promoting here. The shirt? The hair product? Waxing strips? A timeshare apartment on the Gold Coast? All I know is I'm not buying it.