Oh Mickey, what a pity you don't understand......
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Thank you, Miss Smithers, please show young Mickey Arthur in.
Right, now, young Arthur, I presume you know why you have been called to the principal’s office? It’s about the 1st X1. Yes, yes, yes, I know, I know, the lads you have dropped didn’t do the assignment you set for them, and that is extremely naughty of them. Naughty, naughty, naughty. And you are quite right to be upset at them. But here is the thing you don’t understand, clearly because you have only just joined us here at the School of Hard Knocks about five minutes ago, and obviously don’t get our culture.
Big call: Mickey Arthur, left, pictured talking to high performance chief Pat Howard in June 2012. Photo: Getty Images
Son, what we’re doing here, is making Hard Men; men capable of staring down 160 km/h bouncers and sneering at the bowler. Men who can grind out a century on a dust-bowl pitch in India when it is 45 degrees and humid enough to kill a brown dog; men who can snap off their own bouncers at will, and also put in thirty overs on a day, and not blink. Hard Men!
Look at the Honour Roll you see around you here at the SHK. Who do you see, that we most revere? That’s right, Hard Men. Tibby Cotter, Bill Woodfull, Keith Miller, Rick McCosker, Ian Chappell, Dennis Lillee, Allan Border, Steve Waugh ... the list goes on. Hard men, all, fired in the furnace of Test matches. It is not just a way of winning matches, but a crucial part of the mythology of the game we love, the thing that separates Test cricket from so many other sports. And so, I think you can see what I am getting at.
When you sack these four players for not doing their homework, it is not simply a ludicrous over-reaction to what should have been solved over a drink and a chat, you have pressed the alarm button of everyone in the country, steeped in the traditions of the game, who have grown up with it, and love it, and now see that it has come to this.
Young Mickey, we don’t do this kind of nonsense here. We don’t mind you going on about it in private, in your odd meetings, and carrying on about self-improvement, and self-awareness, and all that touchy-feely mumbo-jumbo. But come game-time, in the public arena, we don’t care for it. It is in fact, perilously close to un-Australian, which is why the reaction to your action has been so huge.
I want you to consider this. By your actions, son, you have:
1. Turned yourself and your team and this school into a laughing stock.
2. Totally torn the fabric of the team apart.
3. Severely damaged the credibility and reputation of Michael Clarke as a captain, as you had him sign off on this nonsense, and even got him to defend it publicly with you.
4. Entirely rooted what little chance we had of winning the third and fourth Test, to even the series against India.
Nice work from a kid who has only been in the joint five minutes, who never had any association with it before arriving. What am I going to do with you? Well, I must tell you, I am in favour of expulsion. I will take advice from the School Council on it, but expulsion seems the only option to me, for you simply don’t get it. For now, I want you to go back to your room and write a 3000 word essay on how a South African from nowhere managed to get the job in the first place, and how he is going to try and make good the extraordinary damage he has wrought. And I want it on my desk by 9am tomorrow, or YOU will face the consequences!
Alright, be gone with you. And as you go, send in young Clarke, and tell Ms Smithers to hold all my calls for the next five hours. This is going to take some time ...
Oh, and tell her to look for the cane. Last time I had to use that was when Kim Hughes burst into tears all those years ago.
Poll: Do you think the punishment handed out to Shane Watson and three other Test cricketers was fair?
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