THE TONK

When South Africa last toured Australia, Simon Katich and Michael Clarke starred in one of Australian sport's most famous, or infamous, bust-ups. Could there be another blue brewing this summer between another two involved in the national set-up? The Tonk has been aware of several rumours floating around the traps since the revelation there was an Australian cricketer unofficially warned over an incident involving cocaine, including one story that suggests the player in question was tipped in to management by a teammate.

HARD TO FORGET

No matter where Alviro Petersen goes, he just can't shake off the Sydney Sixers. Petersen, who led the Highveld Lions to a 10-wicket loss to the Sixers in the Champions League final, has been dogged all the way across the Indian Ocean by the magenta-clad team. On Monday, he shared the same business-class cabin as the Sixers on the flight from Johannesburg to Sydney. Midway through the 11-hour journey, the captain congratulated the Sixers on the speaker system. Upon his arrival at the SCG for training, Petersen was confronted by the sight of several Sixers flags next to the training nets.

CUMMIN'S LARGESSE

Now that he is headed for the Perth Scorchers, Pat Cummins no longer has any need for his Sixers gear. The children who hung around the Sixers change rooms at the Wanderers in Johannesburg were handed tops, shorts and other training apparel. One person not so fortunate was the security guard who caught a training top that failed to make it over the barrier. He was ordered by Cummins to hand the gear over to the young lad whom the throw was intended for. Cummins was lucky to have any gear left to give away at the end. He had lost a few training tops at one Durban hotel that had developed a notorious reputation for failing to return the team's laundry.

LOO AND BEHOLD

J.P. Duminy is remembered for his majestic debut Test series here four years ago but it didn't come as effortlessly as it looked. The Proteas batsman confirmed a tale in Mickey Arthur's autobiography detailing how he discovered the then 24-year-old vomiting in a WACA ground toilet after finding out he was to replace the injured Ashwell Prince and play his first Test. "I think I only got the final go-ahead an hour before the start of play," he said. "I wasn't quite sure where I stood and obviously being a debut in Australia against Australia … the nerves were definitely floating around and the butterflies were in the stomach. I probably found myself in the toilet a couple of times." It did the trick - his 50 not out helped secure a win - but he has refrained from making the hurl a pre-game ritual.

THOMMO'S MISSTEP

Glenn McGrath and Rahul Dravid were inducted as Bradman Foundation honourees at a gala function at the SCG on Wednesday night but yarn of the evening went to Jeff Thomson. On stage with his legendary partner in crime Dennis Lillee for a panel talk about World Series Cricket, Thommo recalled being signed by Kerry Packer in the late billionaire's Park Street office. "There I was with one of the richest blokes in the world and he asked me how much I wanted to be paid," he said. "I named a figure, not realising that I could have gone higher, and he said 'OK, let's go for lunch'. As we walked out of the joint I thought, 'You dickhead'."

MCDONALD STEPS UP

Andrew McDonald is not the only person who believes he is a better player now than he was four summers ago when he was handed a shock call-up to the Test side. While the Victorian all-rounder's promotion to be Australia A captain shows he is back on the radar of national selectors, he has also impressed many in the state system. One quick was left in awe by an innings he recently saw McDonald play. McDonald and Moises Henriques are auditioning to be Australia's unofficial back-up all-rounder should Shane Watson suffer an injury blow this summer. ''I'm holding down a middle-order position for my state and doing quite well there so you'd like to think you'd be able to take that next step,'' McDonald said. ''It's an unknown stepping up from first-class level into the international scene. Given the opportunity I might be able to take that role there.''

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