Columns, cricket, chaos…care factor

Controversy about a glamour couple   14 March 2010

BAT OUT OF HELL?

WHEN YOU write a weekly column such as this you better have an opinion, certainly supported by facts when that opinion is different to popular thinking.

However, just occasionally there is a hot subject on offer upon which you have no feeling and little opinion and certainly no facts to support that opinion if you are weak enough to have it drawn from you.

Thus, I argued with my editor this morning because he wanted a hard-hitting piece from this column on the Michael Clarke-Lara Bingle chaos, despite it being a matter on which I have no feeling and little opinion.

Am I weak enough to have it drawn from me? Read on.

When Joe DiMaggio was married to Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, I can only guess how much media attention it created. Gossip and celebrity were big news in the USA in the Hedonistic post-war era and here was the recently-retired baseball great in love with the hottest-looking actress and arguably best movie comedienne of the day.

GENUINE CELEBRITY: MONROE & DIMAGGIO

Compared to Michael and Lara, it was the story of Zeus and Hera; Gable and Lombard; Bobby and Dawn…

Our two erstwhile star-crossed lovers – Michael and Lara – don’t rate in the pantheon. Therefore, lack of feeling, little opinion. Unkind readers may say ‘little’ is unfortunately chosen because cricket is big business but despite the fact Clarke is second-in-command and next-in-line for the most important sporting job in Australia his personal life doesn’t stir me.

Should he be considered to captain the Australian cricket team at test level, given the events of the past week? Of course, he should.

This judgement is based on questions I would like considered first:

  1. If Ricky Ponting wasn’t closer to retirement than debut, would this be an issue?
  2. Didn’t Ricky himself have an unsavoury incident at the Beef ‘n’ Bourbon in King’s Cross earlier in his career and has it affected his ongoing performance as captain of the Australian XI?
  3. Until someone gazettes that Clarke has behaved badly during his engagement to Ms Bingle, what has he done wrong?
  4. If his fellow team members don’t like him, are jealous of his relationship with a model and their fast life together; and feel that he is arrogant,* then how come the greatest cricket team in our nation’s history played under the more-often-than-not- disliked-by-his-teammates Bradman?
  5. Who else is senior enough and good enough for the job? Brad Haddin? Wicket keepers make rare and unlikely captains at least at this level. Mike Hussey? A couple of tests back, public opinion had him close to being dropped. I saw no qualifiers in the eight others who played against New Zealand in Saturday’s one-day international.

Australian cricket – with the notable exception of Shane Warne – is conducted without the scandal that oval ball sports generate in this country. Indeed, the villain of this whole affair seems to be one of the oval ball exponents, Brendan Fevola – a serial naughty boy of questionable off-field reputation.

‘Naughty boy’ is my term and probably open to sexist accusations because on past performances Fevola is more than that. He may actually be a nut-job and with Clarke’s poise and clean-cut image, perhaps Lara Bingle was hearing Billy Joel when she apparently allowed Fevola access to her shower. The erratic forward could have been singing:

‘You may be right, I may be crazy?

‘But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for’

So an opinion, however, damp has been drawn.

Should Michael Clarke still be captain of Australia when Ponting retires? Yes, subject to on-field form.

Should we as sports fans care about the break up of the relationship between Clarke and Lara Bingle? No, there are more important things to worry about.

Should the AFL take action against Brendan Fevola? Yes, but it will all look like too little, too late despite what they do.

Should Ms Bingle’s agent Max Markson become a pilloried scion of his craft? No, he’s just part of Celebrity Overdose, a terminal hit affecting most of the world and he’s copped a fair bucketing already.

I didn’t want to write about this but I hope you’re happy. 

*All this is supposed, not fact. I could have asked the cricket writer but then it would be his column, not mine.

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