I had the pleasure today of sitting next to Bear as he received the call he was the new Australian captain. He tried to act cool, but I could see his mind turning, trying to come to terms with what it actually meant to him, how his life would change. I can only imagine the thoughts.
We sat chewing the fat for about 20 minutes on the issue. Does he have a say at the selection table? How much influence on the side does the captain actually have? Can he make changes? Is the style of Australia’s play dictated at all or even influenced by the captain? Or is he just the fall guy when things go pear shaped? What happens when you are announced as the Australian captain? How does it actually happen? What graces or perks are given to an Australian captain?
The first thing I know is that Qantas flight staff do NOT allow Australian captains to receive the news over the phone during a safety briefing. We sat on the tarmac in Melbourne being told where the exits were (we’re sitting in one now Susanna, so thanks love, but I think we already know where it is!), and NO, Hilditch’s call is not more important. At least we know that cricket isn’t the be-all and end-all in life. But I think we already knew that.
We also know that the Australian captain of T20 is not allowed to have the seat written on his boarding pass. 11a and b were taken by two very respectable looking retirees who were not going to move. Bear has learned to pick his battles, and this was not one of them.
Many of the on-field, cricket specific answers will only play out over the next week, and we can only hope that politics will not get in the way of his leadership style. Any Australian dressing room has a lot of egos to fit in. I know Cameron is well liked in those circles, and I trust that his appointment will be met as positive news by everyone on the team.
All I can hope is that Cameron takes his captaincy style from Victoria with him on the National team. He is confident, self-assured, and a natural born leader. His cricket brain works faster that most, and with Victoria he has been in charge of a winning side for many years. He knows how to win. Maybe his hair needs a little work, and he can stop using “obviously”, “I suppose” and “I guess” in interviews, but fortunately at last check these were not pre-requisites of the job.
Who knows what’s going to happen now. Probably the only thing that is certain at the moment, is that Cameron’s fishing boat just gained a few extra feet, and that he will be a very busy boy for the next few days.
I wish Bear all the very best in his new position. Long may he retain it, and may he lead the Australian side to success in the very near future. I just hope I can be a part of it as well.