When Morpheus beckoned last night, it seemed that, just for once, the world was as it should be. Malcolm Turnbull, who grows more appealing the less he speaks of climate change, had just humiliated Anthony Albanese on Lateline, where the minister’s evident ignorance of broadband matters shone through hostess Alberici’s greater dimness in repeatedly failing to grasp that revenues mitigate expenditures. Still, she is a cute little pixie and a special favourite at the Billabong, where the hope is that Abbott PM’s reform of the ABC – and he had better bloody well reform it, preferably with a chainsaw – will not see her out of work. She would be perfect to compere an exercise show, allowing that the Coalition leaves enough cash in the ABC coffers to fund a Lycra wardrobe, and her gentle treatment of Albanese suggests a definite affinity with dumbbells.
And just to complete the world’s momentary perfection, Australia was battling steadily toward victory in the Fourth Test. No wickets had fallen and the run tally was almost at the century, with only 200 more to make and all those wickets in hand.
Alas, the morning’s harsh light demonstrated yet again that our cricket establishment needs to take immediate and drastic measures if Australians are to be immune from the ridicule of hollow-chested Englishmen. Yet another batting collapse, one more humiliation added to the ever-growing list. Oh, the shame.
Clearly, something needs to be done, and if a Bunyip figured amongst the selectors, it would be. We cannot win with the talent now available, so the object should be to find replacements from other fields of human endeavour. What follows is a replacement First XI. None has any recognised ability with bat or ball, but neither do those presently disgracing the Baggy Green.
Captain and opening bat: Emma Alberici
Bent at a fetching angle over her bat and crease, with bottom pointing pertly toward the boundary, she would be a monumental distraction to sound fielding – allowing, of course, that the English team includes at least a token couple of heterosexuals.
#2: Tim Flannery
Building upon the style that has made him such a richly remunerated member of the Climate Commission, Flanners would be able to predict his score before facing the first ball, then retire. Anyone who dared to dispute that it is possible to make a ton without actually touching willow to leather could then be howled down as a vile denier.
#3: Rob Oakeshott
At least as intelligent as Michael Clarke, he has never been cuckolded by Brendan Fevola.
#4: Bill Shorten
As he is barely taller than the stumps, little can be expected of him on the oval. But if there is discord in the team room, then a wink and a nod from the dominant faction should be enough to see him take the cue, seize the nearest sharp object and plunge it into the back of anyone obscuring his view of the main chance. When the cricket season is over and done, we can expect him to do double duty as Lord High Commissioner of Pie Warmers.
#5: Greg Hywood
The Fairfax chieftain has managed to put no runs whatsoever on the board, is fabulously overpaid and shows no embarrassment that his current team forever drops the ball. He will serve as the squad’s institutional memory, sustaining a living link with the current crew of dills and incompetents.
#6: The entire Bureau of Meteorology.
One must turn up at the ground in order to be thrashed, so with the BoM sure to persist in its predictions of bushfires, floods, lethal temperatures and deluges of hermaphroditic toads, the Poms will be too scared to emerge from their dressing room. Australia wins by default!
#7: Julia Gillard
Quite suddenly she has become impossible to see, her location signified only by the trail of old and discarded freebie ticket stubs from sporting events attended by her swain. How can you be given out LBW when the umpire cannot see you, except as a spectral and rapidly fading shadow?
#8: Anne Summers
Not only would she reduce overheads by volunteering Young Chip as the team’s orange boy, ceaselessly shared memories of her abortion would be a boon for the environment. Rather than endure another recitation of those D&C details from long ago, all other members of the squad would be out and combing the grandstand for recyclable aluminium cans. No current Australian cricketer has done anything so remotely useful in at least five years.
#9: Judge Mordechai Bromberg
His special gift for defining race will come in very handy, should the new First XI prove inept as that which it replaces. If one can be persuaded that a red-headed, blue-eyed, grant-fed, freckle-speckled artist is an oppressed Indigene, there is no reason why Eskimos, Ubangis, and all the peoples of the earth cannot be ordained Australian by judicial decree. This should considerably expand the pool of cricketing talent available to the selectors.
#10. Keith Miller
Yes, he is dead, but even in that condition must be at least as handy with the bat as Khawaja, and no need to debase Australia’s honour and dignity by fast-tracking his citizenship.
#11. Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Has never been known to punch anyone in a pub, spew obscenities via Twitter or to have been romantically involved with Lara Bingle. If the new team fails to deliver, he will be a tasty addition to any post-season barbecue.