Cast your eye over that list. Note, among those names, most of the major candidates for the long-yearned for Australian equivalent of Botham, Flintoff or Kallis, that is, and to wit the genuine pace bowling all-rounder, as well as the once in a generation, century, whatever Johnson, who’s been mentioned as a distinct possibility to develop into that role.

A later article (here) has Clint McKay, Mitchell Marsh, Phil Hughes, Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell joining Warner on the evening in question, though it doesn’t give details of the England players who were there. The headline in that story contains allegations action was only taken against Dave Warner after former vice-captain Shane Watson complained of double standards, though the story has been vehemently denied by captain Michael Clarke and Cricket Australia (CA) officials (here)

Watson, of course, having missed a Test because of his failure to do his homework, with Warner (the way I read it) initially looking like only missing the Champions Trophy game against Sri Lanka for what could, under other circumstances with different people involved, have resulted in criminal charges. According to the article Cricket Australia only became aware of the incident when the team management stood Warner down from the Sri Lanka game. Watson might be a noted spitter of the dummy but in this case, if those details are accurate, he’s right on the money.

Watson missed that Test, along with the other three players, because they failed to complete an in house task that wouldn’t have come under the spotlight if the management group hadn’t decided to act. This incident, had they tried to sweep it under the carpet, had the potential to become much uglier than it has turned out to be, and it’s ugly enough already.

The first objection to suggestions that Warner should have been on the plane home is, of course, going to be He’s Dave Warner. We might need him. It’s The Ashes.


There’s no one in the current Australian team who needs to be given any leeway at all except for the captain, whose degenerative back problem is a long-known issue that is being addressed very carefully. Cast your eye over this article from The Australian if you need to be persuaded about that one.

If you’re going to use the We need him, it’s the Ashes line, Michael Clarke’s the only one it applies to.

Cast your eye down the rest of the likely Test side and you might be tempted to claim the presence of Watson or whoever is vital if we’re going to win, but in that case maybe winning the urn isn’t so important.

In the past we’ve avoided biting bullets because perceived potential exceeds the performance we’re getting, which means, for example, that we need Mitchell Johnson in the side, because he could be a match winner. On the other hand he might bowl absolute tripe and get carted so we’d better have another bowler in there, which means we need to slot Watson in there somewhere, and the only spot that isn’t set in stone is the opener, so tough luck Phil Hughes, who one notes was one of the six players who were in the bar with Warner when this little imbroglio took place. We’ll be back to that point later.


© Ian L Hughes 2021