Australia v West Indies first cricket Test: Simon Katich grabs controversy by the throat

Simon Katich, here with Alan Jones, finally opens up – sort of – about his stoush with Michael Clarke. Photo: Simon AleknaTHE TONK

Ever since Simon Katich was added to the ABC Grandstand commentary team this summer we’ve been waiting for the inevitable moment that he’d be asked about his central part in one of the most infamous moments in recent Australian cricket history. It happened on Saturday, as Australia’s crushing victory in the first Test was completed, with veteran broadcaster Jim Maxwell prodding the former Test opener on his 2009 clash with Michael Clarke during a discussion about dressing-room team songs and the like. Katich, of course, notoriously fronted up to Clarke, grabbing him by the throat, in the SCG rooms in the midst of an argument over when the team song should be sung. Australia had just beaten South Africa in what was Matthew Hayden’s final Test and while Katich and others wanted to stay in the rooms Clarke wanted to have the song sung early so he could leave to join his then girlfriend Lara Bingle. “As we all know there was a little bit of a disagreement in terms of when the timing (of the song) should be. As a result of that I got a little bit…(pause)”. At this point Maxwell interjected: “This was the Croatian moment?” “Yeah,” Katich replied. “It bugged me.” Katich went on: “My understanding of it, and it always has been, is that it’s up to the custodian of the song to determine that time. There was a little bit of a rush that night to go onto the next venue. Michael Hussey was particularly keen to stay in the dressing rooms, Matty Hayden was sitting down there in what turned out to be his last Test match. He wanted to savour the moment in those SCG dressing rooms.”

Warne’s crack at Marlon – again

The debacle at Blundstone Arena was obviously difficult to watch for Brian Lara, who incidentally scored a half-century in Perth on Friday for a Legends XI against Perth Scorchers. “I think our batsmen have accepted the inevitable when there is an opportunity to bat and take something positive away from the game,” Lara tweeted on Saturday. Shane Warne was also critical of the tourists’ abject batting but took particular aim at Marlon Samuels, who has history with the leg-spin great after throwing his bat at him during a confrontation in a Big Bash League game three seasons ago. “Marlon Samuels is Mr Experience out there but he hasn’t really given anything in this Test match so far. He’s fielded on the boundary, hasn’t shown any enthusiasm or any intensity,” Warne said on the Channel Nine coverage.

Tickets going cheap

Tickets for the Boxing Day Test have been reduced slightly in the top category, from $78 to $72 on day one and down to $66 on day two, as Cricket Australia tries to drum up enthusiasm in the wake of the huge gulf between the teams in Hobart. All other pricing remains the same as last year, though. Day three and beyond will be a tough sell if the match goes that long, but the view that the occasion sells itself in Melbourne is probably right and should see the usual strong turnout on Boxing Day.

Travelling Mickey

Two years after he was dumped as Australian coach Mickey Arthur is still carving out a career in coaching and is travelling to all corners of the cricket world to do it. The South African has coached in the Caribbean Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League since his Australian exit and has now landed another T20 gig with Karachi in the new Pakistan Super League. We can only imagine then that Karachi won’t be picking up Brad Haddin, who is in the PCB draft but who The Tonk imagines isn’t on the best of terms with Arthur after blaming the coach’s insecurity for the national team’s woes during his tenure.

Murder mystery

The documentary, Death of a Gentleman, which is worth seeing simply for the lurid canary yellow suit donned by ECB chairman Giles Clarke, finally makes a much-anticipated arrival on Australian screens this month with premieres in Sydney on December 21 and Melbourne on December 23. The film is the work of cricket writers Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins and delves into the decline of Test cricket and the machinations behind last year’s power grab of the game’s big three.   

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