A tad harsh maybe, given that they're both far better cricketers than I ever was, but the fact remains that Andrew McDonald and Callum Ferguson can consider themselves extremely lucky to receive Cricket Australia contracts ahead of the likes of Michael Klinger, David Warner and David Hussey.
Andrew McDonald's case is a very interesting one. Akin to India's very own Ajit Agarkar, McDonald continues to feature in the plans of state, IPL and, clearly, national selectors despite his obvious lack of skill or any evidence of sustained and outstanding cricketing achievement. His military medium pace (which makes Sourav Ganguly's gentlemanly offerings look good) allied to a consistently inconsistent batting record is incongruent with the talent and demonstrated high performance levels of former and current Australian cricketers who have dominated all-comers for the best part of two decades. So why is he given a contract?
Even the widely panned IPL3 commentators had enough nous to opine that Warner's resvoirs of talent could be transferred to the longer forms of the game. Would a central contract and facilitated relocation across state borders not have provided the carrot for Warner to leap to the next level and become a major force in all formats? Surely even members of the much vaunted NSP know enough about cricket to deduce that Warner statisfying his full potential could do more for Australian cricket than anything Andrew McDonald could achieve in two cricketing lifetimes!
Callum Ferguson would never have received a better present from the Easter bunny, given that has has undergone a knee reconstruction and will take at least a half (if not entire) season to work himself back into anything approaching a remote semblance of form. There is no denying that Ferguson has talent aplenty, which could see him occupy a spot in the Aussie batting order for quite a few years to come. But, the jury is hung as to whether the NSP's haste to hand Ferguson a contract was a direct consequence of a PCB approach to have him invade the batting slot vacated by their erstwhile captain.
An inside source informs me that Ferguson would never have accepted the PCB offer, owing to a preference for the cathedrals of Adelaide to the
Last but never the least on our list is one Michael Klinger. Having upped and gone from magnificent Melbourne to arid Adelaide, Klinger knew he would have to work major miracles to undo the insults he heaped upon his mighty Victorian roots. Yet, despite conjuring said miracles (886 Sheffield Shield runs at 63.2, last season and 502 one-day runs at 55.7) Klinger's adopted state failed to make it to a single final in season 2009/10, which probably sealed his fate as far as a national contract was concerned.
Yet, hope still abounds for Klinger. After all, he is a young 29 and the young 31 year old Michael Hussey proved that age is no bar when it comes to making the grade in Australia's team and in international cricket.
Maybe it's my small mind; maybe it's one of rare phenomena in life that simply cannot be explained, but a logical reason for gifting a lucrative national contract to McDonald ahead of the aforementioned young(-ish) guns escapes me.
I get the feeling that the supposedly omnipotent cloak of professional structures doesn't have the requisite power to overcome human daftness.
PS. Neither this website nor this author bears any enmity towards Andrew McDonald. By all accounts he is a top bloke. We simply don't believe he can play cricket very well.
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