I recently watched a movie called The Adjustment Bureau. My daughter, Georgia, made me. It’s one of those Hollywood dramas where there is a magical or supernatural element to the story that you just have to accept as reality (for the duration of the movie, at least). The Adjustment Bureau are a myriad of men who dress like FBI agents (hats and coats) who intervene on behalf of ‘The Chairman’. The keepers of fate, if you like. They are responsible for some of those events that we think are simply chance. When a person gets ‘off the plan’ the AB steps in. The first example in the movie was that one of the AB agents was supposed to make the star (Matt Damon) spill his coffee in his apartment before work, so that he would miss his bus and not meet a certain girl. The AB officer assigned to this task dozed off, missed his cue. Matt caught the bus and met the girl. Now you can imagine the trouble that caused and they made a whole movie about the consequences. When the Australian squad for South Africa was announced recently and Shaun Marsh was part if it, the selectors were ‘off the plan’. Way off. Thank goodness ‘The Chairman’ cares about cricket.
Enter the Adjustment Bureau. Some of you might think it was chance – a happy coincidence – that Shaun Marsh suffered a little old calf injury and was ruled out of the tour. But it’s not. It is obviously the work of the Adjustment Bureau and there are precedents to support this. It’s quite common for someone to be injured and for someone else to take their place. It happens often. Especially to Australian fast bowlers. I’m talking about those times when arguably the wrong man was chosen and this is only made right when misfortune strikes. A few years ago I made a post called ‘Watson’s Gift’ (http://dongles.org/watsons-gift/). This documented the many times that Watson was selected when he could count himself lucky, only to be injured and replaced by the right man.
Another significant example was when Keith Miller was outrageously omitted from the team to tour South Africa in the summer of 1949-50. This was only corrected when Bill Johnson was injured in a car accident. Why the Adjustment Bureau chose Johnson, I don’t know but Miller was restored to his rightful place in the team. There are other examples which I detailed in another post called ‘There is a God’ (http://dongles.org/There-is-a-God/).
It is yet to be seen whether Hughes will play. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, it would seem that Alex Doolan has the front running. Perhaps the Adjustment Bureau of the other side (the evil Chairman – he’s not actually in the movie) was at work here. As I recently shared, due to a technical glitch, dongles notifications have not been emailed for a while which meant that the selectors did not receive my post, ‘It’s not the first five we worry about’. If they had received that, they would have read about the risks of ignoring Shield cricket and gone with Phil Hughes in the first place. Whether Hughes will succeed or not, I don’t know. He has been successful in South Africa before. In fact, his failures have been in England where he has been dropped twice. Perhaps he is just another Doug Walters in the respect. What troubles me is that Hughes and Doolan have seen no First Class cricket for over six weeks.
Cricket Australia continues to revel in the glory of a successful Ashes summer yet they conspire in their programming to thwart the development of the long form of the game. When it came to selecting the Ashes squad in November, this task was made difficult because very little Shield cricket had been played. Then when the time came to select the squad for South Africa, a similar situation existed. While there has been a significant amount of Shield cricket this summer, when the touring squad was announced, it had been 40 days since the last ball was bowled in the Shield. In fact, there is a two month gap in the Sheffield Shield schedule. I think that is a disgrace. There is no play from 11 December 2013 until 12 February 2014. If that is not a complete disregard for the most important form of the game, in favour for an unashamed money grab call the Big Bash, I don’t know what is.
I don’t know if that is why the selectors chose to completely ignore form and go with Shaun Marsh. I can only imagine that they were seduced by the idea of Marsh and a few nice shots played in colourful clothing against a white ball. Thank goodness for the Adjustment Bureau. I am waiting for The Chairman to give his order to the Adjustment Bureau to get Cricket Australia back on plan. In the meantime, all that said, Australia has sent a good side to South Africa and for the first time in a while, they have that winning feeling. It should be a good series.
PS: I apologise if the Adjustment Bureau hasn’t yet fixed that thing where you get two emails from dongles for each post. They may be still working on that.