Legends deliver a few home truths in a polished performance
CRICKET: Old cricket legends never die, they carry on bowling people over and delivering cracking shots on the after dinner circuit.
This was the case on Friday night at the Calliope Country Club when three greats of the game, Jeff Thomson, Doug Walters and Len Pascoe came to play golf and share stories of their time wearing the baggy green and their thoughts on the modern game.
Pascoe, 68, opened the evening.
Pascoe the son of Macedonian immigrants, played for Australia between 1977 and 1982 and went to school with Thomson who he went on to play with at club, state and international level.
During their time on the Australian team Pascoe and Thomson became firm friends with Walters and three of them continue to tour together on the after dinner speaking circuit.
Pascoe is still passionate about the game and continues to coach young players.
Walters arrived at the crease and explained how at 72 years of age his hard drinking and smoking days were finally over.
The legendary batsman and hell-raiser recounted how he and his fellow cricketers played hard on the field and even harder off it.
"But that was part of being in a team," he said.
"The current group of Australian cricketers aren't a team, they're a side.
"They don't socialise or drink together, how do they expect to bond and play as a team?"
The final over was handed to Thomson who is still considered to be the greatest fast bowler of the game.
Introduced by Pascoe as the man who delivered the 100mph ball, Thomson, 68, wasted no time hurling quick jokes, humorous stories and the odd full toss.
"The modern game is full of people who would never have played in our day," he said.
"Batsmen like Doug Walters proved themselves before getting into the Australian team by actually making hundreds of runs.
"Today, they'll select a batsman who is averaging 30 to 40 runs per game in the hope he'll develop into a good player, which is utter madness."
Thomson was also infuriated with the development of bowler's helmets.
"They're supposed to protect the bowler's heads if a batsman drives the ball back down the pitch," he said.
"What an insult.
"If Len or I had been such bad bowlers that we were in danger of being hit by a returning shot, then we deserved to be hit.
Thomson wound up the evening by sharing an extremely funny story about meeting the Queen for the first time, and how he made her laugh by using a very colourful word to describe his team-mates.
But that's another legendary story.