I watched the Allan Border Medal telecast on Channel Nine on Tuesday night. All two-and-a-half hours of it. That's a lot of cringing on my part.
Congratulations to Adam Gilchrist on winning the AB Medal, and to the other winners - Ricky Ponting, Martin Love, Nathan Hauritz and Karen Rolton. (And it was good to see this year that at least they mentioned the women's award in the telecast, even if the presentation had to be pre-recorded. Was it too hard to set up a live cross to Christchurch, where the Australian team is currently playing?)
But it was still a painful television program to watch. Eddie McGuire as MC was bad enough (as he always is). The music was bland, but thankfully better than Rusty Crowe's effort the other year. Arthur Morris wasn't up on stage this year, and Michael Slater didn't make a fool of himself. What we did have was a dreadful "ocker" voiceover for all the highlights footage of each Test and one-day international. It's not even remotely funny to continually refer to Adam Gilchrist as "that bloke from the mobile phone ad", nor to call smashing cover drives "a bloody good shot" in a pseudo-Chips Rafferty drawl that no one speaks with in 21st century Australia.
Hideous stuff. At least it would probably be an improvement on the Dally M's. Perhaps Jamie Sutherland should do a Wayne Jackson and put everyone to sleep by doing the vote count.
My highlight of the evening (not including Eddie McGuire saying "goodnight" and the credits starting to roll) was Ian Chappell's induction to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, along with Lindsay Hassett. Chappelli appeared to me to be rather tired and emotional as he made his way to the stage, but his acceptance speech was anything but... especially as he put forward the thought-provoking argument that the members of the 1868 Aboriginal tour of England should be accorded full international status.
At least we didn't have a "Cricketer of the Century".