August, 2018

Slipper march recognises our Middle East veterans

Naval personnel march through Perth. Photo: Adrian Beattie Servicemen march along Barrack Street. Photo: Adrian Beattie
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Australian veterans marched through Perth’s streets on Saturday in recognition of Australia’s military role in the Middle East.

The parade and memorial service, part of a national day of commemoration for military personnel who took part in Operation Slipper, which started in 2001 and ended in late 2014.

Units of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Australian Federal Police formed up outside the Wesley church on Hay Street and marched through the Hay Street mall and down Barrack Street to the Supreme Court Gardens.

Crowds of people who lined the streets clapped and cheered as the parade went by.

When it ended there was a service to honour the 34,500 personnel who served in Australia’s longest war.

During those 13 years, 41 Australian soldiers were killed and hundreds wounded.

The commemorative activities are aimed at allowing current and former Australian Defence personnel, Australian public servants, the Australian Federal Police and other government staff who deployed in the operation to be publically recognised for their achievements in the Middle East.

Operation Slipper emcompassed Australia’s contribution to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan and the International Coalition against Terrorism mission across Afghanistan and the Middle East. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Harvey Norman heir Glen Norman buys $10 million Byron Bay home

Glen Norman has splashed $10 million on a waterfront home in Byron Bay. The adjoining lots were officially listed in January this year with expectations of more than $10 million.
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The three-bedroom home was sold by John “Strop” Cornell.

Harvey Norman heir Glen Norman has paid $10 million for the Byron Bay beachfront retreat of his former father-in-law, iconic 1970s TV star John “Strop” Cornell.

The move to Byron Bay by the only son of late Harvey Norman co-founder Ian Norman follows his former wife Melissa Cornell’s return to live there late last year.

Melissa Cornell, the daughter of John Cornell, and Glen Norman separated in 2004.

Cornell and his wife Delvene listed the adjoining lots, one with a three-bedroom house, on the quiet late last year and launched an expressions of interest campaign in January with expectations of more than $10 million.

As reported in Title Deeds recently, Norman has been renting the resort-style property Villa Gabrielle owned by developer Eddie Phillips since he moved to Byron Bay.

Following his move, Norman listed his Double Bay garden apartment earlier this month for more than $4 million and sold it last weekend for $4.5 million.

Melissa Cornell sold her Bronte home in January for $4.6 million, which was less than the $4,925,000 she paid for the Tipper Street property in 2007.

Melissa and Glen were married in 1997 with reports at the time of 110 guests at the wedding at her father’s Beach Hotel, including Paul Hogan and his former wife Linda Kozlowski.

Cornell and his wife Delvene were co-stars with Paul Hogan on the the 1970s comedy series  The Paul Hogan Show and Cornell’s later role advising Kerry Packer on the beginnings of World Series Cricket was portrayed in the 2012 drama Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War.

The couple have owned a handful of adjoining lots along the Belongil beachfront since the early 1980s.

In early 2013 the Cornells offloaded two of the adjoining prime beachfront blocks, selling one for $2 million to Melbourne restaurateur Shannon Bennett and the other for $2.25 million to Bennett’s business partner Adam Garrisson.

The couple plan to retain one of the beachfront blocks for their children.

“We no longer stay in our Belongil beach house and therefore wish to allow someone else the pleasure,” said the Cornells when their beachfront retreat was listed in January.

The sale by LJ Hooker’s Glenn Irwin is short of the Byron Bay record set in 2006 at $15.68 million by property developer Danny Goldberg for a house set back from Wategos Beach.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Cricket World Cup: Pakistan’s butter fingers spare Australia blushes in quarter-final

Guptill smashes double-tonOpener breaks recordHazlewood wants pace-friendly pitch
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The 1999 World Cup may well have been decided by a single piece of fielding, misfielding more accurately. Herschelle Gibbs’  fumble off Steve Waugh in the Super 8 stage led to Australia winning the match when a defeat would have eliminated them from the tournament.

The desperate tie in the semi-final coupled with Australia’s earlier victory over the Proteas ensured Waugh’s men of a spot in the final, where they trounced Pakistan.

Darren Lehmann hit the winning runs at Lords in the final, but his team could have been eliminated on Friday night at the Adelaide Oval if not for Pakistan’s makhan fingers … yep, that’s urdu for ‘butter’. The effigies of Rahat Ali earlier prepared for garlands and sweets are now being torched all over the Sindh.

Wahab Riaz, a native of the Punjab capital, was always going to be Misbah-ul-Haq’s go-to man once the seven-foot Mohammad Irfan was ruled out.

Those two lefties had provided the spark for Pakistan’s recovery after a slow start to the tournament.

Ali is also left-handed and also from the Punjab, but way to the south-west of Lahore in the home town of former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, Multan – the mango capital of Asia, as the locals like to skite.

Maybe he would have held the catch had Shane Watson lobbed a mango down his throat instead of a white Kookaburra. Without key spinner Saeed Ajmal, currently out of action to correct his bent-elbowed doosra flingers, and Shahid Afridi lacking penetration on the Australia pitches, the faster bowlers were coming into their own.

India have worked out the seam bowling formula after four months in Australia, but Pakistan figured it out a bit sooner.

Michael Clarke employed Plan A with his bowlers: get Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to knock over the early order and then bring on Mitchell Johnson for the middle overs.

Captain Misbah looked calm and collected until the targeting of Glenn Maxwell turned sour.

The plan was clearly to make Maxwell an expensive option for Clarke while the quicks were rested for their powerplay work and then the death overs. Starc’s spell to No.8 Wahab Riaz looked more like a Major League Baseball game as he got the ball doing a reverse-swing jig as early as the 37th over (the 19th with that particular ball). It is a pity ‘strike out’ is not used as a form of dismissal in ODI cricket.

Even Maxwell used the short ball to effect as his long hops brought unexpected rewards. The hours spent poring over the opposition’s video tape resulted in Aaron Finch standing in precise positions on the boundary edge accepting the reckless and careless offerings.

He hardly had to move for his three snares. Perhaps Pakistan did not receive the memo about the new, wider dimensions of the Adelaide Oval.

Afridi was as entertaining and as ephemeral as ever when his team needed a mature stay at the crease. He  could not find the patience or the appropriate spot on the field to hit his forceful stroke.

Perhaps we have seen the last of Pakistan’s most mercurial cricketer.

A batsmen of any calibre who plays and misses four times an over will irritate the calmest of fast bowling souls and Starc, who qualifies into that diminishing circle, got appropriately annoyed as Wahab wafted and poked unsuccessfully.

Johnson donated five runs to a struggling opponent with reckless overthrows as the Australians momentarily got lost in the conversation between Wahab and Starc rather than concentrating on the game.

For the first time in the tournament passion rather than professionalism was ruling the day, and it was worth watching.

Wahab returned the passion when he bowled with a spell that may have won many other matches, except for the shoddy catching.

He shook up Clarke and dismissed him with a delivery aimed at the collarbone supported by the precisely positioned close-catching fieldsman.

Pakistan too had done their homework. As Clarke had set Test match-like fields when his bowlers were on top so did Misbah as he understood that he only path to victory was by taking 10 wickets.

With the Australian captain’s exit, Shane Watson, in at No.5, received the same treatment and more by good fortune than good technique survived.

A top-order batsmen who turns his head away from the line of the ball and leaves his gloved hands in harm’s way is a delicious target for a fast bowler and Wahab was bowling fast, smart and nasty.

He made Watson look inadequate. Rahat’s hands should have confirmed the weakness and affirmed his Punjabi colleagues’ efforts, but they failed miserably.

Watson had four off 18 balls when he was dropped.

Australia would have fallen to 4-83 and Wahab still had five overs in the bank. The game was in the balance but the quality back-up bowlers were sitting injured on the bench.

The winning margin may have been a dominant six wickets but it wasn’t until Maxwell survived his own Riaz bombardment (once again via a dropped catch from the first missile he faced) and the lesser lights of Sohail Khan and Haris Sohail plied a few non-threatening overs, that Australia stopped fidgeting in the dugout.

India will be heartened by the Australian weaknesses exposed by Pakistan as they prepare for the semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

India have some fast men to challenge Australia’s batting. Don’t be surprised if we see Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami bowling around the wicket at Clarke and Watson to fields set in the Misbah mode.

Pakistan were not expected to progress past the quarter-final and so it transpired, but they did add their usual ingredients of unpredictability and exciting talent to this fascinating tournament.

They should not be too disappointed with the final result just as Australia will be both relieved and excited at making the last four.

Plan A with the bowlers worked well against Pakistan but Lehmann and Clarke may have to do some work on Plan B with the batting if they are to make another final.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Sydney Thunder have eyes on Kumar Sangakkara but he may be bowled over in favour of import quick

Sydney Thunder chief executive Nick Cummins said the Big Bash League franchise had expressed its interest in “talking to” Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara but he conceded it was more likely they would headhunt a fast bowler from overseas.
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Sangakkara, 37, retired from international one-day cricket after Sri Lanka were skittled by South Africa in their World Cup quarter-final but, just like former Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who starred for the Thunder last season, Sangakkara had the skills, the fan base and charisma the Big Bash League teams craved.

Big Bash League teams are restricted to two overseas players and Cummins revealed the Thunder was still in the process of recruiting domestic players. If all went to plan, he said they would not look at recruiting an overseas batsman, although he would not deny Sangakkara had appeal.

“If I wrote down our batting line-up as we hope it would be, you’d probably see [Sangakkara] could be viewed as a luxury,” he said. “We need to look at team balance. He’s a top-three [or] four batsman and we have five top-three batsman and we’d have to ask if it is worth taking up a spot.

“Without disclosing our signings, having Usman [Khawaja] back [from injury], Aiden Blizzard and Jacques Kallis are batting well and Michael Hussey is there, so it’s strong. But, in saying that, we’ve expressed our interest in talking to him.”

While the Thunder recruited former Australia Twenty20 batsman Ben Rohrer from the Melbourne Renegades, Cummins said the expectation that fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu would be part of the national team’s system next summer meant they needed to look at galvanising their pace attack.

“Gurinder, like Pat Cummins, is in the frame for international selection and we looked bare without those two last summer [when they were called up for Australia’s one-day team],” he said. “We might need to look overseas.”

English all-rounder Chris Woakes, who played two games for the Thunder in 2013, could be a player the Sydney team considered while 23-year-old West Indies paceman Jason Holder had made an impression on BBL scouts throughout the World Cup campaign.

Cummins said his organisation was optimistic former Test star Michael Hussey, who won praise for the way in which he led the team last summer, would bat on.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Making the most of life as a back-up back-stop

Richie Robinson: “I learnt how to be a team player on an Australian tour.” Photo: Supplied
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Richie Robinson: “I learnt how to be a team player on an Australian tour.” Photo: Supplied

Richie Robinson: “I learnt how to be a team player on an Australian tour.” Photo: Supplied

Richie Robinson’s first experience of life as reserve wicketkeeper on an Ashes tour was in 1975, a unique assignment that began with the inaugural World Cup and finished with a four-Test series. In between, Australia prepared for the gear change with 11 tour games. Robinson kept wicket in seven of them.

“I learnt how to be a team player on an Australian tour,” says the former Victorian keeper-batsman, who is now 68. “I remember saying to Rod Marsh on the plane, ‘You’re No.1 keeper, I’m not trying to get your spot, I’m just here to learn. If you want me to keep three county games in a row I’ll do it, whatever you want. My job is to make sure you’re better equipped for the Test series.”

Wade Seccombe was back-up to Adam Gilchrist in 2001, and spent more time running from grounds to team hotels after stumps – a welcome energy release after another long day of watching – than he did playing cricket. Over three months, he featured in just three three-day and two one-day games.

Being part of a team you’re rarely in may drive a cricketer mad, yet Seccombe rates it a highlight of a career that includes being part of Queensland’s first Sheffield Shield-winning team.

“Part of the gig is that, as the next best keeper, you’re working with him, you’ve got to make him better,” Seccombe says of his toil with Gilchrist. “Hopefully, he would reflect back and say I was a positive influence around him for that period and helped him prepare as well as he could, brought something to the table that made him better.”

Darren Berry’s experience in 1997 was different but left the same impression. “Chuck” had slipped his keeping gloves into the bottom of his suitcase before setting off on his honeymoon with wife Cath. In between European vacations he did some coaching at Macclesfield, where he’d played years earlier.

When Gilchrist – who was understudy to Ian Healy on that year’s Ashes tour – hurt his knee, Berry was drafted into the squad. He tells the story at sportsman’s nights that he weighed up his obligations “for three or four seconds”, then put Cath on a plane home “and spent the next five weeks trying to break Ian Healy’s hand”.

Like Seccombe, the four games he played were as close as Berry came to realising a lifelong dream of being an Australian Test cricketer. He doesn’t just share a nickname with his Queensland comrade, also a conviction that taking a second “stumper” to England is a tradition that must be upheld.

“We’re a select few, the keeper’s fraternity,” Berry says. “There’s only six who do this at the top level and the Ashes is the only real opportunity to get that experience of being around the Australian team. You’re there if anything happens, you play a couple of matches, you’ve had the honour of being selected on an Ashes tour. I’d be disappointed if that stopped.”

Batsmen and bowlers on the fringes of national honours will populate the English county circuit in unprecedented numbers this winter, encouraged by Cricket Australia to be fit, firing and a phone call away should misadventure strike the Ashes squad. In theory, Brad Haddin may be the sole gloveman in the touring party, but a keeper or two will be playing county or even league cricket just a motorway drive away.

That the national selectors intend to have a back-up back-stop in the tour party proper – and on the preceding two-Test tour of West Indies – pleases all in the select club Berry refers to, not least a current crop of state wicketkeepers who all have claims to an on-the-job tutorial with Haddin before one of them succeeds him permanently, most likely before the next home summer.

On the top line of betting are the untried Peter Nevill and Matthew Wade, desperate to add to his dozen Tests. Victoria’s captain toured England in 2013, and remembers a series that immediately felt more substantial than any he’d been involved in over the previous year and a half with the national team.

“From my experience, to see it all unfold, to be in that country for a period of time and see all their facilities, face all our bowlers in those conditions, I think it was invaluable,” Wade says. “It’s the same as anywhere. If you go to India or the West Indies, experience on those grounds in those countries, you can’t buy it.”

Wade has eschewed the temptation to join the county caravan, at least in the early part of the English summer, instead backing himself to get the Ashes squad nod. The selectors have a big call to make, backing Wade to have improved his glovework sufficiently to be Haddin’s long-term replacement, or plumping for Nevill (who at 29 is actually two years Wade’s senior) and effectively anointing him as successor.

If they do go for Nevill – as Berry thinks they should for his highly competent glovework and batting good enough to average 45 in first class cricket – Robinson says the Ashes experience will be the perfect grounding. “For the development of that person for the future, it’s very important.”

Robinson toured England a second time, in 1977 with the pre-World Series Cricket party that lost 3-0, again as reserve to Marsh, but played three Tests alongside him as a batsman. Eighteen months later he was No.2 touring keeper on Australia’s WSC tour of West Indies, in which he doubled as team manager. Further Test cricket eluded him, but he reflects that touring only improved his cricket.

Seccombe feels the same way. He reckons there were batsmen and bowlers on the 2001 tour who became frustrated at their lack of opportunity, but he went in knowing his place and determined to make the best of it, and for it to make him better.

“I probably just wanted to make every post a winner,” Seccombe says. “If nothing else I wanted them to say, ‘Look, this bloke’s prepared himself, he’s given himself every chance’.”

Making an impression, Seccombe says, is an investment in the reserve wicketkeeper’s future, one that will be looming large for whoever supports Haddin this year. “I wanted to show that who I was as a person as well as a cricketer fitted the ethos of the team,” Seccombe says.

Berry never got the Test he craved, but he has a priceless memento of how close he came. His daughters are old enough now to ask what his baggy green cap means; he tells them there’s no number inside, so probably not much.

“But I played for Australia on an Ashes tour.” And that’s a chance no wicketkeeper is going to spill.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.