The once-coveted first-drop batting position has become a virtual graveyard, with young cricketers shunning the responsibility in favour of opening duties and breezy latter-order hitting.
That’s according to a new Australian Institute of Sport study, which has uncovered a dearth of number three batsmen among Australia’s junior ranks. The nation-wide report has thrown the future of Australian cricket into jeopardy, with experts forecasting a new wave of risk-taking all-rounders who lack the mental application required at the crease.
The annual study polled 1,000 junior cricketers from across Australia’s six states and two territories and found just 20 respondents had identified themselves as a “genuine number three.” Disturbingly, more than 80% of juniors classified themselves as “all-rounders,” while 15% said they were opening batsmen.
In addition, the study revealed a massive drop in the number of aspiring leg-spinners over the last five years, with academics pointing to Shane Warne’s extensive plastic surgery and semi-retarded tweeting as an explanation for the dwindling figures.
But it is the lack of reliable first-drop candidates that has Cricket Australia most concerned for the future. CA boss James Sutherland told The Public Apology that children should be lining up to emulate national cricketing heroes such as Don Bradman, David Boon and Ricky Ponting.
“I don’t get why kids are trying to become all-rounders these days. I could probably just blame Mitchell Johnson for making arm-sleeve tatts, wayward bowling and cavalier slogging cool again, but I think the issue lies deeper than that,” he mused.
“Kids these days just don’t know how to man up and occupy the crease for six hours straight. It’s a concentration thing – and smartphones, video games and underage drinking at house parties are probably distracting these juniors from getting out there on Saturday and putting in the hard-yards for little-to-no praise.”
“No one wants to be the rock that holds up an end; everyone wants to be the fucking hero who hits the winning runs over mid-wicket, or smashes a quick-fire 80* before heading back to the sheds and updating their Facebook status on how fucking well they played.”
The report’s author, Tim McLinden, explained that kids born after 1990 had no idea who the fuck Don Bradman or David Boon were, and had only ever been exposed to an aging Ricky Ponting scratch around at the crease – hardly befitting of a number-three. He added that recent fucktard performances by Shaun Marsh – and, to a lesser extent, Usman Khawaja – had further diminished the prestige of the first-drop position.
“And now that princess Shane Watson is going to bat at 3 in the West Indian test series. Christ, I can see next year’s results being even more damning,” he added.
YOUTHS APATHETIC: Meanwhile, one Northern Suburbs junior, who asked not to be named, told The Public Apology that he’d only heard second-hand “about this Bradman guy – and from all reports he sounded like a bit of a cunt.”
“Does he breathlessly spruik a vitamins company? Does he appear in countless KFC or Vodafone ads? Does he date a hot socialite or karate instructor? No? Then what the fuck do I care,” the 15-year-old explained.
“No wonder he had such a high [99.94] average, he never hit the ball in the air. I mean, who the fuck doesn’t want to clear fences? He’d never make it in the Indian Premier League and I certainly wouldn’t want to go watch him in the KFC Big Bash. That shit just doesn’t excite me.”
When told that Bradman’s legacy was not only his incredible batting average, but that he provided solace in sporting triumph to an entire nation during a time of rampant unemployment and economic depression, the junior simply shrugged before pulling out his iPhone to compose an emoticon-laden text to a friend.
By Dave Edwards