Should Steve Smith Be the Next Australian Captain? TPA Decides

As previously flagged, The Public Apology is running a 4-part series to determine who should succeed Michael Clarke as Australia’s next test captain. In this first instalment, Ben Shine takes a close and at-times absurd look at the short-odds favourite, Steve Smith.

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Steve Smith has all the right attributes to captain Australia, but that doesn’t mean he should.

On paper, he looks the perfect fit. Steve is not only very good at cricket, he’s a marketer’s dream: blonde, supremely talented and in possession of the most Anglo name imaginable.

But while someone called “Steve Smith” may provide comfort and familiarity for Australia’s white, suburban fan base, a deeper look reveals at the name some serious red flags.

On first glance, Steve Smith shares his name with the erstwhile Minister for Defence and Western Australian MP – who by all accounts was a competent and decent bloke, but one who was promised and then passed up not once, but twice, for the coveted Foreign Affairs Ministry (in favour of Kevin Rudd and Bob Carr, no less).

There is a lesson to be learned here. Steve Smiths are nice, good at what they do, but ultimately aren’t ruthless enough to land the prize gig. Always the bridesmaid…

By all accounts a lovely guy
By all accounts a lovely guy

But there is more to Steve Smith’s name, and these extra details provide an illuminating insight into the man’s character.

The Public Apology’s Investigations Unit dug a little deeper (checked Wikipedia) and discovered  Steve’s full name is actually Steven Peter Devereux “Steve” Smith.

This is worrying.

Firstly, while the name “Steve Smith” may appear very English and evoke the strong cultural and historical bonds between Australia with the Mother Country, the cricketer’s middle name “Devereux” points to Gaelic bloodlines.

The French are known primarily for their fine food, wine, art and willingness to accept exiled rugby league players – not their cricket. Equally, their reputation for wilfuly surrendering at the slightest provocation is not a characteristic we want to see in our Captain.

The second, and most important thing to note about Steve’s name is that he is in fact, not a Steve, but a Steven. While the presence of the single letter “N” would appear insignificant, I assure you it is not.

Names say a lot about a person’s character, and Steve and Steven represent two very different types of people.

Steve is a breezily cool dude whose effortless success on the pitch is only matched by the runs he notches up on the circuit.

Steve lived by the mantra: A durry a day keeps the doctor away
Macca always played better with a durry

Steve is supremely gifted, but also inherently lazy. He can win you a game, but he can also lose you a game.

In contrast, Stevens*carry a lot of emotional baggage. Typically speaking, a Steven is a bit of a square. He is a mother’s boy whose innate lack of self esteem is expressed in a desperate desire to please others.

Steven wants to be known as Steve, but will never, ever shake his long-form moniker – which is only ever delivered in a condescending manner, like a parent admonishing a naughty child.

Steven faced the dim prospect of yet another grounding
Steven faced the dim prospect of yet another grounding

Needless to say, a Steven should not be captaining Australia.

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Australia in the midst of a crisis. Our economy is painfully transitioning from resources to services-led growth, the Government is struggling to pass budgetary measures needed to address rampant national debt and our cricket team just returned from a spanking by Pakistan in Dubai.

We need a strong leader to get us out of our current situation. We need a Captain who is characterized by his toughness, grit and pragmatism, as well as the presence several personality disorders.

Our Captain should be taciturn and prone to bouts of grumpiness, like he is stoically battling a mammoth hangover. Gruff, in desperate need of a bacon and egg roll, yet determined to win the day.

Skip looks sternly towards the dressing room - he had asked for his Berocca fifteen minutes ago.
Skip glared towards the dressing room – he had asked for his Berocca more than fifteen minutes ago.

Steven Smith, for all his admirable qualities, does not fit this description.

Steven is fantastic cricketer, but as his name suggests, he tries a little too hard to be cool. He wears a flat-brim snapback cap, but it falls flat (pardon the pun).

It's cricket, yo.
But it’s cricket, yo.

Steven also can’t sledge properly. Try as he might, but batsmen and teammates alike confuse his insults with good-natured conversation. He, is simply put, too nice.

What Australia needs now is a tough, no-nonsense Captain to steer us through the uncertain and forever-changing landscape of international cricket.

We need a Steve, not a Steven.

By Ben Shine

*Not to be confused with Stephen, as in Stephen Roger Waugh. This name bestows entirely different characteristics.

It May Be An Arab Gulf Emirate Very Far from Home, But What Happens in Dubai Does Not Stay in Dubai

Like a young woman on her first Contiki trip to Europe, the Australian Test side did something overseas they wouldn’t normally do.

Finding themselves thousands of miles from home and seemingly liberated from the stifling social expectations of their peers, parents and boyfriends, they chose to recklessly experiment.

While the Aussies did not enter a three-person sexual liaison ala the plot to Vicky Cristina Barcelona, they still did get up to some pretty weird shit.

It was difficult to resist Javier's charms
It was difficult to resist Javier’s charms

Whether it was dumping Alex Doolan for someone who considers it acceptable to play a reverse sweep shot in Test cricket (while batting at first drop, no less), or Michael Clarke employing a straight hit, and other odd-ball fielding tactics, the Australians tried things in the UAE they wouldn’t normally do at home.

And while this experimentation will not likely result in an awkward conversation at the sexual health clinic three months down the track, it has a more immediate impact. Chiefly, it lowers the prestige of the Baggy Green.

It’s clear the Australian selectors wrote off these Tests as irrelevant. With plenty of fan sentiment capital in the bank following the successful Ashes series and tour of South Africa, they chose to experiment in a series watched by a few.

But it backfired. The Australian cricket team were caught off-guard by the reaction to their 2-nil shellacking at the hands of Pakistan in Dubai – but they shouldn’t have been. Michael Clarke should not be “bemused” that his captaincy was questioned upon his return.

As the pin-up boy for the iPhone generation, Clarke should know better. Dubai may be in another time zone, but with things like the Internet, Foxtel and live score apps, the action on the pitch has never been closer.

If it can pay taxi drivers, it can do anything.
If it can pay taxi drivers, it can do anything.

Maybe the Aussies could’ve gotten away with this in the eighties. Not now. Not with the Internet, social media and weird shit like Snapchat and Tinder.

Just like rugby league players are slowly (ever so slowly) learning that “what happens on tour” no longer “stays on tour”, what you do overseas is now just likely to be noticed as if you were doing it in front of someone’s nose.

While this technology may be simultaneously ruining / making our lives better, it is also making location and distance irrelevant.

Australia is no longer beset by the tyranny of distance. The sooner Boof, Clarke et al realise this, the better.

By Ben Shine, with staff writers

Sequel to ‘Drunk Girls of the Melbourne Cup’ to Feature the Real Face of Racing: Destitute, Bankrupt Old Men

On the back of their success with “Drunk Girls of the Melbourne Cup“, the creators of the popular Instagram account are launching a new project to highlight the drunken antics of racegoers on the other 51 weeks of the year.

Tentatively titled “Destitute Old Men Losing Money At The Track”, the account will feature photographs of more traditional punters at the races – depressed, old men with nothing better in their lives but to fritter away their savings in a futile attempt to predict the outcome of horse races that are mostly pre-determined by organised betting syndicates.

“People getting pissed and acting up at the races is just so funny – it’s something everybody can relate to,” co-founder Tim Simmons said.

“So we thought, if it works for chicks in frocks, people will also find it funny to see someone resembling their grandfather lying prone on the ground drunk, having pissed himself and lost all his money on a bad tip.

“Drunk girls at the Melbourne Cup is funny, but it doesn’t really represent what racing is: old guys getting drunk, losing their money and blindly facilitating organised crime through money laundering.

“It may not be glamorous but this is the real face of racing,” he said.

By staff writers.