Patrick Cummins’ arrival in India will trigger a showdown for the much coveted role of ‘Nice Young Man’ (NYM) in the Australian men’s test cricket team.
For many years the Australian policy of only having one genuinely pleasant person in the test team has been rigidly adhered to. Notoriously unpleasant former captain, Allan Border, explained “Look, it’s a man’s game, and men aren’t nice. Not Queensland men anyway. The Kiwis tend to pick a lot of nice guys in their team, but when was the last time they won anything?”
Elaborating on the policy, coach Darren Lehmann briefly put down his beer and growled “It’s a juggling act for us at the selection table. The balance of our team is critical but it’s not just batters and bowlers. The NYM role can cause headaches too. Steve Smith used to be the nice guy but when he needed to edge ahead of David Warner in the race to be the next captain, he had to work very hard to eliminate the likability from his game. So with Smithy out of the NYM role, we had to pick Peter Nevill who was very tolerable. However, the post-Hobart reshuffle brought young Matty Renshaw into the team. He’s a very nice guy so we had get rid of Nevill and bring in someone nobody likes – Matthew Wade. So you see, it’s a constant conundrum.”
ACB marketing manager, Terrence Clipboard, agreed that one nice young fellow was the optimum quota. “Yes we need to appeal to the broader community. The bulk of our audience are men so we still need an abundance of burping and spitting and yelling at other men’s faces. But to get the older ladies we need one poster boy; the one they’d wished their daughter had married.”
Cummins and Renshaw will be put through their paces this week with drills like helping old ladies across the street, walking past a group of young girls without making suggestive comments and being offered a beer and saying “No, I’m not really much of a drinker thanks.” A decision on the NYM role is likely to be announced on Thursday.