Simon Katich doesn’t deserve a reprimand. He deserves an award for restraint.

Tut-tut…Katich escapes the Cricket Australia hearing. Picture: Norm Oorloff

After falling foul of the thought police at Cricket Australia he was called up before that stuffy little outfit’s resident kangaroo court to explain his so-called “spray” against Michael Clarke. “Spray”, as it was dubbed in headlines, is a ludicrously overstated term for what Katich had said. All he said was that he doubted he would ever get a spot in the Test team under captain and selector Michael Clarke.

Katich, you will recall, grabbed Clarke by the neck in a dressing room dust-up in 2009, risking serious damage to Clarke’s latest haircut. His assessment of his chances of reclaiming a baggy green under Clarke was both accurate and unremarkable.

Katich is the best-performing Australian batsman of the past three years but for baffling reasons has been excluded from the side as it goes through its rebuilding phase, which includes persisting with another guy who is currently too nervous to hold a cricket bat. Katich has every right to say what he likes about his undeserved predicament. Or he did, until Cricket Australia this week stripped him of that right.

It was only a guilty plea to Cricket Australia’s spurious charge of “detrimental public comment” which saved Katich from suspension from first grade cricket. Instead he got a reprimand. This tut-tutting is primary school stuff which reflects poorly on Cricket Australia. It is journalistically depressing that the Katich case was reported in a matter-of-fact manner, with the coverage focussing on the charge and subsequent hearing, rather then rightly homing in on the ridiculousness of his being charged at all.

The judgment will help ensure that our modern sportspeople become even more adept at phrasing their public utterances in the dead language of management, where no-one will speak any more of the “team”, rather the “playing group”, and captains demand accountability in much the same way as your human resources department wants you to be more proactive, whatever that means.

The judgment also provides a fitting end to a year which has been a poor one for freedom of speech in this country. I have publicly recorded my disregard for Andrew Bolt’s journalism but it stuns me that so many people have suspended their support for free speech because of their dislike of the conservative Herald-Sun columnist, and are blind to the broader free speech implications of the absurd racial vilification laws of which he fell foul.

There is redress for the nine Aboriginal complainants in the laws of defamation – ample redress, given the number Bolt did on them – yet the PC brigade is applauding a law which could prevent any member of the public from speaking their mind on immigration, multiculturalism, assimilation, the types of cultural or religious practices we are prepared to accept in this country.

If anything the forces of pure thought have been emboldened by the Bolt ruling and we are now seeing a push out of Victoria for the introduction of a national Multiculturalism Act, which could provide a new avenue of legal action for people who think they’ve been racially vilified or abused.

The definition of abuse will be key here, and there will be nothing stopping crackpots or pests from trying their chances under this law anyway, or preventing people who have been deservedly criticised (to use the example again, say the Serbian minority which disrupts the Australian Open) from taking legal action despite the fact that their actions should rightly be deplored.

I don’t write that as an opponent of multiculturalism either. I think Australia is vastly richer for the settlement of so many different ethnic groups, but I can’t think of a better way to alienate and inflame its detractors than by telling them they have to agree with an official government policy.

If the Gillard Government goes down this path it will at least be consistent in its censoriousness.

It has converted its sookiness at robust media coverage into an oddly-configured media inquiry, cheered on by Pyongyang’s man in Hobart, Greens Leader Bob Brown. This week it took its media policies to an even stupider level with the shambolic conclusion to the Australia Network tender, which was set to shift from the ABC to Sky News on the basis of a dispassionate programming-based assessment by the Department of Foreign Affairs, only for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to declare the contract will remain indefinitely with the ABC.

His stated reason – the police probe into leaks about the tender process – was hilarious given that the leaks came from within government itself, and masked his baser motive which is simply a dislike of News Limited, the publisher of this website and part owner of Sky.

It isn’t just government that is at the forefront of the new censoriousness, though. It is also the community.

One odd feature of the latest Kyle Sandilands scandal was the number of people who automatically demanded that the government do something about this serial boofhead, that he be barred by law from broadcast or strung up by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The public backlash and his subsequent and continuing abandonment by some 14 major advertisers would suggest that government intervention is not required. The free market is sorting him out. Anyway, there is a long list of things which government does not do very well; adding the power to decide what we can and cannot say is not something to be encouraged.

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74 comments

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    • Against the Man says:

      05:19am | 11/12/11

      ‘....there is a long list of things which government does not do very well…’

      HA! There is a vast understatement. Maybe we should expect less from the ‘government’ and their minority supporters. Let us see what PM Brown has next up his sleeve. Looks like Gillard is craving a Scooby snack.

    • acotrel says:

      06:29am | 12/12/11

      ’ I have publicly recorded my disregard for Andrew Bolt’s journalism but it stuns me that so many people have suspended their support for free speech because of their dislike of the conservative Herald-Sun columnist, and are blind to the broader free speech implications of the absurd racial vilification laws of which he fell foul. ‘

      Andrew Bolt is Murdoch’s toady.  About the right of free speech - abuse it and lose it !  Bolt has put one of our basic freedoms in jeopardy with his poison.

    • paul says:

      08:48am | 12/12/11

      acrotel you are such a boofhead its astounding. What is this nazi Germany? “Abuse it and you shall lose it” you just make things up as you go don’t you. If one mans comments could bring a whole nations rights down then thats pretty pathetic. How much power do you bestow upon Bolt? geez. One article and he has sacrificed a law millions have a right to?
      Anyway its mute Abott has already given a clear indication he is going to fix this little loop hole up once in Government.

    • Sarah says:

      12:34pm | 12/12/11

      @Acotrel.

      Wow you are just crazy sometimes aren’t you? Sometimes your posts are fairly normal - but sometimes you just come out with a corker that makes me wonder if you are in control of all of your facilities still.

      Lose the right to free speech - all because of one monkey who offended some aboriginals - who decided to really throw their toys out of the cot and get him into a whole lot of trouble for it.

      I know you really really really really really really don’t like anything right-wing (especially Abbott) but seriously - you would blame the potential loss of freedom of speech on Bolt and Murdoch?

      If we were ever to lose freedom of speech it would because the GOVERNMENT that was in power at the time, removed it from us - not because some twit of a journalist pissed off the wrong people.

    • Erick says:

      05:35am | 11/12/11

      Let’s not forget the government’s stated policy of censoring the Internet. They’ve been quiet about that lately, but it hasn’t gone away.

      The blatantly political moves to suppress free speech by the current government are creepy, and not what I would expect to see in a country like Australia. More like Iran or China.

    • Debs says:

      01:49pm | 11/12/11

      I haven’t heard the opposition opposing this though ..

    • Rob says:

      07:24pm | 11/12/11

      Debs, the opposition are totally against censoring the Net. They said so HEAPS of times leading up to the last election.

    • acotrel says:

      06:33am | 12/12/11

      Erick, Internet censorship is all about the religous right in politics, and their phobia about anything that might tingle their genitals. Labor, like the LNP must play the game or face undermining by the ACL !

    • Erick says:

      02:55pm | 12/12/11

      @acotrel - But it doesn’t seem to bother you at all when it’s the Labor Party doing it. Blind partisanship has simply taken over any other priority for you.

    • Super D says:

      06:02am | 11/12/11

      Spot on about Katich.  If he doesn’t get a call up it will reflect very badly on Michael Clarke’s ego.

      The similarities between the treatment of Bolt and Sandilands are pretty obvious.  There is a certain section of the community who rather than simply choose not to listen or ignore would rather silence voices they don’t wish to hear - and probably haven’t even heard anyway. 

      I fully support the right of Kyle Sandilands to earn his living as a paid fuckwit. 

      While Bolt occasionally misses the mark he at least has a persistence for dealing with issues that goes beyond the 48 hour attention span of many that would describe themselves as journalists but are littrle more than playground gossip mongers..

    • Freeman says:

      09:26am | 11/12/11

      I think there is more to katich’s axing then the incident with Clarke, I don’t think he was much liked by many in the team after a series of runouts.

    • Martin says:

      11:34am | 11/12/11

      I think you might find there are plenty in the team that can’t stand Clarke either.

    • Dale says:

      04:55pm | 11/12/11

      It was the old boys club in the team who couldn’t stand Clarke. Couldn’t stand someone with tatoos and a hot girlfriend who didn’t want to hang around for 8 hours after every match following some antiquated rule. Now they are all gone or are about to be pensioned off team harmony shouldn’t be an issue.

      BTW Clarke has been captaining very well. Great tactically especially with the new boys coming through.

      Also FWIW the rumour Clarke wanted to leave the dressing room early at the SCG to see his fiancee is a myth. He wanted to take some new team mates out on the town in Sydney and didn’t want to hang around the SCG pavillion until 3 in the morning.

    • rudy says:

      05:05am | 12/12/11

      Whatever you think of Katich, he’s out of the team and at over 35, he’s finished. Surely it’s more interesting to talk about who is in the team and what they’re doing.

    • rudy says:

      05:08am | 12/12/11

      ‘While Bolt occasionally misses the mark’. That’s like saying Ricky Ponting occasionally gets out LBW lately. Occasionally, as in the vast majority of times. But unlike Ponting, there is usually no umpire to give Bolt a verdict and send him on his way.

    • acotrel says:

      06:36am | 12/12/11

      @SuperD
      ‘I fully support the right of Kyle Sandilands to earn his living as a paid fuckwit.’

      Me too, and Andrew Bolt as well !

    • paul says:

      02:17pm | 12/12/11

      @Dale for goodness sake. Katich and Clarke had one bust up and it was nothing to do with hanging around for 8 hours. Clarke wanted the team song sung earlier then ever before in history so he could go catch a bite with his GF and her parents. What an insult to CA.
      It’s like Brett Lee stated “If you can’t get on with Katich your a pretty ordinary bloke.
      Saying that i don’t mind Clarke but I think dropping Katich was petty stuff,

    • iansand says:

      07:11am | 11/12/11

      Bolt should and could have said whatever he wanted, provided those statements were not made on the basis of easily verifiable falsehoods.  The right of free speech is not a to tell whatever lies you want.

    • Erick says:

      08:47am | 11/12/11

      If Bolt had been deliberately lying, he could have been sued under defamation laws. Since he wasn’t, his persecutors had to attack him under the racial censorship laws, under which truth is no defence.

    • marley says:

      09:14am | 11/12/11

      If absolute trufhfulness is a requirement for free speech, then we do not have free speech at all.  We ought to be able to express our opinions and beliefs without having to worry about whether we are 100% historically, scientifically or politically accurate.  The whole point of having free speech is to allow even unpopular and erroneous ideas to be aired and exposed to the light of analysis and criticism.

      That is not to say the free speech should extend to defamation - and it doesn’t.  But if someone lies about you, you should rely on the defamation laws rather than the very dubious right not to be offended.

    • gobsmack says:

      09:20am | 11/12/11

      @Erick
      Why do you assume that Bolt couldn’t have been sued for defamation?
      Also, one doesn’t have to had “deliberately lied” to make defamatory comments.  If a person writes or publishes an article that is detrimental to another person’s reputation, the onus is on the writer and/or publisher to ensure the article is factual. 
      Something neither Bolt nor the newspaper bothered to do.

    • harley says:

      11:47am | 11/12/11

      Sure thing marley
      Let’s defend the right to call out FIRE in a crowded theatre

      Is this the free speech you desire?

    • iansand says:

      11:53am | 11/12/11

      The proper balance of rights with free speech is always tricky.  Telling people which of two (or more) available remedies they should take is indubitably authoritarian.

      Bolt was gone for all money in a defamation suit.  There is a good chance that his cavalier attitude to the truth would have established malice, so he would also have gone down in the USA.

    • marley says:

      02:10pm | 11/12/11

      @Gobsmack - no, I wouldn’t allow free speech to cover yelling “fire.”  .  Nor, as I made clear, would I allow free speech to cover defamation.  I would allow it to cover offending people.  I would allow it to cover exaggeration and honest error and even carelessness.  Defining where free speech ends it a delicate and tricky business, and I firmly believe the racial discrimination act has drawn the line in the wrong place.

    • marley says:

      02:25pm | 11/12/11

      @Iansand - we’ll never know whether he defamed anybody, will we?  Because the court was not required to address that issue.  And if it had, and had found Bolt guilty, I would have no argument. 

      I do not dispute that the complainants had a right to use whichever piece of legislation they thought most appropriate to pursue their case.  What I have an argument with is the wording of that piece of legislation.  I believe it puts too great a constraint on free speech.

    • marley says:

      02:43pm | 11/12/11

      Sorry,that was supposed to be a reply to Harley, not Gobsmack.

    • harley says:

      03:16pm | 11/12/11

      Oh, I see marley

      You agree that it’s alright to shout/print/broadcast falsehoods.

      Now it is only the debate about what sort of falsehoods are acceptable to you.

    • iansand says:

      03:57pm | 11/12/11

      marley - Don’t be daft.  Of course he defamed them.  Do you seriously think that there could be any doubt that what the fool wrote adversely affected their reputations?  Do you also think that free speech means you can tell any lie, no matter how untrue and injurious?  Would you support my “right” to call Bolt a paedophile in national press even though I know it to be untrue?

    • gobsmack says:

      06:12pm | 11/12/11

      @marley
      I agree that section 18C of the RDA is too broad in prohibiting comments that merely offend a group of persons.
      My understanding of the Bolt case was that a number of “facts” Bolt cited in his article were incorrect and those inaccuracies could have formed the basis of a defamation action.
      I don’t agree that “honest error” or carelessness should be a defence against defamation.  The most basic rule of journalism is that any fact should be verified before being put to print.
      Saying someone is a dickhead (eg as said by the Punch team about Sandilands) is fair enough.  That’s opinion.  But you can’t, for example, say someone is a wife basher (which is a matter of fact) because your mate’s wife’s friend heard someone say so at the hairdresser’s.

    • marley says:

      06:13pm | 11/12/11

      @iansand - I thought you were a lawyer.  I thought you would therefore understood that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and that, not having been charged, never mind found guilty, of defamation, Bolt enjoys that presumption of innocence. 

      And yes, I would support your right to call Bolt a pedophile. I’d also support Bolt’s right to sue you for defamation. He wouldn’t need to resort so some amorphous law on being offensive, he’d have you cold on defamation.  And rightly so.

    • iansand says:

      08:16pm | 11/12/11

      marley - I am a lawyer.  Hence, I understand the difference between criminal and civil law.  Something which you don’t.  But never let ignorance interfere with your ability to express an opinion.

    • jf says:

      08:32pm | 11/12/11

      iansand says: 04:57pm | 11/12/11

      “marley - Don’t be daft.  Of course he defamed them.”

      My understanding of defamation law is that anyone may bring a civil action for defamation.

      The people in question clearly don’t shy away from litigation. If Bolt did defame these people, why have they not brought such an action, particularly when it is so obvious?

    • James In Footscray says:

      08:36pm | 11/12/11

      @Harley

      You suggest sarcastically, ‘let’s defend the right to call out FIRE in a crowded theatre’.

      Does expresssing a political opinion lead to danger? Is it actually like shouting ‘fire’? We’ve heard this idea quite often this year - for example,  Robert Manne calls criticisms of himself on the Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair blogs ‘incitements’.

      I think people are smart and we have to trust them. They’re not about to be whipped up into a frenzy by some right-wing commentator saying something crass. (Or am I missing some obvious examples?)

      In fact, it’s in environments where people are not able to hear a range of opinions - like China - that rumours start and resentments fester, which does lead to violent reacttions.

    • marley says:

      06:17am | 12/12/11

      @harley - if the concept of free speech precludes anything that contains errors, inaccuracies or misrepresentations, then we would have to close down The Punch and every other blogsite on the web.

      Should anti-vaccination campaigners be silenced?  After all, their campaigns are replete with inaccuracies and scientific error?  Should those who have issues with boat people be denied a platform because they inaccurately refer to asylum seekers as “illegal migrants?”  Should 9/11 conspiracy theorists be shut down because their opinions clash with the known facts of that event?  Or should their dubious ideas be brought out into the light and challenged? 

      If free speech doesn’t include the right to utter these kinds of ideas, then how can you call it free speech?

      And I’ve used this example before, and will use it again.  The Canadian polemicist Mark Steyn wrote an article critical of the Muslim impact on Europe.  The article was both inaccurate factually, and somewhat hostiie in tone.  A Canadian muslim group claimed the article was offensive to Muslims.  It went to the Canadian Human Rights tribunal, where it was tossed out. The grounds?  The right to free speech trumps the right not be offended. 

      That’s where I stand on the issue.  I think the Australian law is far too intrusive.

    • iansand says:

      06:21am | 12/12/11

      jf - My guess is that they wanted to make a point about racial vilification rather than make a pot of money.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      07:16am | 12/12/11

      What a VERY silly comment, @harley. Totally in agreement with @marley. Gillard and co are treading are VERY dangerous ground with trying to rein in free speech. But then she does have to prepare for her open door policy to immigration. We mustn’t say anything or do anything at all which might “offend”. Interesting to see how the courts deal with that very nebulous term.  I don’t care what Bolt and others write. I myself - can’t speak for anyone else like yourself of course - am intelligent enough to pick out the truth as much as we can ever get it. In fact, there is nothing that justifies suppression of free speech and the free press in an alleged democracy.  And @acotrel ‘abuse it or lose it’ neither has any relevance in this issue. True freedom of speech is not nor should it ever be conditional as Gillard, and her imploding party mates, are trying to make it.  And all for selfish motives while they desperately cling to power.

    • marley says:

      07:33am | 12/12/11

      @iansand - sigh.  I don’t know how to make my point any clearer, but obviously I’m going to have to, because you still don’t seem to get what I’m saying.

      If the court had ruled that Bolt had defamed one or all of the group, I wouldn’t have an issue because I don’t have a problem with the Defamation Act. 

      Instead, the court ruled that Bolt had offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated the group. And I have a problem with that because I don’t think offending or insulting individuals or groups should be subject to legal action when there is no incitement to violence involved. 

      In other words, I think the Defamation Act is a reasonable constraint on free speech and the Racial Discrimination Act is not.  Is that clear enough?

    • Economist says:

      08:02am | 11/12/11

      Nice spray Penbo. Cricket Australia fortunately is going to take a cropper with today’s younger generation not as religious in their following, the market will sought them out hopefully. Though I’d like to see the media take them to task more, particularly the boys club element, not just the on-field woes. My perception is that it is totally about personalities then talent. I could say something else, but won’t. They’ve reached their heyday with sponsorships dollars and I’ll happily avoid products that sponsor them. While KFC nuggets may be better tasting I’ll go to Maccas. Swisse vitamins, no thanks go with Blackmores.  Not into Rexona, I’ll be a wuss and wear the wife’s Mum.

      Yes its great to see Kyle go down with sponsors pulling out. Kyle as a solution just simply denounce the mining and carbon taxes. You’ll then have a few billionaires look out for you. Well that’s what Bolta’s done. Bolt like yourself had a television show that could barely pull in 200000 viewers. Bolt like you as a dedicated radio audience that endorse the offensive tripe that passes your mouths and will defend it, despite it not representing the views of many Australians. . The difference is Bolt’s a little more professional, no swear words at opponents and no threats of physical violence. He can just leave that to his listeners.  Bolt has, arguably one of the most read columns from the papers, not sure about your writings, can you write? While you’re both overpaid for expressing opinions that a lot of other Australians can do easily and have gotten to where you are through a little bit of luck (as well as hardwork) that neither or you will acknowledge, through arrogance. The difference is the billionaire’s in your pocket.

      Finally with the exception of Godwin Grech ( a made up leak), haven’t 99% of leaks come from the government of the day, mostly endorsed? The fed are called into investigate and the outcomes never announced.

    • Craig says:

      08:04am | 11/12/11

      The culture that began developing in our national cricket team under Ponting, and now being extended and reinforced under Clark is disgusting.

      However I expect it to continue for a few more years before people start asking “how did it get so bad so fast”.

      The roots of the issue are in plain sight, however none of those who benefit frm it will speak out, and those who it harms are being muzzled, like Katich.

      I have stopped watching Australian cricket until the governing body totally reforms itself which, if the various football codes are any example, will take a very long time.

    • gobsmack says:

      09:10am | 11/12/11

      My impression is that Cricket Australia develops “plans” and fixes on them come hell or highwater - eg it has been their plan for years that Clarke would become captain and it’s been their plan for the last few years that Hughes would be one of the permanent opening batsmen.
      They won’t allow annoying facts like complete loss of form or absence of technique to get in the way of their plans.

    • yourname says:

      08:06am | 11/12/11

      What is this column about? There seem to be a number of different themes.

    • Jim Kelly says:

      08:48am | 11/12/11

      Great article David could not be closer to the truth!

    • stephen says:

      09:21am | 11/12/11

      Katich’s Test batting average is around 45 runs per innings, so he should be in the test side, but then, a grab on the neck is probably, rather, a grab around the throat.
      I’d be a bit touchy there, too.
      Having a look at Hughes’s last dismissal ... what an ugly and stupid batting response from him.
      He was so far down on his front foot I though he was kissing Princess Margaret’s boil on her big toe.
      Clarke should put him at the end - that way, when we’re all out for 115, we can at least, on our way home, have a laugh.

    • PW says:

      07:38am | 12/12/11

      Actually 45 per dismissal, still this is perferctly adequate for a Test opener, especially given the performance of the Australian team over recent times.

      I think Australia will find themselves in serious bother against India. We cannot afford to leave out a batsman of this calibre just due to the captain’s ego.

    • Tim says:

      09:58am | 11/12/11

      Article started really well, and I couldn’t agree more with Katich. This will be the stain which will always mark Clarke’s career and is one of the main reasons the Australian public will never warm to him.

      But another dig at Kyle? Really Penbo? Letting yourself down.

    • journo says:

      10:02am | 11/12/11

      David
      It’s pretty simple really
      don’t write crap.
      If you write crap, expect crackdowns.

    • Joe Publik says:

      01:54pm | 11/12/11

      Pravda journo, pravda. Send them to the Gulag.

    • Andrew says:

      10:53am | 11/12/11

      Maybe some of you people who have actually read bolt’s column (which will cut out 70% of people) what was so wrong with what bolt wrote.

    • Andrew says:

      09:41pm | 11/12/11

      I’ve read it, and he did go pretty hard on them. And I’ve gone pretty hard on some people and had people go pretty hard on me. I had someone tell my employer that I’m an “evil and dangerous” person - my reaction was to laugh. These people were less injured than I was.

      In the real world, the correct response from them is “That pr!ck made the following errors [insert list]” and end of story. Not a lawsuit that takes $200k to fight. They didn’t suffer “real” harm. None lost a job, were incorrectly imprisoned, lost their health or any other permanent damage. The technical term for what they suffered is “getting the sh!ts.”  I get the shits when the cricket side is bowled out for under 50, when someone slags me off, when the receptionist doesn’t type that letter I dictated, or when the train is cancelled. Get over it and HTFU.

    • H B Bear says:

      01:15pm | 11/12/11

      Simon Katich is Australia’s Aung San Suu Kyi, silenced by a despotic regime, oblivious to the obvious reality around them.  Expect him to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.

      Hang on -  a knock at the door, ” ..... Stephen Conroy…. who’s that with you .... Cricket Australia you say….  my internet’s being monitored….......    no I won’t come with you…........................................”.

    • Billy says:

      01:26pm | 11/12/11

      David

      When you say “Serbian fans”, did you mean to say “Serbian and Bosnian fans” (a reference to the events of 2009) or “Serbian and Croatian fans” (a reference to the events of 2007) ? 

      Or is it simply the case that the common denominator here is Serbs, and so they must be the sole cause in all cases ?

      A Multiculturalism Act to protect minorities against unfair slagging off by lazy journos ?  Please sir - bring it on.

      Cheers

    • Henry Wu says:

      02:02pm | 11/12/11

      Why recall a player in his mid-30’s with 2 years left in his playing career when you can blood some new blood and foster a future prospect.

    • VVS says:

      02:51pm | 11/12/11

      Cause we want to maximse the chances of winning…?

      Now back to Jurassic Park for you, good doctor.

    • greg says:

      02:18pm | 11/12/11

      It doesn’t matter what Katich did in the years previous. Bradman is our best batsman of the past 100 years but we’re not likely to see him again. Katich’s form prior to being injured was not acceptable. There was no reason to think he could come back at 36 and be a better player than what he was before he was injured. Hughes has years to improve and will be a better player than Katich ever was. Clarke is currently the best player in the side and already a better captain than Ponting.

    • Just in from Cricket Australia says:

      02:45pm | 11/12/11

      Last name Chappell, by any chance?

    • Joshua says:

      03:27pm | 11/12/11

      Rubbish. Katich has been averaging 50.48 since his return to test cricket in 2008. In comparison, Clarke has been averaging 46.51, Watson 43.53, Ponting 40.42, and Hussey 39.07 over this same time frame.
      And Watson is clearly the most valuable player in the team. He averages slightly less than Clarke but taken together with his bowling makes him far more indispensable. Don’t go around spraying pro-Clarke propaganda that has no facts to support it.

    • VVS says:

      05:50pm | 11/12/11

      greg = owned.

    • greg says:

      11:08am | 13/12/11

      Joshua, tests are won currently in 2011, not 2008. Like I said, it is irrelevant what he averaged since 2008. In his last 10 tests he failed to pass 50 and averaged 32 in his last 3 series. Only the greatest batsman with 10,000+ runs behind them survive for long with those figures, and Katich is not one of those. This meant that to justify his place he had to come back from injury at 36 and be a better player than he was at 35. I challenge anyone to suggest that was likely. 

      I agree that Watson is the most valuable when in form, but he’s currently a batting all-rounder who’s not scoring any runs. I’m certainly not “pro-Clarke”, in fact without having ever met him I think he’s an utter douchebag, but that doesn’t stop me thinking he’s a very good captain.

    • Amazed says:

      03:00pm | 11/12/11

      Because Henry Wu, he can bat.

    • Raed says:

      05:53pm | 11/12/11

      So far his record as Captain is looking pretty good… 3 tons in his last 4 tests.Thats called leadership oh lets not forget beating Sri Lanka on their home turf and squaring the series against South Africa… gees not bad going for a guy who cant bat or captain

    • Ken says:

      03:37pm | 11/12/11

      All BS. If Katich makes the runs he should be in the side. If not, he should be out. Agist selectors should be sacked. Sachin Tendulkar seems to be doing OK.

    • Andrew says:

      04:09pm | 11/12/11

      We’ve got the Australian XI, Australia A and I’m sure we could come up with ‘11 of Australia’s best that the selectors have shat on’? (Katich, Symonds, MacGill, Brett Lee to name a few)

    • Dale says:

      04:49pm | 11/12/11

      The reason Katich was left off the contract list is due to the need to rejuvenate the Australian Side after last years Ashes defeat. Otherwise the top order would currently consist of 3 36 year olds. has nothing to do with Clarke its just Katich having a whinge. (Which he may be entitled to but the fact was he was seen as expendable and no one has a God given right to represent Australia).
      Coincidentally I find it staggering people are calling for Clarke and Ponting’s heads after the first innings to allow the ‘kids” to come on yet scream for Katich to come back. Lot of fuss over nothing. He isn’t even that great a player.

    • Arup Saikia says:

      06:48pm | 12/12/11

      Curious to know what actually happened in the dressing room that led to Katich going for Clarke’s vocal cords. Will no one, even now, “betray” this dressing-room secret?

    • Raed says:

      05:49pm | 11/12/11

      Plain and simple katich was calling the selectors and Michael Clarke effectively cheats for not even giving him a chance to be selected in the Australian Team…Massive accusations without any facts, plain and simple thats called slander

    • Loula says:

      07:57pm | 11/12/11

      I agree with nearly everything Andrew Bolt says, including regarding the subject matter of the Bromberg decision, so it’s reassuring to see a journalist whose “disregard” for Bolt’s work hasn’t blinded him to that case’s chilling implications for free speech.

      Green Labor should stop wasting money on further separate legislation in a “Multiculturalism Act” - it would cheaper and simpler surely to just have one overarching Correct Thought and Opinion Act.

    • stephen says:

      11:14pm | 11/12/11

      Legislating this Act is foolish ; rather, if the Law should have an influence, specific problems via litigation should resolve conflict.
      But the Law should not intrude here.
      Not at all.
      Not yet.

    • jg says:

      09:16pm | 11/12/11

      Excellent articel penbo…

    • Utopia Boy says:

      11:13pm | 11/12/11

      Freedom of speech is dead.
      Neither Labor nor Liberal will be able to resist the urge to control information on the internet. All in the name of “our own good” and “national security” of course.
      The daily newspapers are on their way out as far as the majority of “young people” are concerned. In 20 years they will be no more. Hence no need for journalistic integrity.

    • nush says:

      06:50am | 12/12/11

      Can’t be dead if we never really had it.

      “The Australian Constitution does not have any express provision relating to freedom of speech. In theory, therefore, the Commonwealth Parliament may restrict or censor speech through censorship legislation or other laws, as long as they are otherwise within constitutional power.”
      (Source: http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rn/2001-02/02rn42.htm)

    • Greg Bradman says:

      06:55am | 12/12/11

      Cricket is a team sport, Katich clearly by his actions isnt a team player.  And wtf with the singing of under the Southern Cross?  These blokes are adults and surely its a tad embarressing to have to wait around a dressing room until a ridiculous song with obligatory swearing is completed. I am with Clarke and would rather go to dinner with Lara than wait around to sing such a silly ditty.

    • Lorraine says:

      04:21pm | 12/12/11

      Penbo, Really. Why use the Simon Katich headline when all you wanted to do was talk about yourself?
      You could have done both Katich and your own ideas then we would have had two articles to read.
      Perhaps we should all remember that it is not a sport anymore but employment and Katich with his expertise is entitled to have a job even if he doesn’t see eye to eye with his fellow workers.

    • Will says:

      08:26pm | 12/12/11

      Bizarre article - the logic is torturous to follow but it seems to be something like this:

      1. Simon Katich was a victim of censorship when he was punished by his employer for acting like a selfish twat

      2. Andrew Bolt was also a victim of censorship when he was punished for acting like a selfish twat (sidenote: Bolt’s employer did not punish him, it was left to others)

      3. i hate the government

      don’t get me wrong, I love a baseless beat-up story as much as the any News Ltd reader but you seem to be really grasping at straws on this one David

      PS there are not many employers that let you off with a warning when you physically attack a teammate in the workplace - to then repay that benefit of the doubt with a ‘spray’ in the media about how hard done by you are just defies belief - the team is better off with one less narcissist fighting for profile

    • MargD says:

      05:57am | 14/12/11

      All of this rubbish about Katich reminds me of Dean Jones, he couldn’t accept being dropped either.  He was not a team man and neither was Katich. I just wish everyone would get over it and stop bagging Michael Clarke….give him a go.

 

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