Allan Border Interview
Cricket, It means absolutely nothing to me except for those little insects that keep me up at night, but to many in the world cricket is a national past time. I never had much of an opportunity to watch or play cricket, growing up in the States. I grew up playing baseball not cricket.
I always thought that cricket was played by a whole bunch of rich, pompous, arrogant men. Those that went to boarding school and wore shirts that had little alligators on them; they met their friends at "The Country Club" and would never think of going bowling!!
I, myself LOVE bowling and used to watch with my father every Saturday afternoon. Earl Anthony and the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) were commonly spoken. Hey, don't get me wrong I didn't grow up in a trailer home and eat grits (and those people that do live in a trailer home, I love those double-wides! So much space!) OK, I hope the state of West Virginia doesn't come kill me. Anyway, my point is that my family isn't a bunch of hicks, but we also didn't associate with the upper class of mansion living, Caymans vacationing, Mercedes driving, caviar eating, servants servanting, kind of people.
I am a simple man. I am the Korean Charles Ingalls from "The Little House on the Prairie." I don't need anything fancy, just a good team of horses and a crop to harvest and I'm happy!
Seriously though, I've been to quite a few highbrow parties where everyone is to busy trying to be noticed and everyone looks uptight. The women are busy gossiping and the men are too busy smoking cigars and talking about the stock market, and should they send their children to Harvard or Yale. These are the type of people that played cricket where I grew up.
Since I've been overseas, I've watched cricket many times on TV and I've grown to like the sport. It looks simple enough and everyone looks like real gentlemen wearing all white. I have still never played, but I have a new respect for the game. I like the fact that smaller countries, like the West Indies, used to dominate cricket. If it weren't for cricket then I probably would have never heard of the West Indies before.
I got a call the other day from my friend who told me Allan Border is coming to Korea to help promote cricket. I had NO idea who he was and I guess you can say that I was ignorant about cricket. I'm sorry!!!!! After I calmed down from the excitement (can you taste the sarcasm?) I made a few phone calls to my Australian friends and they were ecstatic about it! They wanted pictures and autographs because this guy was their boyhood hero! I can understand that because everyone has a hero when they were a kid.
For those of you who don't know Allan Border then let me enlighten you. He is one of the greatest cricketers Australia has ever seen. He holds many world records including most consecutive Test matches and sits atop the table of run-scorers with 11,174 runs. He was Mr. Cricket for Australia back in the 80's and early '90's.
After hearing so many good things about him, I was sincerely excited to have a chance to interview him. His schedule was busy since arriving from China and of course I was last in line for an interview. Allan was busy promoting cricket in Asia and raising the level of awareness in Korea especially. He wasn't as big as I expected, but he looked solid. Actually he looked just like me except that he's white and I'm not, but besides that we could be brothers!! Isn't life amazing!!!
Anyway, I waited patiently and finally got my chance to talk with him, but of course he was running out of time and I was told by the event company that I would have to be very short and try and keep it under 5 minutes. (Gee that's odd?) So here I am with the great AB. If you didn't catch that, AB stands for Allan Border.
J: As you can see I don't have much time, so I will try to ask you as many questions as quickly as possible. First, thanks for taking the time and talking with me.
A: No problem.
J: So how has your trip been so far?
A: Really busy going from country to country trying to promote cricket. It's a great sport and more people should play it.
J: Have you seen anything in Korea yet?
A: No, we just got in a few hours ago. We're supposed to go to a few middle schools tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to that.
J: OK, who do you think is the greatest cricketer ever?
A: Viv Richards I think was the greatest! Sure Sir Donald Bradman was great also, but I just thought Viv was an exceptional player. He had a kind of arrogance about him.
J: What are your thoughts on Ian Botham?
A: I've got the highest regard for Ian. He is a friend and probably the last hero for England Cricket. I haven't seen anyone replace him! He was great!
J: I heard that you were a pretty good baseball player growing up. Did you ever think of pursuing baseball?
A: I used to be a good baseball player in middle school, but when I got to high school everyone caught up to me. I had a strong arm, but not strong enough. I didn't think I would have a future in baseball, so I stuck with cricket.
J: How do you feel about the fall of West Indies Cricket? They used to be the best, but nowadays because of MTV and basketball less and less kids are playing cricket and more and more are playing other sports.
A: It's a shame how the MTV culture has overtaken the West Indies. Satellite TV and pop culture are too much for cricket in the West Indies. It's difficult to compete with the glitz and show of basketball and other sports and most kids think cricket is too boring, so they stopped playing it. I hope to see cricket revitalized there.
J: Now, cricket is known to be a gentlemen's game. The all-whites and manners are a tribute to the sport. How do you feel about the recent allegations about match rigging?
A: It really saddens my heart! I know it is difficult since there is so much money involved with people betting and I wish they would just play the sport and not worry about the betting.
J: OK, last question before this guy standing behind me beats me over the head. Now there was a rumor that you and Rodney Marsh had a drinking competition from Sydney to Melbourne. Your fans want to know who won?
A: (Allan is now laughing and I can see his mind going back to those days.) Hands down it was Marsh!
J: Thanks again Allan.
Allan Border was a true gentleman, unlike Yngwie Malmsteen. If I ever have children and if they take up the sport of cricket then I'd like them to be like Allan Border! For more info on Allan please go to: www.q-net.net.au/~gihan/border/
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