“I felt I had to do the right thing,” Howard told hundreds of guests at the SCG, one of whom was former Pakistan great and the side’s bowling coach Waqar Younis.
“I never forgot Pervez Musharraf came over to me, he knew what was going on. He said, ‘John, don’t worry, we will avenge you.’
“True to his word, England went to Pakistan later that year and lost. He had really done it.”
Howard paid tribute to his former political rival Hawke for his love of the sport and his reviving of the PM’s XI game in 1984, which had gone dormant after Sir Robert Menzies left The Lodge.
“I want to acknowledge very warmly and quite unreservedly my respect for his respect, love and passion for the game,” Howard said.
“I think I can say on behalf of everyone in this room that Bob Hawke understood the centrality of sport and within that the centrality of cricket to the Australian identity, and that’s a very important thing.”
Pooran scratched for ball tampering
West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran has apologised after being handed a four-game ban for ball tampering.
Pooran was found guilty of altering the condition of the ball with his thumbnail during a one-day international against Afghanistan in the northern Indian city of Lucknow.
He will miss three T20s against Afghanistan and the first game of the subsequent tri-series involving India. The penalties are much lighter than those handed out to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the 2018 sandpaper affair.
“I want to issue a sincere apology to my teammates, supporters and the Afghanistan team for what transpired on the field of play on Monday in Lucknow,” Pooran said in a statement released by Cricket West Indies.
“I recognise that I made an extreme error in judgement and I fully accept the ICC penalty. I want to assure everyone that this is an isolated incident and it will not be repeated.
“I promise to learn from this and come back stronger and wiser.”
Scoring into the new age
Pencils are out and iPads are in for scorers in Sydney’s west. In a sign of the times, junior cricket associations are embracing “e-scoring” on tablets and laptops.
The technological switch saves volunteers the time-consuming task of having to transfer scores onto the popular MyCricket page, which as we’ve documented in this column previously, has curtailed the ability of players to exaggerate their on-field deeds.
“It’s a brave new world for many of our wonderful volunteers, who’ve used a pen and paper to score for a long time,” Cricket NSW Thunder region development leader, Craig McLean said.
“We’re actively working with associations and clubs, so they take advantage of this wonderful technology.
“We’re also finding Gen X kids are teaching Baby Boomers how to use the technology. After all, it is their domain.”
Thunder’s Christmas gift
Sydney Thunder’s WBBL team will be doing it for the kids this weekend. Former Australia bowler Rene Farrell and teammates Naomi Stalenberg, Saskia Horley and Kate Peterson have donned some colourful Christmas jumpers to raise awareness for Sydney Thunder’s Gifts for Kids campaign.
You can help by attending Thunder’s games on Friday and Saturday at Drummoyne Oval, with an unwrapped gift for Barnardos Australia to distribute.
“Christmas is one of the biggest days of the year for kids, and you want to see joy on any
kid’s face,” Farrell said. “Presents are a surprise, and that’s something every child should experience.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald