It's Time To Go Into Bat For The WAGs
Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan set tongues wagging at the weekend, not with a critique of his country’s dismal series loss to the Windies (WTF, BTW?!) but with his thoughts ahead of this year’s Ashes series.
Who faced this heat the Pom was bowling?
Not Australia’s brittle batsmen or our bowling lineup. Not banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner.
Nup, something far more crucial to the Series.
Vaughan reckons Australia should delay the arrival of the team’s wives, girlfriends and children until after the first Test Match in Birmingham.
The Australians will be in the UK for up to four months from early August with a busy cricket schedule featuring not just the Ashes but also the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Down Under this summer, as part of Fox Sports cricket commentary team, Vaughan went on to explain that the presence of families around the team should be welcomed but “strategically managed” so the Aussie players can prepare among themselves.
"It can be a distraction. I think you’ve got to be respectful that these players play so much away from home that if they want their families there they should have that, and they’ve got so much money they can bring them with them anyway,’’ he said.
“The one thing I will say is that preparation time for the first Test match, I personally used to like the families out of the way.”
Vaughan also went on to add that families can enhance the environment because “you don’t want to be hanging around with your team the whole time, they get on your nerves.”
This topic raises its ugly head like clockwork, to be more specific every couple of years when the Aussies head abroad for the traditional showdown with the Old Enemy.
Heaven forbid should changing baby Charlie’s nappies derails Tim Paine’s plans for his bowlers! Forget our age-old inability to navigate a swinging ball in foreign climes. It's those darn loved ones who could cost us dear.
Cricket Australia has a framework in place which has for some time allowed families to accompany their partner/father on tour. Most importantly, there is an option and the environment is welcoming, comfortable and supportive.
In cricket as in life, every family is different with varying circumstances and needs. Some might want to be together no matter what, #tourlife may not suit families who have young children in kinder or school back home in Australia, while international travel and living out of a suitcase can be the last thing on the radar of new parents or parents-to-be.
But the one thing families should not be made to feel is like they are a distraction.
The Australian Test team of recent times has certainly had a family feel. Paine has two young kids with wife Bonnie; Warner will be eligible for Ashes selection and wife Candice has a third child due in June; while soon-to-be father of two Shaun Marsh is also a regular in the national team, although whether he'll play or not after his poor form Down Under this summer remains to be seen.
Tracy Bevan, ex wife of Australian star Michael and mother of two, weighed in on Instagram over the weekend, revealing back in her day they “weren’t allowed near the team hotel”.
“I just think it’s such a long game and they play 12 months a year with the Ashes in the UK over four months, so it has to balance out for everyone’s sake especially the children.”
She also wrote that Michael wanted her on tour because it helped him switch off after a day of play and, as a father, he wanted his daughters there.
No doubt each Australian cricketer and their family, with the backing of the national sporting body, will settle on arrangements that best suit their needs and desires.
Meantime, Vaughan would be best to worry about cricket issues in his own backyard.
Main image: Instagram