There is much to be said for the comfort that can be derived from familiar routines. The same route to uni, the same coffee from the same location. Pissing in the same cubicle. At the same time. Every single day. There is little opportunity for the unknown to worm its way into a schedule like that. But recently some strange occurrences have been popping up here and there that have, on occasion, left us at a loss as to how to deal with them, threatening to throw all our well-ordered routines into chaos. Like what is the best party order to use to when facing down a gym instructor with a penchant for all things spectral? And what on Earth is an EV-enchanting item? Or who the hell would choose Fennekin as a starter when the infinitely superior Froakie is right there beside him?
But none of these dilemmas, despite their potential to wreak havoc on even the best laid bathroom visitation plans, really comes close to the issue we will be tackling today. A quandary so confounding it can inspire even the most strong willed to simply abandon a well-planned routine altogether, and decide the best way to see out the day is huddling under the doona, beloved 3DS in sweaty hand.
When the latest Cricket Australia central contract list was drawn up back in April, there were some very notable absentees. Steven Peter Devereux Smith for instance. Or Usman Khawaja. Or even some bloke called Moises. The exclusion of Byrce McGain was less noteworthy, although doubtlessly came as a bitter blow to the entire McGain household.
But Ben Hilfenhaus got a gig. Ben bloody Hilfenhaus. Let’s have a wee look at that one shall we? Over the past twelve months Devereux has played seven Test matches, plus the one ODI, while Henriques has played in three Tests, three ODI’s and one T20. Even Khawaja has dipped in with the three Tests and three ODI’s. There are undoubtedly some other notable examples out there (like Chris Rogers with five Test matches), but we’ve probably made our point already. Besides we can’t really remember who plays in the Australian limited overs teams these days.
In comparison, since his name was included on that list last June, Ben Hilfenhaus has played the grand total of zero (0) Tests, zero (0) ODI’s, and zero (0) T20’s. Impressive stuff. If we look back a little further to include his contributions over the entire past twelve months, it amounts to three Tests and a single T20. He wasn’t included in either the Indian or England tours, or as part of the current Australian squad currently pissing about (maybe even playing the odd game of cricket) over in India, despite having been fit and available for selection for all of them. As far as we can tell he wasn’t ever even under consideration for any of those tours.
It’s not as if Ben hasn’t been playing any cricket either. He played six Sheffield Shield games last season after returning from injury, grabbing 26 wickets at an average of 24.38. Which made him about the tenth best performing bowler in that competition. He may have played some T20 stuff here and there as well, but we’re buggered if we could be bothered doing the research to find out. Not when we have more important things to do. Like finding a Jigglypuff to add to our party.
Basically, Ben Hilfenhaus has spent the past twelve months doing bugger all other than picking up the cash that a Cricket Australia central contract offers (a minimum of AUS$230,000 a year, or in other terms about 3,800 copies of Pokémon X/Y). There seemingly has been zero intent to pick the bastard, so why was he offered a contract in the first place, ahead of someone who is, you know, actually getting picked? He doesn’t seem to be in consideration for any of the national teams which, considering the rate at which Australia quicks fall apart, is one hell of an achievement.
We have a theory or two about this most bizarre sequence of events, and no, they don’t happen to involve Pokémon. But we are always ready to modify our views should our dear reader have some really compelling suggestions. But essentially our conspiracy theory revolves around the suspicion that someone on the National Selection Panel really, really likes Ben. About as much as we like this current trend of ex Mickey Mouse Club starlets undressing (or near enough) in public. But it seems not all the selectors happen to feel the same way about poor ol’ Ben, and his continued appearance in the contracts list, twinned with his continued absence from any professional Australian cricket team, presumably including the beach and indoor cricket squads, suggests the panel is at loggerheads over the issue. Which, given some of the other selections they have made lately, wouldn’t surprise us in the least.
Either that or some sneaky bugger has been slipping Ben’s name onto the contract list last thing before it heads of to the fax machine. Just for bants. Like.