How rebel tour anger turned Border into ‘Captain Grumpy’

    Test great Border has spoken out in part two of Allan Border: My Story to be broadcast on Fox Cricket after day three of the Boxing Day Test.Border reveals how he felt the two Australian rebel tours to South Africa in 1985-86, in which a group of players were paid $200,000 for two tours, left him disillusioned with the sport and its administration.The names of the rebel tourists emerged just as Australia was naming its side to tour England and Border said it destroyed the preparation and any chance of success on the tour as almost half of his squad withdrew.“It knocked me over,’’ Border said.“Seven of the Ashes squad were about to go to South Africa. I thought ‘what has just happened here?’ We are supposed to be one happy family going to England.’’“It was a tough period. I tell you what that period did do to me.“It made me very wary. I didn’t know who to trust. You are looking around. Even guys on your side you are not sure where there are. Was the administration shovelling sand from beneath your feet as well?“That was the start of the period where I was justifiably called Captain Grumpy because it affected me a lot.’’Media magnate Kerry Packer created even more tension when he tried to save the day by persuading rebel signings Graeme Wood, Dirk Wellham and Wayne Phillips to renege on their South African contracts and rejoin the traditional system.The trio were given a full tour fee for the Ashes plus a six figure sum from Packer, infuriating squad mates who were paid far less for to be loyal to the traditional set-up the entire time.The trio were grilled by teammates at a crisis meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Melbourne just two days before the squad left for England.“They double dipped,’’ Border said.“They were going to go to South Africa and decided not to go. They were getting paid the same amount of money allegedly they were going to forfeit for not going to South Africa to come back to Australia cricket.“The question from everyone (to the trio) was are you getting paid extra money from Mr Packer to remain faithful to Australian cricket? The disparity in money (was substantial) … (those) guys were being paid $200,000 and we were being paid under 20 to tour England.“To a man everyone voted these blokes should not be allowed back into the squad. I was basically told the deal had been done and just to get on with it.’’Border said he was told that anyone who signed with the South African squads would be banned for life but Australia’s Ashes tourists, to their dismay, found out halfway through the tour that the rebels would only be banned from international cricket for three years – effectively a one-year ban given they were away for the first two.Australia lost the 1985 Ashes series 3-1 but Border somehow conjured one of the most impressive performances of his career to score 597 Test runs at 66.

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