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Perhaps he wasn't a great player of spin, but there have been a lot of blokes of lesser ability who've played a lot more Tests than Hookes. - Rod Marsh

David Hookes was an up and coming cricket star at a time when the intricate and sophisticated test match was being challenged by a new shortened version of the game. A game where a result was assured, where risky, exciting batting was encouraged. A game where the players wore colours. A game for the spectators and for streakers. The cricket circus was in town and David Hookes was one of its pin-up boys.

His cricket career

Hooksey played for Australia for the period 1977 - 1986 as a left-handed batsman. He played 23 test matches with an average of 34.37 and a top score of 143*. He also took one test wicket in 1985, that of Indian tailender Shivlal Yadev for his best bowling figures of 1-4 off two overs in the test match at Adelaide Oval.

He played in 29 ODIs with an average of 24.29 at a strike rate of 72.08. His highest score was 76, again at Adelaide Oval in 1983. He also took a wicket in a one-day match: Martin Snedden in a match against England at the MCG. Note that his World Series Cricket stats are not included.

These stats deceptively describe a mediocre cricket career at best. In fact there are those who would say he was one of Australia's best players; that it was only for the fact that he came from South Australia - and that he rebelled against the cricket establishment - that stopped him from being the greatest batsman ever known. He certainly scored quickly.

On debut for Australia, he scored 5 fours off a Tony Greig over, making him an instant hero to many, including a lot of English supporters. Hooksey's century off 34 balls for South Australia was the fastest first class century ever. It is a record he will probably hold for a long time.

He had an outstanding career as captain for South Australia. In state cricket, he is amongst the top five batsmen of all time. Of course, if he played more international cricket then that would have interfered with the state stats.

Up until his death, he was the coach for Victoria. Victoria's fortunes changed dramatically after Hooksey took on this role. They will miss him on so many levels.

Cricket was his life.

His off field antics

Hooksey was an announcer for a Melbourne radio station, 3AW, and had a regular spot on Foxtel. People got to hear what he had to say.

I pretty much disagreed with just about everything he ever said - but admire him for having the courage to speak his mind, no matter the cost. It was good to have someone around who would call a spade a fucking shovel. Of course, he did end up apologising to Shane Warne's accuser for referring to her as a dopey, hairy-backed sheila. But his plain speaking ways often expressed how the public felt when the selectors, and other powers that be just did not want to listen.

Despite the controversial coverage at the time of his death, Hooksey would want the truth on record. That is, he had left his second wife for another woman. The one-sided view that he was the perfect family man had some validity. For surely he was a devoted father, and he cared about the women in his life as much as such a man can respect women.

If there was a charity match being played - you could bet your bottom dollar, Hooksey would be there. He was just that sort of fair dinkum bloke.

Entertainment. Hooksey had an undeniable sense of entertainment, both on and off the field.

His death

Nearly five years ago, to be a bouncer in NSW all you had to do was be big and look mean. Then an incident occurred at the Star City Casino in 1998, where several bouncers beat a man to death. The government was forced to implement stricter licencing regulations for the security industry. In a typical manner, Victoria did not follow suit. They will soon - now they have their very own high profile incident:

The facts of the evening seem to be a little hazy at this stage, seeing as there has been no court case yet. It appears that on 18 January 2004, after an exciting Victoria vs South Australia match, members of both sides (including the coaches and partners) were celebrating in a Melbourne pub. It is not hard to imagine that Hooksey and his party gave some lip to the bouncer. David Hookes took a punch off the premises delivered by the bouncer which sent him to hospital by ambulance.

He died aged 48 in hospital on 19 January 2004.

Since his tragic death it is hard to find a bad word about "Hooksey" - anywhere. The tributes are pouring in from around the world. Loved him or hated him, this often overlooked cricketer is now loved by all.

On 27 January 2004, David Hookes' funeral was held at Adelaide Oval. That's pretty cool. They changed the international cricket timetable to play the Australia Day match in Adelaide. That's pretty cool. More than 10,000 fans turned up to pay tribute to him. That's amazing! The man was not just recognised by those in authority, but he had genuinely touched the general public.

References:
http://www.cricketonly.com/DB/stats.php?user=sn01&name=Hookes (Last visited: 27 Jan 2004)
http://www.bushrangers.com.au/default.asp?i=coaches (Last visited: 27 Jan 2004)
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1028008.htm (Last visited 2 Feb 2004)
http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1032667.htm (Last visited: 2 Feb 2004)


Orpheum says LOL! Ahh, the irony of it...the telly's on in the background, replaying an old cricket match. The Queen's meeting all the players...all normal, until David Hookes tries to get Her Majesty's autograph ;-)

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