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David Boon
David Boone, booksigning.jpg
Personal information
Full name David Clarence Boon
Born 29 December 1960 (1960-12-29) (age 49)
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Batting style Right-handed
Bowling style Right arm off break
International information
National side Australia
Test debut (cap 325) 23 November 1984 v West Indies
Last Test 29 January 1996 v Sri Lanka
ODI debut (cap 80) 12 February 1984 v West Indies
Last ODI 15 March 1995 v West Indies
Domestic team information
Years Team
1978–1999 Tasmania
1997–1999 Durham
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 107 181 350 313
Runs scored 7,422 5,964 23,413 10,236
Batting average 43.65 37.04 44.00 37.49
100s/50s 21/32 5/37 68/114 9/68
Top score 200 122 227 172
Balls bowled 36 82 1,153 280
Wickets 0 0 14 4
Bowling average 49.71 66.50
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match n/a 0 n/a
Best bowling 2/18 2/44
Catches/stumpings 99/– 45/– 283/– 82/–
Source: Cricinfo, 9 December 2009

David Clarence Boon, MBE, (born 29 December 1960, in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia) nicknamed Boony, was a former Australian cricketer of the 1980s and 90s. He was a right-handed batsman and a very occasional off-spin bowler who along with his international career, played First-class cricket for both his home state Tasmania and English county side Durham.

Contents

Early life

The son of Clarrie and Lesley, Boon was born in the Northern Tasmanian city of Launceston on December 29 1960. Boon is the eldest of his parents two children; with his sister Vanessa born three-and-a-half years after Boon. His father worked at a newsagency in Launceston, while his mother represented Australia at hockey before working with Clarrie at the newsagency once Boon was born. Boon first lived in South Launceston 2.0 km (1.2 mi) from the Launceston central business district (CBD); however he moved into his a house connected to his Dad's newsagency in the city centre when approximately six years old, before moving back to South Launceston when Boon was in secondary school.

Cricket career

At the age of 17, Boon made his first-class debut for Tasmania during the state's second season of Sheffield Shield cricket, 1978–79. Englishman Jack Simmons was coaching in Launceston at the time and was also captain of the Tasmanian team. He pushed the youngster forward as a possible Test player and mentored him during a long apprenticeship at first-class level. Boon later acknowledged Simmons by naming his son after him. Wisden wrote, "Boon's achievement in becoming a fine Test player from a state which at that stage was still to enter the Sheffield Shield (sic) is strong evidence of his singular determination".[1] He was a key player in Tasmania's surprise victory in the 1978–79 Gillette Cup, Australia's domestic limited-overs competition.[2]

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International debut

Boon made his international debut in an ODI, the third final of the 1983–84 World Series Cup between Australia and the West Indies. He scored 39 from 71 balls for the losing team and had to wait almost twelve months for another opportunity. A good performance for the Prime Minister's XI in 1984–85 led to Boon's Test debut, against the West Indies at Brisbane. He stood up well to the pace of the West Indies' bowlers and scored 51 in the second innings, batting at number six. After the match, Kim Hughes resigned the captaincy of Australia.[3] Boon played two more Tests in the series, and was then trialled as a middle-order batsman in eight ODIs during the World Series Cup. His top score was 55, but he was omitted from the team for the finals.

Selected for the Ashes tour of England in 1985, Boon's batting disappointed. He struggled to cope with spin bowling due to slow footwork and passed fifty only once in the first four Tests. He was subsequently omitted from the side for the last two Tests in the series. Australia lost the series 1–3. Returning to the team for the 1985–86 Test series against New Zealand, Boon batted at number three and top-scored with 81 in the second innings of the second Test at Sydney as Australia successfully chased a target of 260 to win. However, this series was lost as well.

Promoted to opener

Australia had long-standing problems finding a successful pair of opening batsmen. After Kepler Wessels quit the team mid-summer, Boon was promoted to open with debutant Geoff Marsh for the Test series against India. He responded with his first Test century, 123 from 255 balls, in his debut in the position at Adelaide. Together with Marsh, Boon gave the Australian upper-order a stability it had not had for many years. In the third Test of the series at Sydney, he consolidated his position with an innings of 131. Despite this newly-found batting solidity, Australia struggled in the series and drew all three Tests. Boon was also tried as an opener in the World Series Cup and made four half-centuries in twelve innings as Australia won the tournament for the first time in three years. On the following tour of New Zealand, Boon carried his bat for 58 not out in a total of 103 in the third Test at Auckland, which Australia lost.

Boon began the 1986 tour of India with a century in the Tied Test at Chennai and averaged 65 in another drawn series. He hit his maiden ODI century, 111 from 118 balls, in the first match of the series at Jaipur. However, he suffered a setback during the 1986–87 Ashes series when he lost form and was dropped after four Tests despite scoring 103 in the first innings at Adelaide. He was also omitted from the ODI team. At this stage, Australia was achieving very little and Boon had played in three winning teams in 23 Tests.

Player of the final: 1987 World Cup

Boon returned to the ODI team for the Sharjah Cup tournament in the UAE during April 1987. Although Australia lost all three matches, Boon had scores of 71, 62 and 73, which secured his place for the fourth World Cup, held in India and Pakistan later in the year. His 447 runs (at 55.87 average) was a major contribution to Australia's first World Cup victory. In the semi-final, he made 65 at Lahore against Pakistan and won the player of the match award in the final at Kolkatta for his 75 from 125 balls.[4]

The selectors persevered with Boon as a Test opener and he hit 143 from 255 balls when recalled for the first Test against New Zealand at Brisbane in late 1987. His ability to negate the bowling of Kiwi fast bowler Richard Hadlee contributed greatly to Australia winning its first Test series in four years. Against Sri Lanka at the Adelaide Oval he hit his highest ODI score of 122 (from 130 balls)[5] and made 47 and 43 in the two finals of the World Series Cup, when Australia again defeated New Zealand. In January 1988, he made a fighting 184 not out in the second innings of the Bicentennial Test at Sydney to extricate Australia from a potentially match-losing position. He received the player of the match award[6] and was voted international cricketer of the year.

Back to number three

Boon was less conspicuous during a tour of Pakistan and the home Test against the West Indies, until he hit 149 in the fourth Test against the West Indies at Sydney. His ODI form also hit a slump, and he contributed only one major innings in the World Series Cup, 71 against the West Indies at Sydney. Australia lost both Test series and the World Series. However, the team finally found sustained success, beginning with the 1989 tour of England. Boon returned to the number three position when Mark Taylor was brought into the team to partner Geoff Marsh. Boon compiled 442 runs 55.25, without making a century, as Australia regained the Ashes by 4–0. His best score was 94 at Lord's.

Temporarily returned to the opening position to cover an injury to Marsh, Boon's 1989–90 season was mixed. In a one-off Test against New Zealand at Perth, he hit his only Test double century, 200 (from 361 balls) out of 361 runs added while he was at the wicket. However, three of his next five Test innings were ducks, beginning a run of 12 consecutive innings when he failed to make a half-century. Boon broke this run with an important innings of 94 not out in the second Ashes Test in 1990–91. He guided Australia to a victory target of 197 runs after the team began at a shaky 2/10. Dismissed for 97 by the part time bowling of Graham Gooch in the following Test, Boon made amends with 121 in the second innings at Adelaide. He was the leading batsman of the series, scoring 530 at an average of 75.71.[7]

Leading batsman

He began the 1991 series against the West Indies with a brave 109 not out in the first Test at Jamaica. However, he could not sustain his form against the West Indian pace bowlers and made only one half-century in the remaining eight innings of the series. Boon dominated the 1991–92 summer, scoring three Test centuries in his 556 runs (average 79.42) against India. He was consistent rather than spectacular on the tour of Sri Lanka. In the first Test against West Indies at Brisbane in 1992–93, Boon scored 48 and 111. His batting against the Caribbean fast attack demonstrated that he was now Australia's best batsman. In England in 1993, he hit centuries in three consecutive Tests, at Lord's, Nottingham and Leeds.

Boon's 106 against New Zealand in 1993–94 was the first century by a Tasmanian in a Test played in Hobart. He played thirteen consecutive Test innings in double figures, including scores of 83 and 96 on the tour of South Africa in 1994, before scoring 114 not out in the first Test against Pakistan at Karachi in Mark Taylor's first Test as captain. Although Boon was senior to Taylor in the team and had captained Tasmania for a number of seasons, he was never seriously considered to replace Allan Border as the team's captain.

Waning form

After scoring 41 and 131 in the second Ashes Test of 1994–95, Boon's form began to wane. As a member of the team that won back the Frank Worrell Trophy in the Caribbean in 1995, he made one half-century (67 at Antigua) in six innings. In the 1995–96 series against Pakistan, he made 110 runs in five innings as speculation began to mount about his future in the team. In the second Test against Sri Lanka, he hit 110 and sensing that the time was right, announced his retirement from the game after the following Test at Adelaide. He went out of Test cricket with scores of 43 and 35.

Durham captain

Following his retirement from international cricket, Boon continued playing for Tasmania and signed to captain Durham in the English county championship. He led the team in three seasons between 1997 and 1999.[2] He played the last of his 139 first-class games for Tasmania in the 1998–99 season, in which he scored 9,077 runs at 41.44 average with 22 centuries. In all he led Tasmania 57 times for 13 wins and 25 losses.[8]

After cricket

Boon is currently a member of the Cricket Australia selection board, along with Merv Hughes, Andrew Hilditch and the newly appointed Jamie Cox.

Nicknamed 'Boony', the stocky, moustached batsman became something of a cult figure for his colourful character.

He was famously idolised by the ABC comedy show The Late Show in a segment called The Oz Brothers. Played by Santo Cilauro and Rob Sitch, Gavin and Neville Oz were quintessential Aussie cricket fans who would face Launceston and pray to Boon, chanting "Legend... Legend... Dead-set legend".

The Billy Birmingham series "Wired World of Sports" also poked fun at his Tasmanian origins and usual fielding position with the pretend Richie Benaud voice saying "Australia then brought on a short backward square... David Boon, the 5 foot 2 Tasmanian with the flared pants was the perfect choice"

Drinking

He famously vomited on the Adelaide Oval in a WSC game in 1988 before a live national television audience of millions (he went on to make 122 and win Man Of The Match). He has also been popular for his drinking exploits and singing of team songs.

Boon achieved much fame and notoriety for consuming 52 cans of beer on a flight from Sydney to London before the victorious 1989 Ashes tour that saw Australia regain the trophy after five years of English dominance; the previous record had been held by Rod Marsh, who it is believed consumed 45 drinks (before Boon, the Australian drinking record included a standard spirit and mixer, although there is conjecture as to whether Marsh actually finished can #45, and some believe his attempt only equalled the record of 44 cans set by Doug Walters. Another passionate report of said record claims Boon finished 54 drinks totalling around 19.5 litres of beverages @ 5% alcohol (per 375ml serve), the majority of which consumed at such an altitude that the effects of the alcohol were doubled [9]. Boon is often jokingly referred to as the "Keg on Legs" [10 ] not only because of his legendary drinking exploits, but also for his "fireplug" build and stature, and dogged, iconoclastic batting displays. He is a unique interview guest, often giving short, clipped, amiable answers to every question.

In recent times, he became the face of Victoria Bitter (VB) beer for its 2005/06 & 2006/07 summer advertising campaigns, called Boonanza. Part of the promotion was the sale of a talking David Boon figurine with purchases of beer, which would make comments when prompted by Channel Nine commentary.

The promotion caused some controversy. One health expert claimed it was a "..a dog-whistle marketing strategy directed at the heavy-drinking, sporting public that says, 'Go for it'." [11]

As of August 2007, for the 2007/8 Australian cricket series, Shane Warne has taken over as VB spokesperson from Boon[12]. Warne also has a talking figurine as part of the new promotion taking over from the "Talking Boony" doll Boonanza promotion[13].

David Boon's career performance graph.

See also

External links

Notes

References

  • Benaud, Richie (1991). Border & Co: A Tribute To Cricket's World Champions. Hamlyn Australia. ISBN 0-94-7334-31-9.  
Preceded by
Brian Davison
Tasmanian First-class cricket captains
1985/86-98/99
Succeeded by
Dirk Wellham
Preceded by
Roger Woolley
Tasmanian One-day cricket captains
1985/86-98/99
Succeeded by
Dirk Wellham

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