Yes, congratulations Allan Border (applause, applause) for becoming the second cricket identity to feature in one of Crikey’s “Fantastic Gratuitous Ashes Promotional Tie-Ins!” (or, as we like to call it: FGAPT!)

The former Test skipper has been forced to resign as a national selector. He says he quit because of a heavy workload, but The Australian reports he quit because of a sponsor conflict with Cricket Australia.

Border has been signed to captain Australia in beach cricket this summer, playing a West Indian team captained by Courtney Walsh and an English team led by charismatic Graham Gooch.

The beach cricket series is brought to you by Queensland beer brand, XXXX, which is a problem for Border as a selector, given rival beer maker Carlton & United sponsors Cricket Australia’s activities.

Border has been connected with XXXX since he played, so the CUB cricket lovefest has always been awkward for him. But, on the eve of the biggest Test series for years, to toss being a national selector in favour of beach cricket? Next we’ll hear Border has been forced to stop dressing up as the Bundy polar bear.

The question has to be asked: is being a national cricket selector the best personal marketing opportunity in Australian sport? Fellow selector Merv Hughes was our original FGAPT! nominee for becoming the face of a men’s health campaign concentrating below the belt. Another selector, Tasmanian cult figure David Boon, has been immortalised in CUB’s Boonie dolls.

Fellow selector Andrew Hilditch must be giving his talent agent a bake today, and deservedly so.

Peter Fray

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