Former Australia batsman Stuart Law, speaking on Cricket Life Stories YouTube series, recalled his axing from the Australia Test side after just one appearance, and the lack of clarity in how the selectors at the time dealt with his career.
Law was prolific in the first-class circuit, in both county cricket and the Sheffield Shield, amassing 27,000 runs and 100 professional centuries in a career that spanned two decades. Despite that, he represented Australia in just one Test in 1995, scoring an unbeaten half-century in his only innings, and was never picked again.
“I still ask Trevor Hohns, who was the chairman of selectors back then too, the question – why? And he said, ‘Well, you had to score runs.’ I said, ‘OK. Well, the captain declared on me, I couldn’t do much more than what I did’. To be honest, I wasn’t keeping out any player, I was keeping out Steve Waugh who at the time was one of Australia’s greatest, legend of the game.
“So for me to leave out guys like that, I had to be playing out of my skin every minute of the day, and at times when the opportunity were there, I didn’t score runs in domestic cricket. But having been told before that Test match, ‘Make it very difficult for us to drop you’, I don’t think I did too much wrong, to be honest.”
Drafted in as a replacement for the injured Waugh, Law, coming in at No.6 in the second innings of the Perth Test against Sri Lanka, was on 54 when skipper Mark Taylor declared the innings on 617-5. Waugh replaced Law for the next match at Melbourne, leaving Law with an unbeaten score in his only Test innings.
“They found it quite easy to drop me and not pick me again,” Law said. “So, it’s one of those ones. I was bitter there for a while, I got angry and upset, and probably lost a few friendships, a few mateships along the way. Unless you live it and go through it, you’re told one thing and something else happens. To me, I don’t like that. I don’t like being lied to, I don’t like lying to people either. I like hearing it straight.
“If I wasn’t good enough, please tell me I wasn’t good enough. I’ll go away and try to prove you wrong. But it was never that, it was always, ‘Nah, go and score more runs, you are nearly there, we’re just waiting for this, waiting for that’ … and when the opportunity came, nothing happened.
“So, bittersweet memories of my Australian career, and who knows, in time I’d be able to sit down and write a book and divulge a lot more information on it, and hopefully people get a good insight into what we actually had to put up with in those times.”