Allan Border is in Bittern and the punters are buzzing. Cricket enthusiasts gather with their grandchildren while men of all ages gasbag about Test cricket, the Ashes and batting averages. The ‘legend’ himself is out front of Lifestyle Bittern having his photo taken and he just doesn’t stop smiling. This is a man who genuinely enjoys forging connections and chewing the fat. It’s December and he’s in town filming On Tour With Allan Border, which follows three groups of caravan explorers from three demographics across the country each week with Allan front and centre. When he finally comes inside from the shoot, everyone turns and follows – but with a welcoming grin he lunges towards me as if he’s about to hit a six. And this is how we begin.
“What about Victoria’s lockdown? I’ve been up in Queensland so have been watching it from afar. What’s it been like?” Well, we all know the answer to that one. Allan continues: “People always come up to me and say, ‘You probably hate talking about cricket’. But I still love talking about it. This being in front of the camera thing is a bit out of my comfort zone though. I’ve had other ambassadorial roles but it’s tough remembering your lines even when you’ve got an auto-cue. It’s hard to be natural.” Isn’t playing cricket on the world stage a bit like performing? Allan continues: “It’s different talking to the media at the end of a match. You don’t have to remember what you should be talking about!”
Most Australians of a certain age know who Allan Border is even if they don’t know anything about cricket. From a teenager in Mosman heading out to the oval opposite his home after school to becoming captain of the Australian cricket team, coach of the Australia A side and a national selector, this Cremorne-born boy knows he’s lucky. He lives with his wife Jane on acreage just outside of Brisbane, where he is quite happy to “get advice from the CEO”.
He continues: “Jane makes all the decisions at home. Christmas will be at our place this year and we are thinking of setting up caravans and tents. This travelling around Australia with a caravan thing has really got me thinking. I’ve spent a lot of my cricketing career travelling from airports to cricket grounds and not seeing much in between. I still travel overseas in my role as a cricket commentator for Fox Sport, but you know I’ve never even been to Uluru. Jane is just as keen as I am to get going on the road, but we are still novices as far as caravanning goes.”
An avid fan interjects with some stats from a game Allan played decades ago, and he responds with hands up in the air and a big laugh. “I’ve played so many I can’t remember what happened!” He’s not one to rest on his laurels and is thinking ahead, but he can still remember the day when he ‘became’ a professional cricketer. He explains: “I was still an amateur cricketer and was on a flight and I had to fill out a form saying what my ‘profession’ was. Well, I didn’t want to say ‘beach bum’, so I put down ‘professional cricketer’.”
Now perhaps a professional ‘Grey Nomad’? We’ll see.
Lifestyle Communities is proud to be a major partner of On Tour With Allan Border, which will launch on 7mate on February 6.