Carl Rackemann and Allan Border celebrate Queensland’s historic Sheffield Shield final victory at the Gabba in 1995.
Carl Rackemann and Allan Border celebrate Queensland’s historic Sheffield Shield final victory at the Gabba in 1995.

A cold beer with . . . cricket great with Broncos tip

MICHAEL NUNN

THE Sheffield Shield final is this week and it's Queensland v the Blues.

The final is like home movies flashing in front of my mind - in 1995, it's Love's five centuries in 11 finals, 6/900 declared and Jimmy Maher's 200 in 2006.

Carl Rackemann took the most famous catch in Queensland cricket history in the Shield final that ended Queensland's victory drought.

Rackemann took 425 wickets for Queensland.

I sat down with the icon of Queensland cricket and talked finals, professionalism and leadership.

Your first game for Queensland was 1979 v Western Australia at the Gabba. What do you remember?

I didn't take any wickets I know that. I was only 19 and was picked the week before against Victoria but ended up 12th man. The next week against Western Australia I was in at the Gabba. I hit Rod Marsh on the head. Not sure he'd remember that but I do. We won the game that stands out too.

Qld's Carl Rackemann holds aloft the Sheffield Shield after winning against South Australia in 1995.
Qld's Carl Rackemann holds aloft the Sheffield Shield after winning against South Australia in 1995.

Five Shield finals and four losses before that great day in 1995. Did the four losses make it sweeter?

It was probably five losses because the last game of the season in 1980/81, two years before finals started we played WA in Perth. Had we won that game we'd have won the Shield. The loss in 1985 in Sydney against the Blues at the SCG hurt the most. We had so much against us in that game and we played so well, and it came down to us needing one wicket to win and they needed 11 runs and Peter Clifford and Dave Gilbert got them over the line. When we won in '95 that all sort of went away and you just focus on that. If I could relive the week in 1995 I would trust me.

I love those Bulls teams - 95-06 was such a great time. What made that Queensland era so special?

That '95 team had the perfect blend of old and young - you had older players, like myself, the captain Stuart Law, AB, Barsby, Jackson and Tazelaar that all carried some pain but then you had Maher, Love, Hayden, Bichel and Seccombe that were young and fearless. They didn't have any scars from the past. Once they won one they went on and won another five in the next 10 years because they had success and wanted more. They were able to stay together and keep going.

Carl Rackemann in full flight.
Carl Rackemann in full flight.

You've been through some tough times. What do the Broncos need to do?

It's hard to say from the outside but I really want the Broncos to do well. When Queensland cricket became strong we had been focusing on developing our youth. We had young homegrown talent in the team and we developed that attitude but we had those older players too that sort of kept it all the tracks. We had a young captain in Stu Law but standing beside him at second slip was AB. We had Bichel and Kasper but we had myself and Tazelaar showing them the ropes.

These Broncos players will come through this period. Kevvie is the right man to lead them.

John Buchanan was the first of the analytic coach. Was he a pioneer? How did you receive his changes?

I remember a game where I had bowled too many balls too wide or too short and I knew that so I have come off after the morning session and Buck brings me a printout saying I had bowled 32% of balls too short. I looked at him and said 'I know, I bowled them'. I think that data and information have a place. It's important. I think a cricketer's instincts can never be replaced. These days video analysis and data plays a big part in planning and it may help you but it shouldn't govern everything you do in the middle.

When I was coaching Zimbabwe, we were playing India in a Test match. We had a plan to get Dravid out. We had the data that said he got caught behind a lot so we went in with a plan. Heath Streak was captain and he knew it wasn't working so changed it with his bowler and we got him out leg before.

Would you play now in 2021 or 1980's?

My bank balance would like to play now. It would certainly be interesting. I think I could have played 20/20 and adapted.

We all had to have jobs away from cricket when I was playing because cricket just didn't pay enough money.

When I made my debut for Queensland, and my debut for Australia, I was groundsman at Churchie. I started off doing the gardens and then got moved down to work on the ovals, I was preparing and rolling the wickets and mowing ovals and I learnt a lot about pitches by making them at the school.