It’s not just your skills and abilities that take you to great heights as a sportsman, but it’s also the impact and sacrifices that you make. Some play with remarkable flair and some lead from the front with grit. Allan Border was of the second kind. In Australian cricket’s darkest hour, he held the torch bright and ensured they were in safe hands once he left.

Gritty and grumpy, Border had the tough job as an Australian skipper to protect the Australian legacy and its way of playing cricket. While he protected his boys like a true leader of the pack, he never hesitated to give the boys a piece of his mind when they deserved it. It didn’t matter how big their stature was.

In this case, Craig McDermott, who for many years tormented batsmen with his lethal pace and verbal volleys, faced Border’s wrath. McDermott, nicknamed “Billy”, was a towering force at six feet three over the five feet nine inches tall Border, The flare-up happened ina tour match against Somerset, and the fast bowler fell casualty to Border’s temper.

It was Australia’s Ashes tour in 1993 and McDermott, the strike bowler was having trouble with his run-up at Taunton during the tour game. Walking back to his mark, he was pursued by Border who, from some distance called him out. The bowler pretended to not hear, but even the camera did!

Border, who began calling normally gradually began to lose it, as he called out, “’Hey, hey, hey, hey I’m f***ing talking to you. Come here, come here, come here, come here.”

McDermott’s casual glance back to the skipper didn’t please the man in-charge.

Border shot back, “Do that again, mate, and you will be on the next plane home.”

McDermott replied something which wasn’t picked up by the microphone, but not pleased with it, Border charged back at the bowler saying, “What was that?”

McDermott, giving-up like a school-kid responded, “Nothing, I didn’t say a thing.”

Pointing his fingers at the bowler, Border’s last words of the drama came, “You f****ing test me and you’ll see.”

McDermott finished with 72 for no wicket off 14 overs with eight no-balls, but Australia went on to win the match. Years later, whenever both the cricketers are reminded of the incident, they laugh it off.

A report in the Independent mentions, “After the game, Border made his exit via the pavilion’s backstairs, but McDermott paused to say: ‘Can’t you have a word with your captain without it being broadcast. This is 1993, not 1893.’