The dictionary that sits on my desk defines professionalism as, in one of eight instances, ‘a person who engages in an activity with great competence.’
The comfortably higher profile goings-on in Australia may have allowed the following story to slide under the radar somewhat but, being in the cricket reporting business and having my name on the ECB email list, it registered on mine.
When the communique arrived informing of Ben Duckett’s demotion from an England Under-19 tour to the UAE, it immediately alerted what news sense this journalist possesses.
And although it couldn’t be doubted that this snippet of information made for a decent story, it was also a touch surreal.
A professional cricketer, dropped from a tour party because he, in the ECB’s words, ‘failed to meet the minimum fitness standards for selection.’
Now I say surreal because this requires more than one take.
A better description might be idiotic, or lazy, or, well, take your pick.
It almost beggars belief that someone in Duckett’s shoes could allow this to happen and it was only right and fitting that his actions were condemned by his employers.
We’re not talking entry criteria for the SAS here, merely a fitness test that a professional, that word again, sportsman should have little difficulty in passing.
Could it be complacency on the players’ part, or arrogance, or even diffidence, who knows?
But that isnt really the point.
Duckett is a talented cricketer, one that has been talked up by all and sundry since he appeared on the scene and one who Northamptonshire were desperate to sign when it was obvious that cricket was to be his chosen career.
However, dominating at your own level is one thing but it doesn’t guarantee much when you wander through the doors into the wider world.
Plenty have been in the position Duckett finds himself in as the very promising youngster with the world seemingly at his feet and plenty have gone on to achieve little in the game.
A committed attitude to your profession is the least you can offer and that will take you further than any abuse of what you’ve been blessed with.
Duckett has been given a good smack on the wrist that, if nothing else, should sharpen his senses and remind him of his responsibilities.
Silly, silly boy.