Yes, we cricket lovers in the stands could chuckle over that tangled delivery stride, which led to his endearing nickname, but it was serious stuff if you were holding a bat at the other end. A bag of 138 Test wickets at 27.46 in 34 matches attests to that.
He wasn’t hell-bent on tickling the funny bones of opposing teams on the football field either. He played for Melbourne in the VFL/AFL when the Demons of that era could appear in public without wanting to hide their faces.
However, shortly before his retirement from first class and international cricket, he began to make thousands of people and not only followers of cricket and Aussie Rules fall about laughing with his remarkable down-to-earth humour.
He hasn’t stopped entertaining Australians off the field ever since. One of the most successful authors in Australian literary history, Maxwell Henry Norman Walker AM started writing books in 1976 and has since had 13 more published.
They have sold more than one million copies with seven of them hitting Best Seller lists. For many years he has been a much sought-after speaker having given some of his finest and funniest orations in quite a few unusual locations including one in a desert.
But there is nothing out of the norm for Max Walker to speak at the MCG where he must feel like part of the furniture. Which is why he was not slow in accepting the Victorian Taverners offer to speak at the branch’s famous Boxing Day Test Breakfast last December.
In fact, it was his second Taverners Breakfast engagement, having been guest speaker 30 years ago. And it was quickly evident that Max had not lost any of his charm and ability to amuse.
More than 200 guests attended before the start of the Australia-Sri Lanka Test match and were enthralled as he spoke about his own Boxing Day experiences out in the middle including the Centenary Test as well as many Sheffield Shield matches and, of course, life with the Demons.
Not to be outdone, Victoria’s sensational young woman cricketer Meg Lanning spoke with confidence and passion about women’s cricket in Australia. Fast becoming the superstar of women’s cricket in Australia, Meg has just turned 21 but already holds a couple of impressive records.
In January 2011 at the age of 18 and 288 days, she became the country’s youngest ever centurion – male or female – hitting 103 not out off 148 balls in an ODI against England.
And in 2012 as an opener, this past LT Junior Taverner broke the record for the highest individual score in the Women’s National Cricket League, smashing 175 off 142 balls against the ACT Meteors.
There were more than a few people in the audience wondering whether she could hold her own in the men’s game. Maybe our Ashes team?