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Return of the ugly Aussie cricketer

December 31, 2013

I started Ashes 2013 rooting for the Aussies. As well as England had played over the 18 months leading up to the “away” leg of the Ashes, I couldn’t hold them in the awe-inspired regard I’d held the early 2000’s Australian team. This was mainly their own doing. While the previous generation Aussies played an exciting brand of attacking cricket, this English team was schizophrenic, playing flamboyant cricket when on top, at other times, slowing over rates down to ridiculous levels to delay the opposition declaration. Not the stuff of champions.

Then Mitchell Johnson happened. As his usually wayward thunderbolts repeatedly homed in on English throats, you couldn’t help but feel some sympathy. But it was still good to watch the Australians make such a strong comeback.

ImageThen the nonsense began. With the opposition on the mat, the Aussies became a pack of hyenas around wounded prey. Clarke threatened to break Anderson’s arm. Warner spoke of fear in Trott’s eyes. Stokes and Johnson jostled, which is fine, except it was followed up by an unending barrage of verbals from the bowler and close-in fielders. Every Johnson spell, as incisive as it was, had the tedious contrived drama of a soap opera with batsman and bowler going toe-to-toe, f-words being exchanged liberally. Fielders chiming in to add to the schoolyard show of bravado. 

The message going to all kids starting to play backyard cricket, boorish behaviour is a part of playing good cricket. That any fastbowler worth his salt should look like he’s about to physically assault the batsman, and every close-in fielder’s job is to be in the batsman’s ear, threatening physical harm.

Pity the Aussies are sore winners. Now one can only hope that Steyn and co. and cut them back to size.


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