Thursday, January 10, 2008

Cricket Shambles

Ten observations on the cricket fiasco from a cricket-loving pommy.

i) Peter Roebuck is an unmitigated, pretentious twat and an embarrassment to my country.

ii) That 70% of SMH readers agree with him is an embarrassment to your country.

iii) The Australian cricket team is one of the world’s outstanding sports teams, if not the best.

iv) Australia play thrilling cricket (contrast the 376 runs scored on Day One with the torturous approach to batting adopted by the Indians) and have done more to pull the crowds back into Test Cricket than any other team.

v) Ricky Ponting is already one of the most successful Test captains of all time. 16 victories on the trot is not shabby.

vi) As a four-time tourist with the Barmy Army (lost all four series), i can safely ascert that every single last fan of this traveling band would give their right eye to see Freddie and Vaughny celebrate with impunity and grind our opponents into the dust if we could replicate a fraction of Punter’s success.

vii) We live in a world of hyper-sensitivity towards race. The captains were given strict prior instructions by the match referee to report any incidents of racial abuse. Ponting had no choice but to report the ‘monkey’ comment. He would have been slaughtered had he urged Symonds not to make a meal out of it. The Test has exposed the stupidity of this sensitivity towards racist remarks. Is it worse to call someone a ‘monkey’ than his mother a ‘whore’?

viii) Sledging is a part of the game. It’s not pleasant nor sporting and the Aussies are the worst. But now talk is of ‘banning sledging’ - the knee-jerk cry of the nanny-state. During Barmy Army tours, we sang this of Shane Warne, hoping it might piss him off and affect his game,

(to the tune of ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ - an old English working class favourite)

Shane Warne is a druggie
He should be in rehab
He took his mummy’s little pill
To try and lose the flab

He took it to lose some weight
From all the pies and beer,
But when the ICC found out
They banned him for a year

It didn’t work. Should the Barmy Army be pre-emptively banned? Is this discriminatory towards fat people or towards druggies?

ix) You never blame the umpire/referee if decisions don’t go your way. This leads to football. Umpiring a game of cricket is impossible, especially with wonderful TV technology to expose your mistakes. Surely all contentious decisions will now have to be referred to the third umpire. Far from holding up the game (which is the current reason the technology is not more widely used), they add to the tension.

x) Given the surprising support for Roebuck’s call to have Ponting sacked, i can only assume that Australians are becoming queasy about winning. Especially against non-white nations. This is not good for your long term sporting outlook.