Saturday, 12 January 2008

Ben on...ugly on the field/ugly off the field

Man, this Bolliline thing has legs. It seems to be the only thing people have wanted to talk about over the past few days.

By all accounts it was a bitter test match. But as Martin Crowe says, "Same shit, different day" – so the Aussies played ugly, it's cricket. What is extraordinary is that so many Australians are expressing criticism of their team (in their own way, by sledging of course). It's nice to see that most Australians don't measure Ricky Ponting simply by his batting average. However, I see more than just disgust at the Sydney test in this reaction. There is a sense of catharsis in some of the criticism of the Australian team. I think Australians are expressing a long-held disgust. They have finally had enough of the arrogance, bullying and hypocrisy of this team.

So hopefully the Aussies will tone things down for the rest of the series. They'll be back to their old ways by the time we get there in November though. Watching the Australian team in full ugly mode can be as hard to stomach as watching a pack of hyenas feast on a buffalo carcass, but it is just a standard scene on the cricket savannah.

India's threat to run home like a spoilt 10-year old because things aren't going their way is something different though. That's an ugliness that's far more damaging to cricket.

Remember in back-yard cricket, it was always the most annoying kid that would try to make up the rules?

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