Who's Sledging Who?

By AR - Neil Harvey, the former Test cricketer and member of the 1948 "Invincibles" weighs in on the latest cricket-sledging controversy by declaring Ponting's team, "a pack of morons". Nice sledge, Neil. The controversy was sparked by a member of the Indian cricket team calling one of our finest players a "monkey" a racial insult which was witnessed by another Australian player. It has been explained that the insult was delivered in the Indian player's native tongue and only sounds like "monkey". The actual insult was "motherfucker," so I guess that's all right then.

Ponting wasn't slow to respond to Neil Harvey's attack on his men: "For some reason, I'm not sure what it is, Neil Harvey seems to be the hardest man in the world to please where modern cricket is concerned. He's also the first one that any journalist around Australia would ring because they know he is going to give a negative reaction to this team. And to tell the truth there is no one in our current team, and I don't think there's too many around Australia that actually sit back and listen to what Neil Harvey has got to say." It's apparent that Harvey is the Malcolm Fraser of Australian cricket.

Other Australian notables who have notably come down against their own side, are the Governor General who suggests our cricketers are damaging how Australia is seen by the rest of the world, and our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd: "While we should be playing the game tough and hard and all of that sort of thing, I think there's also a need to really take care of the fundamental courtesies and good manners. Good manners on the ground and off the ground has such a good impact on our other cricketing friends around the world. I think we've got to have a little bit of a look at this." That's some powerful oratory. "A little bit of a look at this," sounds like he's announcing another committee of inquiry.

Stuff manners - what I want to see is Australia winning and continuing to win. Not just by a nose in a tight contest, but to absolutely thrash their opponents. Test wins of an innings and 200 runs - love it! I want opposition captains begging forgiveness at press conferences, explaining, "We did our best, but they flogged us. Here's our OBEs back..." Batsmen whose middle peg is sent cartwheeling towards the boundary by a Brett Lee scorcher can stop whining about being called names out in the middle and instead find some extra protective padding for their second innings follow-on. I want to see Ponting with his mitts on the trophy crowing, "Thanks for the game fellas, but next time I hope our number 7 gets a bat".

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