Sydney is not only the swansong for Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath; it is also the last Test for John Buchanan as Australian coach. And not a moment too soon, if his latest media intervention is anything to go by.
Speaking to reporters at the MCG this morning, Buchanan said Australia was hoping for more of a challenge from England, which he thought had played without aggression, self-belief or thought of challenging the opposition for large parts of the Ashes series.
“I’m hoping that they really enjoy the New Year, come back with a new resolve and are really ready to take us on head-on in Sydney,” Buchanan said.
“I think we’ve been tested at certain periods of time but England haven’t been able to sustain their skills through the course of a five-day Test match. We’re quite looking forward to that in Sydney.
Short of baring his arse at the England team bus, I can’t think of a more insulting thing that Buchanan could have done. As an Australian, I can tell you that I wouldn’t have been too impressed if Duncan Fletcher had come out before the Oval Test in 2005 daring Australia to fire up.
It is a well established rule in all sports, not just cricket, that when speaking to the media of your opposition, you speak of them respectfully, and give them their due as worthy opponents. It does not matter if Australia are playing England, Zimbabwe, or Andorra at Test cricket.
When it comes to religion, I am an atheist. However, I am a devout believer in the cricketing Gods, and I fear their wrath. Buchanan’s actions could provoke a powerful response.
And I give thanks to all the Great Cricketing Gods that this is Buchanan’s last Test in charge. I’ll miss Warnie and Pigeon. Not sure I’ll miss Ned Flanders though.