Big-mouthed banter between English and Australian supporters is set to continue despite hyper-sensitive ICC officials worried about racism.
The Fanatics and the Barmy Army yesterday both vowed to ignore “political correctness gone mad” and continue peppering opposing teams and fans with good-natured banter this summer.
Their comments come in response to suggestions the old barb “Pommy bastard” may fall foul of cricket’s crackdown on crowd racism.
The issue came to a head this week when an ICC report found “premeditated racist abuse occurred toward South Africa and Sri Lanka during the past Australian summer.
But Cricket Australia’s stance on Australia and England’s friendly feud is over-cautious, according to the Barmy Army representative in Australia Craig Gill.
“Where will it ever stop?” Gill asked. “‘Pommy Bastard’ has been used for years and years and it’s going to be used over and over again.
“As long as it’s said in the name of good humour and good banter no one is going to get upset.”
“Bring it on I say … we’ll definitely be singing about Aussie convicts coming here in chains.”
Last night an England cricket spokesman agreed, saying from London: “It would be more of a surprise if we didn’t hear it (Pommy bastard). Some of the lads probably see it as a term of endearment.
“One of the great attractions of an Ashes series is the fierce competition and good spirit.
“But everyone in world cricket is aware there’s a fine line between fierce rivalry and racism that should never be crossed.”
Which gives me the notion that I should distribute bars of soap to the Barmy Army when they come to Adelaide this summer!