Aussie fans: a case study

“That’s a bloody disgrace, getting out like that! He should be ashamed of himself. Disgusting! What an idiot!”

To listen to the Aussie next to me (this was a rough translation – please add expletives to taste), you could be forgiven for thinking that Matthew Hayden had missed a full toss first up. Of course, the big Queenslander had just helped himself to another hundred on a blazing hot day in Grenada. From a television screen behind us in this perfect cricket ground, I could hear the commentator Mark Nicholas pouring forth his usual treacle, hailing the innings as a treat for the crowd and a display of expert strokeplay. Which it was.

Australian fans

Perhaps, therein lies the difference between winners and losers. A hundred wasn’t enough, even if the score was 220 odd for 3. Imagine if Michael Vaughan had scored 100, would we be berating him? Hayden also stalked off like he had just swallowed a wasp, before saluting the massed ranks of jubilant Aussies that had swelled the ground to a record attendance. I sat in the party stand for an hour or so until it got too hot for my pommy skin and I marvelled at how the ‘Hayden strut’ is so much part of the Australian male. They all walk about like him, shoulders back, chest puffed and chin forward. My favourite example was a skinny wretch built like Mr Muscle, who still tried to make the most of what he had, posturing about like Arnie in a street brawl. But at least he was fully clothed, unlike the Speedo brigade who hugged and grappled every time something went their way. Aussies are real men!

Joking apart, it was great to see a proper total posted. Shane Watson was the surprise package, playing shots that defied belief, all of them pure and proper. I was one of the many who couldn’t understand why the selectors kept coming back to him. “He’s like chopped liver,” said one of the Aussies on the boat, which I presume is a bad thing. However, and not for the first time, I was proved wrong. He was brilliant.

Ian Valentine is a freelance journalist blogging his diary of the World Cup for The Corridor

Matt’s cartoon view of England

From Matt yesterday.

Cartoon from matt

Blind faith of cricket fans

A Scotsman has sold his house to follow England in the Ashes.
In case you mis-read that, I’ll type it again. A Scotsman has sold his house to follow England in the Ashes. Here’s the big winner:

He got £180,000 for his pad and is now jobless, homeless and watching England get a pasting in Australia. It could only happen to a Brit. More at the Mirror.

Bath Dodgers to continue to taunt convicts

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!

From the TV cameras to the fan’s notepad

Someone working out required run-rates for Monday’s play! Classic

Win a Kevin Pietersen cricket bat

I get a disconcerting number of emails from KP fans; mainly female, mainly in love with him, or so they think. So, for his fans, you can’t meet him or speak to him via me…but you can win yourself a signed bat! [via Guardian Unlimited]