“Wait there, mate”?

Michael Clarke does it. Andrew Symonds utters it far too regularly. Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting have been known to do it too. I’m talking about a new phenomenon creeping into Australia’s cricket: appending “mate” to the end of every “yes,” “no” or “wait” call from the batsmen. Symonds’s laissez faire “nah, mate” was a particular lowlight this evening. Are these pampered prancers playing an international sport or having a Sunday knock around in the park? Granted, with James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood sending down wide after no-ball, it’s hard to tell the difference. But standards are standards; respect is respect and, with my English cap firmly on, I do not like it.

On a similar topic, I always enjoyed the calm, crisp calls from Mike Atherton – my hero as a youngster. There was no mateyness back then – oh no. Just a firm yes, no, or wait. When he really hit his straps, nudging one behind square for a gluttonous two, he’d call “running” to the non-striker which conveyed a batsman in control of proceedings. But still – there was no “yeah mate, two there”.

Outlaw such verbal sloppiness immediately, else ban Australians from playing any form of sport internationally.

NB: potential solution. We stupidly let the whole world speak English – we should’ve rented the language to countries on an annual contract. This is clearly a brilliant idea. Misuse would incur financial penalties and we, as Britons, could charge people for improper use. I need to stop writing this now.

Maybe Waugh’s got a point

Steve Waugh, not short of a word or too, last week said Australia lost the Ashes because they were far too nice and charitable to England and that they’d lost their aura. That as maybe, but frankly he’s missed the point.

Or has he? Marcus Trescothick, interviewed by Mark Nicholas, started a sentence with “Ah mate look.” Now, the more observant among you will know these three words, in varying order, smack of the Antipodeans. You can play state cricket in Australia for a decade; you can even be given the scared baggy green cap. But not until you use those three words in an interview are you truly accepted as having arrived as an Australian cricketer. “Ahh look mate” – “Ahh, listen mate” – “Look mate ahh” – “Mate look ah” – “mate ah look”.

Or maybe Marcus has been living in Australia during his exile…