Postcards from the Sledge (1 of 10)

Beach, a comic artist, emailed me yesterday with details of a new set (Postcards from the Sledge) of postcards he has drawn and designed – and they’re absolutely superb. Based on cricket sledges between England and Australia (mainly), they’re unique to say the least and great fun.

Front Cover of Postcards from the Sledge

Beach has kindly donated a copy for me to review but, in the meantime, we’re going to be showing ten of them here on the blog, starting today, as a countdown to the first Test at Brisbane. A new one will appear every third day. Of course, you shouldn’t just wait for them to show up here…go and buy your own! Here’s the first:

And visit his site for more information.

The Dean Jones ‘terrorist’ remark

This struck me as the most stupid, irresponsible comment I have heard from a TV analyst on the game since, well…since for ever.

Dean Jones – an aggressive batsman turned chirpy, excitable commentator – said the following (which I put on CI…too tired to rewrite it, sorry)

Dean Jones, the former Australia Test batsman turned TV commentator, has been sacked by his employers, Ten Sports, after being heard calling Hashim Amla a ‘terrorist’ on live television during the fourth day’s play between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Colombo.

When Amla, who is a devout Muslim, took the catch to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara, Jones was heard to say “the terrorist has got another wicket”.

Even if this was said in jest, and there is no indication that it was, you can’t offer such flippant, racist remarks on live TV. Those that know Jones, and I’m not one of them, will no doubt argue that he is not a racist – and, to be honest, such a statement does not make him one either. It’s just bloody stupid, upsetting for Hashim Amla’s family and not something you would expect anyone in the public eye to get away with.

And he hasn’t. He’s been flown back to Australia immediately and has lost his job. Can’t see him ever coaching India, if indeed he wanted to, or working in cricket again.

Scott is going to follow this up in a separate piece some time in the morning. Your thoughts in the meantime are very welcome…I imagine this could go on for some time.

Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps: A Sledger’s History of the Ashes

Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps: A Sledger\'s History of the Ashes

Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps: A Sledger’s History of the Ashes
Published: November 2, 2006

This looks worth buying. Not out ’til November, obviously…just a couple of weeks before the series starts again, but could help you get through the long winter mornings with the radio glued to your ears (or, we hope, glued to Cricinfo instead…!).

Synopsis
The Anglo-Australian rivalry that began at the Melbourne cricket ground on 15 March 1877 has featured not just heroic deeds with bat and ball but also, in the words of one journalist, ‘some of the loudest rows, fiercest finger-pointing and most unpleasant facial hair in the history of sport’. “Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps” brings together the 500 wittiest and most wounding insults from 128 years of Ashes test matches. It shows the cricketing heroes of England and Australia to be as gifted at the coarse arts of insult and abuse as at the finer arts of batting and bowling – from the chilly diplomatic exchanges and hilarious crowd barracking that accompanied England’s controversial Bodyline tour of 1932-3 to the cruelly memorable ‘sledging’ of today’s game, as practised by such masters of the genre as Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath. The thrilling Ashes series of 2005 has whetted appetites for the next chapter in sport’s oldest international contest beginning with the first test match in Brisbane on 23 November 2006. “Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps” makes a tasty appetizer before the main course begins…

About the Author
Jonathan L’Estrange works in publishing and lives in Oxford. When he is not gardening, cooking or walking in the Cotswolds, he muses on whether the time might have finally come to subscribe to Sky for the cricket.

What’s a dill?

Ah, splendid. Wraye emails to reveal the two words Shane Warne uttered in earshot of the stump mic were “Fucking dill” and “softcock”. There’s a bit of a hoohar going on about the microphone, which has provided immense amusement to me and no doubt most people – but not Australia. They were unaware their poetry was being broadcast, and would like to be left alone to abuse and torment South Africa in private. Fair enough if you ask me.

What, though, is a dill? Because for most of my life, my brother’s called me a dill-head, dill-brain and a f****** dill-weed (in a brotherly sort of way you understand). I always took them as a compliment, but now that I’m significantly taller than him, I might have to take issue with the term dill!

Ponting the ‘smart arse’

Lou Rowan, former Test umpire, has branded Ricky Ponting a ‘smart arse’ and says he’s a disgrace to his country. Just put this up on Cricinfo.

“Ponting is a smart arse and a disaster as leader. The conduct of him and his players is absolutely disgraceful,” Rowan told Fox Sports. “He has no control over his players. It is an insult to former players and people associated with the game.”

Thoughts?

Sledging? By South Africans? Horrors!

Pat Symcox has come out with the startling news that there might be a bit of the old verbals in the upcoming Test series between Australia and South Africa.

He also says that the South Africans have a ‘cunning plan’ to deal with Warne, who has a record against South Africa similar to McDonald’s record against cows.

Bring. It. On.

Football’s own goal

Enjoyable piece by Jim Maxwell on his Ashes blog:

Comparing the conduct and behaviour of cricketers and footballers has won respect for cricket, as football opens its doors to more of the same histrionics that demean the integrity of the game.

Yes, sledging or the art of mental disintegration can be distasteful and unnecessary, though it’s occasionally leavened by subtlety or humour.

One of the outstanding virtues of cricket is the acceptance of the umpire’s decision; Damien Martyn’s leg before dismissal in the second innings of the Third Test a prime example.

Steve Bucknor erred in not seeing or hearing a serious inside edge, but Martyn took his leave, surprised but not hysterical with rage like footballers who have become perennial dissenters.

And then there’s the image of Andrew Flintoff consoling Brett Lee after England’s gripping win/Australia’s narrow loss at Edgbaston.

Lee reciprocated at Old Trafford, when a weary Flintoff couldn’t take the last wicket.

These chivalrous acts have revitalised faith in sporting ideals.

Football’s own goal has been a failure to address the ugliness of petty cheating and indiscipline. Moves aiming to restore order and integrity are occurring, with a structural review by the English FA, but that won’t come soon enough to stop players and managers from disrespecting referees’ decisions.

Shane Watson v Kevin Pietersen sledging

You must read this, from newish cricketing blog “Opening Fielder.”

Watson started giving him some lip (admittedly after Pietersen had put him 10 rows back!) to which Pieterson apparently retaliated with …”You’re just upset ‘cos no-one loves you anymore!” Watson proceeded to lose the plot similar to how McGrath did when Sarwan told him that his wife liked the taste of his “gizzy” on the 2003 Windies Tour. If you look closely at the highlights you see Ponting and Martyn having a chuckle with Pietersen acknowledging the good sledge as Watson sauntered off to fine leg.

Priceless

Steve Waugh: sledger par excellence

This is in my quotes database, and pops up every now and then on the right-hand-side…and each time I see it it makes me laugh:

“It beats Monday morning at Chelmsford – all tea and Pimm’s. The amount of times Steve Waugh said to me: ‘Enjoy it Nasser, this is your last Test. We will never see you again.’”

Steve Waugh: Sledger par excellence!

“Our behaviour is improving.” What?

I just don’t know what the hell to make of this piece. Ponting says Australia’s (cricket team’s) behaviour is improving and the “public perception” is changing. Well, call me naive, but who said otherwise? Is this all about the whole Warne/Adams sledging debate and, if so, is this an indication that sledging is going to become more and more of an issue in cricket?

I remember in 2001, or around that time, Rahul Dravid and Michael Slater having problems. And I remember Ambrose and Steve Waugh in a bit of a tussle a few years before that (although in fairness, Richie Richardson had to drag Ambrose away…well, he could hardly have dragged Waugh [batting] away). What else has caused the Australian cricket team to have this apparent perception that their behaviour isn’t up to scratch? Sledging has gone on for so long, it’s part of a cricket’s amoury.

How long before match referees monitor sledging and set guidelines for what’s proper or improper?