Mitchell Johnson might take the plaudits for rejuvenating Australian cricket but David Warner has undoubtedly grabbed the headlines for the comments he made about England’s beleaguered No.3 b
Mitchell Johnson might take the plaudits for rejuvenating Australian cricket but David Warner has undoubtedly grabbed the headlines for the comments he made about England’s beleaguered No.3 batsmen, Jonathan Trott.
Clearly irony is not a word in Warner’s dictionary because it was only 6 months ago he was nursing a hangover on the naughty step following a drunken swipe at Joe Root in a Birmingham night club. Time and runs have appeared to heal all wounds and the Aussie opener came out swinging after their bowlers put England to the sword.
Three words England fans know too well
Unbeknown to Warner at the time, Trott was suffering from a ‘Stress-related illness’: a phrase that England fans recall only too well following the premature end of Marcus Tresgothic’s international career.
In his autobiography, Tresgothic bravely revealed the extent of his condition as he vividly described the extent of his depression. Since then other international cricketers have come forward and admitted experience similar problems, putting a timely end to the machismo stigma surrounding this illness.
Belatedly, Warner has since apologised for singling out Trott and Darren Lehman has guaranteed that all future Australian sledging will be witty and high-brow. The fact remains however that Warner’s outburst is the product of genuine animosity between the two sides that began when Stuart Broad refused to walk at Cardiff and continued to grow during that controversial summer series.
Taking away from the test
A sprinkle of DRS gaffes, a dollop of poor umpiring decisions and a healthy serving of Darren Lehman hypocrisy and the cauldron of hostility between the two sides is beginning to overshadow the cricket itself.
England are by no means innocent victims in all this. The Barmy Army love to boo their pantomime villains as much as the Fanatics and our media machine produces equal and equivalent bile as found in the Australian tabloids. But despite winning the past 3 Ashes series by ever greater margins, I don’t recall any England player deriding his vanquished foe in the manner of David Warner.
All I recall were the standard platitudes and clichés that players read out as if following a teleprompter. Yes, it was yawn inducing but it wasn’t controversial or derogatory. The Ashes is not a pay-per-view (in the strictest sense) and it does not need the slanging and the smack-talk that characterises other sports and drives their revenue streams.
Having been second best in a two horse race for 3 consecutive series, the momentum shift has finally allowed Australian cricket to indulge in a long forgotten pastime – bashing the poms.
However, unlike the 5-0 pre-series predictions from Glen ‘Nostradamus’ McGrath, which became almost a playful tradition, there is no absence of malice when Warner tucks into another abysmal performance by England’s batsmen.
Whilst Warner grabbed the headlines, it is important to remember that it was bouncers not barbs that won Australia the match and, despite the overbearing smugness, Warner did have a fair point. Mitchell Johnson put the wind up the English batsmen and Trott’s dismissal was poor. It’s just not cricket to say it in the media.
Image: Stephen Turner / Wikimedia Commons