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Steve Waugh and the Australian way !


State Regular
This article was sent to me and I think some of the readership in this forum may find it interesting. I personally feel that the writer goes a little over the top ..... Legglancer .

The miserable minority who
misinterpret the game of cricket

By Mahinda Wijesinghe

During the past few days, Australian Test captain, Steve Waugh, has been bending over
backwards in trying to justify the Australian style of playing cricket, which includes, as he
himself called, 'mental disintegration' of the opposition. That is, in plain, modern language,
sledging. Obviously these outbursts have been as a result of Sunil Gavaskar's much
publicized speech during the Sir Colin Cowdrey memorial lecture he delivered recently in
London at the M.C.C. when the Indian icon made an oblique reference to the Australians as
the chief offenders of sledging. The despicable practice of berating one's opponents on the
cricket field is soon becoming an art now fine-tuned by quite a few international sides and
condoned mainly by the Australians. Gone are the days when the fielding side a batsman on
reaching (say) his century.

Are people expected to look askance?

During the course of a speech made in Banglaore recently, Waugh, admittedly one of the
most pugnacious cricketers and, statistically, the most successful captain ever, declared:
"There is far too much talk of sledging. These days cricket is played in the right spirit, though
occasionally things do go wrong. And when they do go wrong you have 20 or 30 TV replays
and people come to talk about it." Correct me if I am wrong. When McGrath mouthed
obscenities at Ramnaresh Sarwan during the recent Australian tour of the Carribean, or in
February 2001 when Michael Slater argued with umpire Venkataraghavan and had words with
Indian batsman Rahul Dravid at the Mumbai Test - while wearing a black arm-band in memory
of Sir Donald Bradman who had died a few days earlier! - are people expected to look

Common clay and porcelain

Over half a century ago, it was Sir Donald Bradman who wrote, prophetically, now it may
seem: "I know there are many shortcomings in the way certain individuals play the game of
cricket. And because the actions of a miserable minority, some people condemn the game
itself...there must be no confusion between the game of cricket and those who wrongly
interpret it. Played in the right spirit there is no sport which is capable of developing mans'
finest qualities. Common clay must go through the heat and fire of the furnace to become
porcelain. But once through the furnace it can never be clay again. In the same way a man's
character must remain permanently enriched by his experiences at cricket" Merely wearing
black armbands and paying lip service to the memory of Sir Donald is not enough.

Killing the golden goose

It would also be relevant to remember that due to the deteriorating standards of
player-conduct, the Laws of Cricket (Code 2000) now begin with 'The Preamble - The Spirit of
Cricket' where, inter alia, it is specifically stipulated (section 5) that it is against the spirit of
the game to "dispute an umpire's decision by word, action or gesture, or to direct abusive
language towards an umpire or player......." In view of such stipulations I wonder how Steve
Waugh can maintain that cricket is played in the right spirit. Posterity, and more specifically
statisticians, will record the current Australian team as the most successful in terms of
winning matches but is cricket only about winning? Well, the Australian way seems that. Sir
Donald Bradman must be indeed turning in his grave. The modern cricketer is earning huge
sums of money because of the manner the game was played by their predecessors and now
the baton of maintaining the noble traditions of cricket have been passed on to the custody of
the modern player. It is a responsibility they have to shoulder for their own benefit and that of
future generations. If however the cancer of sledging becomes a part of cricket, sooner than
later, the game may lose its appeal to the paying public. They may as well pay to watch all-in
wrestling or **** fighting. Players who condone sledging maintain that although harsh words
are said on the field, when they come off it, all is forgiven and in the confines of the dressing
room a beer settles all. In other words, vent your spleen in public - where watching youngsters
would naturally catch on - and behave as a gentleman should in private. Wouldn't it be far
better if these roles were reversed? Conduct yourself as a cricketer should in public, and what
you do in private is your own business. Otherwise, the modern player would be killing the
golden goose.


U19 Debutant
Sounds like the bleatings of a man who is used to his team losing.

The Aussies have been playing the way they do, and talking it up on the field since Ian Chappell's reign as Captain - so what?

No-one complained when we were copping a few hidings in the mid 80's.........does anyone seriously believe the Aussies are the only ones who 'sledge'?? :rolleyes:


World Traveller
Well if batsmen get destracted by it, then there is something wrong with them.

I remember reading something from Neil Harvey that if players played up or sledged, they were dropped under Bradman's captaincy.

Neil Pickup

Cricket Web Moderator
I think the main issue with Waugh's captaincy and sledging is his apparent inability or lack of desire to take action when the team blatantly step over the bounds of what's acceptable.

McGrath, Slater...


State Regular
I tend to agree with Neil on this one. Waugh has given his players a license to behave like racist bigots and bully's and later dismissing the issue.

Cricket is a game of many skills, Thuggery is not one of them !


International 12th Man
Whilst I agree with Neil, I once read:

"There is no such thing as a right way or a wrong way, just results"

This is ture. Obviously within reason. Match fixing and drug taking are not acceptable, but if you stay within the rules and you get results, can anyone really complain? Well yes, they can, but in reality maybe those people just wish it was them who were getting said results.

The bottom line is Australia do things their way and they win. Maybe it would be nice if they were all a bunch of gentlemen as seen in the more traditional era of cricket, but at the end of the day they are the benchmark.