Much as it pains me to say it, we have short memories when it comes to cricket.
The return for a brief period of time in the mid-2000s to Ashes cricket becoming competitive again restored our faith in the contest. Sadly, the tables are very much turned in England’s favour, and they seem to dominate now much as we did through the 90s and most of the last decade.
So what happens? Besides bemoaning the state of Australian cricket, wondering where the next batsman with solid technique is going to come from and getting in a tangle about DRS and the impact it has had on Watson, we have also got stuck into England.
Sure, their time wasting techniques are blatant and frustrating and the South African influence a pain, but aren’t they really just as bad as we were when we were on top?
I agree with much of the article on these pages in recent days that listed ten things we hated about the English Team and would probably add an eleventh, that their team are good and are beating us.
When we were on top, let’s look at the things we did, and what other teams around the world, not just England, probably hated about us.
We also appealed madly for nearly every Warne delivery that vaguely hit the pad or was close to a bat-pad catch when we were looking for a 5th day win. Warne looked shocked and amazed when any appeal went against him.
Matthew Hayden would cross himself after every century but was one of the most vocal, nasty, in-your-face sledgers the game has known. He once walked up to an English player and told him he wasn’t worthy to be on the same field as the Aussie team.
McGrath also was full of advice to every batsman who found him hard to play and was the subject of two of the finest come backs ever from batsmen who abused, once from Lara when he showed he could dish it out but not cop it back.
Brett Lee carried on like a pork chop with high kicks and chainsaw celebration every time he dismissed a tailender.
Andrew Symonds and Shane Warne both conducted celebrations on the MCG that went slightly over the top.
Basically, we played with an arrogance that came from success and brilliant once in a generation talent and went at it hard on the field.
We are getting stuck into KP, Swann and Broad, but aren’t we really just copping our own back after years of being on top? If these guys were losing to us we probably wouldn’t give a fat rat’s clacker about how Swann wore his shirt or how often Broad changed his boots.
I hate the fact that the Poms use substitute fielders and give their bowlers a rest in flagrant disregard of the rules. Broad’s time wasting techniques are blatant and arrogant. Cook’s captaincy is safe and boring.
But maybe what we hate is the fact that they are better than us, and they are loving it. Look at Atherton and Hussein in the commentary box. McGrath dismissed Atherton about 16 times, and Warne was as dismissive of Hussein as he was of Bell and Cullinan. They are living their poor Ashes careers through this current English team.
The Barmy Army used to be a pleasant group of eccentric sunburn victims who were here to contribute to the local beer sales. Now, we cringe and can’t stand their songs.
It took the Poms until Vaughan took over to get some steel. His refusal to offer Ponting help when felled at the start of the 2005 series was reminiscent of Border not being friendly on field with Gower and Botham in 1989. Importantly, both those acts followed years of being in the wilderness for both teams.
When we were kings, we’d sometimes look at an English player and pay him what we thought was the ultimate compliment, that he was like an Aussie and we’d have him on our side. Gough was one example, maybe Angus Fraser at a pinch, but those posh and pathetic singlet wearing Poms like Caddick, Giles and Mullally, not to mention Hick? Forget them.
Now, Prior, Swann, Anderson and Broad play hard, don’t walk, sledge and laugh at us.
Remind you of anyone?