Almanac Cricket: Bait or Barb? Marlon Goes Fishing

‘You know what it looks like, go find/fetch it’

  • The immortal, chewing sledge from Viv Richards to Greg Thomas (or Merv Hughes, or DK Lillee depending your version) after the bowlers description of a cricket ball Viv had whacked over the boundary after playing and missing a couple.

This is the sort of thing that gets bandied around by your mates at the pub to feel like they’ve got the inside word on a stratosphere they never will enter. The same way they riff on AFL infidelity gossip as if they’re a stonecutter-type member of the game’s inner sanctum.

The Viv sledge is hackneyed. Awesome, but safe. It’s legend. Dads tell their kids tell this cautionary sledging tale as they get ready to keep wicket for the Paco Central Under 14s.

Cricket banter swings on perception between the cruel and the sublime; Warney destroyed Daryl Cullinan’s confidence and mocked him brutally at the wicket. Courtney Walsh laughed at Funky Miller’s blue hair and half the SCG joined in.

Perception as reality means that one of these examples is boorish and the other is entertainment.

Similarly, perception is the abstract chronicle of the times; as the West Indies WT20 win celebrations ‘lacked class’ for some, ODI cricket was a ‘pyjama game’ at one point. Now there’s a billion dollar slumber party in India.

Money isn’t everything but there’s enough around for T20 to be taken very seriously.

Footage of the team entering the hotel to their adopted Dwayne Bravo Champion theme was shared around the cricket world. This is choreographed. This is thought out. This is lunacy. This is very, very entertaining. Alt Cricket summing it up best, tweeting …

For entertainment and engagement (eeeew!) this kicks the proverbials out of a weird black and white print of Boony in his jocks singing ‘you f%^$kn beeeuotae’ with a tinnie in hand at the back of a daggy captain’s diary.

This is modern cricket media, boorish or entertaining, like it or not.

Kids dance to champion, men danced to this and women are dancing after a West Indies win that proves the women’s game is catching the Southern Stars and beginning to flourish internationally.

The huddles of international cricket and its closed dressing room doors had been blasted open by the West Indian celebrations. We got an insight to the passion of a team many dismissed as uninterested at best.

Marlon Samuels went right off the deep end. He potted Ben Stokes on the pitch and Shane Warne on the dais. He’d gone running to the English dugout to remove his shirt after a verbal stoush in the last over.

Early in his career, a teenage Marlon had been a recipient of a piece of Steve Waugh’s lucky red towel, so taken was Tugga with Samuel’s raw teenage talent. The irony that ol’ Steve didn’t mind a chirp I’m sure is not lost here.

The defiant image of Waugh asking Curtly Ambrose what he happened to be looking at on the 1995 Tour of the West Indies imparted the fight of the future Aussie captain to legendary status.

Richie Richardson managed to get the Australians offside later after losing the Frank Worrell Trophy, saying that they shouldn’t have lost to the Australian team. After some backlash, he later adjusted this comment to insert the words ‘on paper’.

Perhaps Samuels has taken that gesture from Tugga and run with it a little further than is tasteful for many after his player-of-the-match final. His salute send-off of Ben Stokes in a test last year was frowned upon by some, but lauded by English players.

Stokes himself seemed to join in the banter at the time…

… and has been described by teammates as one that needs a battle to get into the game. Samuels agreed that he also likes chasing bait to get his juices flowing as he raised his padded legs to the post-match desk, dragging his swag to journalists that have found him hard to take.

His chest panted with a raised heart rate, adrenaline coursing after the most remarkable finish to a game since the first tied test in Brisbane some 55 years earlier.

The show continued and Marlon got stuck in to Warney and Stokes after Darren Sammy had (rightly) taken exception to being told his side ‘lacked brains’ by Mark Nicholas. Samuels had plenty to say and wanted to keep going at interview’s end.

After the affected commentary of Marlon Samuels Australian Test batting as being ‘embarrassing’ by Warne on Channel 9, Samuels has grounds to be miffed. The pair have history and Warne’s commentary was hardly impartial.

Here though Samuels was letting the planet have it after his cricket had got plenty of grubby attention and he’d won. His reaction was raw and unchecked. Somewhere between sublime catharsis, and turgid gracelessness.

Despite many an adverse reaction to Samuels diatribe, the man himself played a straightish bat.

‘Well played, Marlon’

I guess Warney and Marlon can agree on a couple of things; what’s said on the field, sounds better when retold by others at the pub.

Patrick Patterson met Don Bradman in the rooms after Merv Hughes had made 75 in Adelaide. He was taken with how small Sir Don was (at the age of 80). Laughing, Patterson said ‘You Don Bradman? Man, I bowl at you I split you in two!’

Bradman laughed back, ‘You couldn’t get Merv Hughes out. You’d have no chance against me, mate!’

About Dan Toomey

Dan Tooms lives in Melbourne and writes fiction on his tram ride to work. He watches sport happen around him and occasionally documents the antics of his cricket club. He produced and hosted Park Cricket Radio where he talks cricket in a pub and broadcasts it to anyone that is interested. He also drops in to Whiteline Wireless to call cricket live from time to time.


  1. Dave Brown says

    Marlon is indeed a game fish

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