The Poms? Time we got out the full length mirror and had a good hard look.

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?

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Sean,
    All excellent points and I totally agree. That successful Aussie team was very difficult to warm to: they were admired but never loved.
    I hope most readers realised that I was being ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek with my comments about the English team.
    I never warmed to Glenn McGrath, and despise the way he is now portrayed as some sort of saint. As you rightly say, he was the prime example of someone who could give it out but could not take it.
    Matthew Hayden’s comments last week criticising Michael Clarke were pitiful, and summed up everything that was bad about him.
    P.S.: For the record, I actually still do enjoy Billy the bugler, but it is true that I cannot stand that singing of Jerusalem prior to play.

  2. Smokie

    Thanks. Hope you didn’t think I was taking on your piece. It was a great list and I agree with it. I still don’t like the Poms much, but thought it was time for reflection.

    It’s a bit like when we criticised racial abuse or drug use when overseas athletes did it, but when Lehman abused the Sri Lankans or a swimmer took a tablet here, we treated it differently.

    Expect to see a bit more ‘in my day’ from players of that successful generation if we continue to decline


  3. Sean I loved beating the Poms. I wished we could beat them 6-0 in a five Test series. I never wanted to show them any helping hand. I wanted to stamp on them for as long as possible; before the universe turned again (as it inevitably does). I hated it when some of our favourite sons went over there to help them. I can’t stand their apple red cheeks, their sloping backs, their close set eyes and horsey teeth. I can’t stand that they’ve copied our sporting academies and thrived. I despise their patronising attitude, their washed out platitudes, their pigeon toed gait that causes their hips to squeak with every step. I hate it when they seek and gain advantage.

    But you’re right.

  4. Dips – Good to see the Feinian blood still runs deep in the O’Donnell’s.
    Sean – I agree with your sentiment. I’d go further and say that I don’t give a fat rat’s cracker for Test Cricket given the greed and insularity of the ICC, CA etc etc.
    The low point of a low series for Australia was Boof (how apt) sledging Broad on the eve of the Test. Put like/dislike aside – Broad has been the player of the series – so we would embrace his ruthless antics if he was one of our own.
    We don’t need boorish, inane, self-centred rants from our failing leaders – we’ve got a Federal Election for that.

  5. Basso Divor says

    Good observation Sean, one should indeed take a long hard look into the mirror periodically, especially if about to cast nasturtiums.
    That aside, for the record; does a fat rat have (as Peter suggested) a “cracker” or is it a “clacker” or perhaps a cloaca? Maybe only Blighty would know.
    Anatomically yours,

  6. Divor

    An important biological point. I have always found the words “fat rat’s clacker” coming out of my mouth, but have heard some who go with the rat’s fat clacker. I note as well Peter’s alternative use of cracker.

    I am comfortable with those who go the other way on this, and feel we should embrace all those who use either terminology.

    However, I’ll not support anyone who says Cool McGool. Ths is a campaign I have carried on for years. The bloke’s name was McCool!


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