Victory stupendous, sledging unnecessary

Michael Clarke1

By Kersi Meher-Homji who is both happy and angry

It was a complete turnaround. After nine Tests without a win and seven defeats, Australia proved her critics wrong by triumphing in the Brisbane Test on Sunday.

It was not just a win. It was a stupendous, morale-shattering, sensational, 381 run triumph with a day to spare.

One of England’s top batsmen Jonathan Trott (3763 runs at 46.45 in 49 Tests with nine centuries, highest score 226) was so psychologically affected that he left Australia for home on stress leave. In both innings of the just concluded Brisbane Test, he was bounced out by Australia’s fast bowler Mitchell Johnson for poor scores of 10 and 9.

Johnson appeared like a Jeff Thomson reincarnate to put fear into all English batsmen as he took 9 for 103 in the Test. He was the Man of the Match as he also scored 64 and 39 not out. To the scarred Englishmen he appeared more like the Demon of the Test. I call him Tornado Mitch.

Australia’s opening batsman David Warner and skipper Michael Clarke were also the heroes as they hit winning centuries.

But they were villains as well as they sledged the England batsmen.

Why, why, why, I ask?

When a match is close, one may lose one’s cool and say things you do not mean in the heat of the moment. But there was no tension. Sledging when you are about to win by a huge margin with a day in hand is unforgivable.

I had the highest opinion of Clarke as a sportsman. But his telling no. 11 batsman Jimmy Anderson “we’ll smash your f***ing arm” was shocking. And so unnecessary when the Test was all but won.

I understand that Englishmen are not shrinking violets when it comes to sledging. And Anderson, I’m told, is as bad as any.

But two wrongs don’t make one right.

Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden said on Channel 7 tonight [Tuesday] that sledging is part and parcel of cricket, especially in Ashes.

What hypocrisy! When Harbhajan Singh had told Australia’s Andrew Symonds “monkey” or “Maaki” (we are not still sure), Australia’s journalists and spectators had condemned Harbhajan as a racist.

And the same cricketer who defended Clarke on TV had called Harbhajan “an obnoxious weed”.

But for Australia’s captain to tell a visiting tail-ender that “we’ll smash your f***ing arm” is perfectly acceptable.

Double standard!

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