The Ashes: Really James?

If anyone was wondering why most non-Australian cricket fans dislike with a rare vehemence reserved only for the Collingwood Australian Rules Football club one only needs to look at the comments of James Faulkner this morning.

If you missed them here is a compendium of Faulkner’s quotes:

The way they batted yesterday, they chose to bat that way. If you’re 3-0 up there’s no reason why you shouldn’t push and try to be 4-0 up.”

“That’s their choice … I know the fans get a refund for their ticket today but maybe they should’ve for yesterday.”

“It didn’t surprise me. Any time they feel threatened they sort of go in their shell and play pretty defensive cricket. That didn’t really surprise me at all.”

This from a player who is playing in his first test match, who is yet to take a test wicket and in a series, no less, when his team is going to be on the end of a 3-0 thrashing. Really James? Does anyone think these comments are smart or even appropriate from such a junior player in the game?

Don’t get me wrong: I have a massive wrap on James Faulkner as a cricketer. However, these kind of comments smack of over confidence and more than a little bit of ego. Mickey Arthur spoke of the young players coming into the team having egos and pay packets not matching their station in the game and this outburst from Faulkner seems another example of such ego.

In a series which started with David Warner punching an opponent in a pub it now seems that the Australian team is finishing things with more vitriol not less giving the spectacle of Darren Lehmann’s comments at the start of the test and now these from Faulkner.

The arrogance of Faulkner’s comments would have been ok when Australia was a world force in the game and when the comments were coming from someone with the standing and career of Glenn McGrath. However, Australia is not the force it once was and Faulkner is the freshest of new debutantes.

Australia has lost this series 3-0 and has been outplayed in all but for the Old Trafford test match. Maybe it is time for the Australian team to shut up and focus on the cricket because this unwarranted sniping and egotistical commenting is not working and is only enhancing this teams negative reputation with fans of the game.

Shumpty’s Punt: Saturday Night EPL Multi

With no cricket on I have been looking at other sport to watch tonight and have found myself drawn to the EPL fixtures on tonight. I have come up with a small 3 leg multi from tonight’s fixtures that I think is a good chance of getting up:

Leg 1: Everton to defeat West Brom at $1.61

Leg 2: Stoke to defeat Crystal Palace at $1.85

Leg 3: Liverpool to defeat Aston Villa at $1.95

This multi will pay $5.80 for each dollar invested and is certainly worth a wager tonight.

As always, please gamble responsibly.

Cricket: Warne and the Baggy Green

What a right mess Shane Warne has gotten himself into this time. For those who missed the commentary last night Warne made two comments which, to summarise, were along these lines:

1. That he refused to wear his baggy green hat to Wimbledon on Pat Rafter’s request because he thought it inappropriate; and
2. He did not agree with the need to wear his baggy green in the first hour of play as required by his captain of the day, Steve Waugh and, indeed, saw to do so to be unnecessary in favour of his floppy white hat.

I have no cavil with Warne’s view regarding his first statement: I happen to agree with the premise that wearing the baggy green to Wimbledon is inappropriate and, indeed, an affront to the cap and all it stands for.

It is the second statement made by Warne that I do have a cavil with however. Indeed I have three problems with Warne’s statement:

1. Warne seemed to suggest that it was an imposition of Steve Waugh that baggy green be worn during the first hour of play. Obviously Warne’s memory has been pickled by the botox he has had injected or the plugs in his hair because the “imposition” of the baggy green “rule” was put in place by Allan Border and then picked up by Mark Taylor.

2. Warne suggests that he did not need to wear the baggy green to show his patriotism. The wearing of the cap was not a question of patriotism though to my way of thinking. Rather it was a sign of unity both in spirit and in purpose or at least that is what I thought it was meant to show. The wearing of the cap was a metaphor for the strength of the team and the strength of the team. Thinking about it though is it really a surprise that Warne would be interested in his own interests rather than showing team unity? This is the man who took a banned substance to look good on camera and left his team short for a World Cup after all.

3. Warne suggests that he did not like wearing his cap because it was tight and it gave him a headache. Come on Shane: you were a key player in this Australian team and you are telling me that you could not ask for a bigger hat? That sounds like a rubbish excuse to me!

I do not question Warne’s patriotism and I support his position on wearing the cap to Wimbeldon. The fact that he thought he did not need be part of a gesture designed to show team unity and strength is not a surprise given his past form on matters of team solidarity. That being the case, I have a simple question for S Warne: can Cricket Australia please have it’s baggy green cap back?