Sport Cricket Boozed-up and boorish: Australia be proud

Boozed-up and boorish: Australia be proud

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It should have been a glorious celebration of a side that made its World Cup final win look easy.

Australia’s bowlers ripped New Zealand apart, making the form team of the tournament look second rate during Sunday’s final at the MCG.

Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson ripped through the Kiwis, dismissing them for a paltry 183.

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But it was the disrespect they showed to the departing Black Caps batsmen that rankled most.

Admittedly, when the contest is that one-sided you perhaps focus more on factors that would be deemed superfluous under the grip of a white-hot contest.

But Brad Haddin’s sneering clap-off of Martin Guptill, he and James Faulkner grinning like hyenas when Grant Elliott finally departed and Mitchell Johnson’s glare at Daniel Vettori were just plain ugly.

Brad Haddin and James Faulkner let Grant Elliott know all about it. Photo: Getty
Brad Haddin and James Faulkner let Grant Elliott know all about it. Photo: Getty

The Australians thoroughly deserved their World Cup win. They worked long and hard, and were clearly the best team in the final.

But there were elements of their victory that were deeply off-putting.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so precious. If it doesn’t bother their opponents, why should it bother me?

“Like everything, it’s a little bit overstated,” Daniel Vettori said last month of Australia’s banter.

“In my 18 years now of playing, I can’t even remember being sledged by an Australian team. I think the way that it’s portrayed is not quite right.”

But it does bother me.

It bothered me when it was Craig McDermott, Glenn McGrath, Ian Healy, Shane Warne and Brett Lee, and it bothers me now that it’s Warner, Starc, Faulkner, Haddin and Johnson.

Australia has been a powerhouse for a quarter of a century, aside from a few tough years here and there. With all that winning, you’d have thought they’d have learned to do it with a bit of grace (Steve Smith and Michael Clarke excluded).

The post-match interviews were also an embarrassment, however, although that was largely Shane Warne’s fault.

The messages children will take out of the World Cup final are that its perfectly fine to mock your opponent, and then drink 93,013 stubbies of sponsor’s product, as Haddin declared he wanted to do after the match.

Actually, make that 93,012 – after Haddin lovingly massaged the contents of a VB stubby over and into the ICC World Cup trophy.

You could make an excuse for Faulkner or Josh Hazlewood making a spectacle of themselves (both are 24). Hell, even captain in waiting Smith at 25.

But Brad Haddin’s 37, and with enough life experience to know there are more important things.

One wonders what Fawad Ahmed, a man who told Cricket Australia he wouldn’t play in a jumper that sported the ‘VB’ logo would have made of the scenes.

Or Usman Khawaja, another non-drinking Muslim. Or Peter Siddle, a non-drinking vegan.

Don’t they know this is the Australian way? This is how we do things.

Warne’s post-match interviews, probing the Australian players about how ‘thirsty’ they felt, were as relentless as his spells of leg-spin bowling, or his craving for attention on social media channels.

He served up this flipper on Twitter in the early hours of Monday morning.

The irony is that Warnie’s not much of a beer hound himself, according to Jason Gillespie’s book.

His interviews, like much of his post-cricket life, smack of an outsider trying desperately to fit in, to get noticed.

And as for Australia’s cricket team, well done boys. You should be very proud of yourselves.

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