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Australian Cricket In Crisis

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on January 21, 2011 in Other

I am a cricket fan. I have been an SCG member for as long as I can remember. I have missed only a handful of days of Test cricket at the SCG since I was born. I cringed at Kerry Packer’s cricket revolution back in the eighties and again when the Twenty20 slash and bash form of the game started making its mark in the ‘naughties’. I have come around a little to these forms of the game since but still see them as a smear on the sport rather than the game’s saviour.

Never have I worried so much about the state of cricket in this country then after this year’s Ashes series. But rather than the game itself, what concerns me most is the Aussie cricketers.

Given the popularity of the great game, it was inevitable that fame and fortune would eventually flow for its greatest performers. Unfortunately though, the two aforementioned ‘effs’ aren’t always accompanied by a far more important one – form. Yet still the bank accounts build.

So with all this money and nothing more than a bit of training and the occasional media commitment between five day matches, this new breed of Australian cricketer seems to have taken to spending time in tattoo parlours, having their hair done or dodging the ‘paps’ rather than putting in extra sessions in the nets.

The modern day Aussie cricketers all look so pretty these days. What happened to the Boonies and Borders, the Lawsons and Lillys, the Hughes’ and the Hoggs? Where are the moustaches, hairy chests and Foster’s filled dressing room binges?

Modern day cricketers like Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson are manicured to within an inch of their lives, painted with trendy tattoos and thrown around like handbags by their overbearing WAGs. The biggest feuds they endure are fall-outs with their mothers and flushed engagement rings rather than fiery face-offs with their cricketing foes. Most of them spend more time in New Idea than they do in the nets, for crying out loud!

Don’t get me wrong though, they’re not all nancy boys out there in the baggy green. Hussey and Haddin are a little more ‘old school’ and Peter Siddle has the heart of an ox. Even Dougy Bollinger shines through with the occasional bit of grit and a healthy sense of humour but given his hair transplants I fear that his appearance may be more important to him than his performance at times.

It will certainly be interesting to see what the ‘new breed’ of Aussie cricketers bring to the table too. Phil Hughes has been known to sport a shiny diamond stud in his ear, which has me worried. And I only hope that Usman Khawaja’s religious beliefs lead him not in too temptation and deliver him many runs. Thankfully Steve Smith doesn’t have a head that will make headlines any time soon so hopefully he’ll just let his leg tweakers do the talking.

In closing, I’d just like to put in my vote forward for Simon Katich to take over as captain once Punter gets officially punted. He’s given Clarkey a piece of his mind before, he’s a known performer when times are tough and I’m pretty sure he gets his hair done at Just Cuts. In times like these, Australia needs a bit of mongrel, not a precious little Pup!