In the words of the immortal Taylor Swift “the players going to play, and the haters going to hate”.
This statement is especially true when applied to the great game of cricket. I suspect Taylor Swift is a big cricket fan. So although I love cricket, when it comes to being a cricket fan, I am pretty sure I’m one of these so called “haters” that Taylor Swift so often speaks of.
When looking at Australia’s World Cup team I hate heaps of things.
I hate the high number of hitters and the lack of true batsmen in our top seven.
I hate how Finch decides to scoop everything up in the air. I hate Bailey’s average of 22.26 over the last year.
I hate Maxwell’s reverse sweep. I hate Haddin’s deteriorating keeping skills. And I hate the dependence on our all rounders to bowl twenty overs and our lack of spin options.
But on Friday in the lead up to the world cup opener I had a change of heart. I read an article titled Stoic George Bailey expects axe once Michael Clarke returns. I thought to myself “now there’s a bloke who’s entitled to be a hater”. This dude is getting ready to captain Australia for the first game of the World Cup and is being badgered to the point where he is forced to concede the likelihood of him being dropped for the next game.
And despite all this still manages to speak in a typically up beat George Bailey manner while praising Clarke’s recovery and the importance of the whole squad. What a dude right? But as Taylor Swift wisely points out, George Bailey isn’t a “hater”….. George Bailey is a “player”…..and “the players play and the haters hate”.
Unfortuantely becoming an actual “player” isn’t an achievable goal for me at the moment while I’m focusing on my sport blogging career. However with George as my role model, I decided I would become a reformed “hater” as a cricket fan for this World Cup tournament.
So the next day I enthusiastically put on a ridiculously bright yellow t-shirt and rocked up to the MCG with my dad, doing my best George Bailey impression.
The Australians tested me early. On the second delivery Finch scooped the ball up in the air through Woakes’s hands. I thought “that’s okay. He’s just getting himself going. Good positive intent Finchy!”
After Watson and Smith got out cheaply I thought “great opportunity for Bailey to play an important innings”.
When Ali bowled to Maxwell and put all the fielders back on the leg side, I enthusiastically thought “he should REVERSE SWEEP!”
And when Haddin took that spectacular catch and Mitch Marsh took 5 for 33 I decided a higher power was trying to show me the folly of my ways as a “hater”.
As I watched at the MCG I embraced flashing stumps and the awkward 30 second intervals of songs randomly picked from the last 60 years. I embraced the smell of KFC that overpowered the stands between innings and I savoured the taste of my Carlton Mid-strength beer. Towards the end of the game me and Dad wandered down to where the Barmy Army were and still there was no sign of the “haters” despite the lopsided scorecard.
As the Barmy Army enthusiastically sung we heard one nearby English supporter on his phone saying “unfortunately we lost the game ……BUT WE WON THE DRINKING!”
Couldn’t argue with that. In conclusion I had a great first day as a reformed “hater”.