In the wake of Australia’s dominant 10 wicket victory at the Gabba, we have been treated to the sounds of despairing English cricketers crying foul over the barrage of sledging they were forced to endure. While accusing the Aussies of a cynical and systematic attack upon their team, all-time leading wicket taker Jimmy Anderson and Captain Joe Root, assuming the role of victims, began their own organised and disingenuous assault.
Before we look at his comments this week, lets take a look back at what Anderson had to say about sledging in the wake of his infamous encounter with Michael Clarke at the Gabba four years ago.
I probably dish it out more than most on the field, so I generally get it back more than most. I expect it and I accept it.
What happened on the field is how the game is, and not one of our players or management uttered one word of complaint. I regard sledging, chirping, whatever you want to call it, as one of the weapons at my disposal. I think my bowling is helped by the way I go about things.
Jimmy Anderson – Daily Mail 01.12.13
Yep, that is Jimmy Anderson explaining that sledging is not just a part of the game but a big part of his own. He explained further that in his mind it was a strong tool to help unsettle a batsman. With this in mind, his comments this week were more than a little interesting.
A bully waits until they are in the ascendancy to pounce on people. That is what Australian teams do. They are quiet when they are not on top which was the case for the first three days of the Brisbane Test and then on day four they came alive.
Jimmy Anderson – The Telegraph 01.12.17
This is a new variation on a common refrain from teams who enter and lose a verbal battle with the Australians. Having spent five days trying to unsettle the Australians and having instead left unsettled themselves, the accusation is made that the Aussies are guilty of crossing a line that they’d never cross.
I think their line and our line are slightly different things, let’s leave it at that.
It’s not how we roll. It’s not how we operate as a team. I think it is very important we continue to play this tour in the manner that we have gone about it so far and that we don’t get involved in petty disputes and arguments that are nothing to do with cricket.”
Joe Root – 30.11.17
Upset at the sight of Steve Smith laughing at his post match press conference and at the Australian’s ‘strategy’ to unsettle his team Root, like Anderson, petulantly attempted to claim the high morale ground for his team. In Root’s mind his player head-butting another in a bar is far more palatable than said player being targeted verbally on field and his opposite captain laughing at a description of the incident. Am I the only person to think this is an absurd place to draw your line?
It wasn’t just the verbal assault that caused English consternation, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc’s hostile bowling drew complaints too. During the Gabba Test, understandably uncomfortable facing Cummins and Starc, Anderson approached the umpires about the short pitched bowling he was forced to face. What’s next, England claiming it’s unfair that Steve Smith is as good as he is?
What is most interesting about Root and Anderson’s complaints of a cynical and concentrated attack upon them, is that they are doing so in their own thinly veiled cynical and concentrated attack on their opponents. Having had a player taunted for having headbutted another, it is the English that somehow feel that they have been the wronged party. If it was any other opponent, the English response would be seen as sour grapes but complaints about Aussie sledging, regardless of the hypocrisy, is always given a free pass.
All that said, Root is right about one thing, their line is much different our line because you would never see an Australian team celebrate as smugly as this.
Tell us what you think? Are Root and Anderson right to complain or are they acting like sore losers?