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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Are Aussies Being Hated So Much?

It was the 9th of June this year. The day after Sri Lanka kicked Aussies out of the ICC T20 World Cup, in grand fashion. I wake up, and log in to FB. Lo' behold, my homepage is showered with status messages, link and comments about the match from Well done Sri Lanka to Get lost Aussie fags, and there was even one saying Well done SL for winning the greatest cricket match!. Really? A T20 match? Why? The funny thing was half the people who had put 'em up don't usually watch a match if their life depends on it, and knows shit about cricket. Alright, still let's say it's OK to put a message. But the thing is, on those days - before and after - we played a shitload of matches and nobody bothered to put up a message. We won better, harder matches in more grand style, but nobody gave a shit. But here, all hell breaks loose. Why?

It's because Aussies lost - not because we won.

It always amuses me the fact that how much people love to hate them. Seriously, if Aussies lose a game somewhere, even if it's not against Sri Lanka, people still take notice. Of course it is a common thing in all sports that people love to see underdogs win, but here it's not just that. Why, I wondered many a time.

For one, and perhaps more than anything else it is because they are true champions, me thinks. Everyone envied them, and even might have admired, but mostly secretly. I remember back then in Sri Lanka it was almost seen as a crime to support Aussies or say something good about Warne. But hell, I LOVED their cricket, the way they played and the fact that they'd play so fucken hard to win. Steve Waugh was, and is, my favorite. He was a real gentleman off the field, but a goddamn bastard on it. He'd play as hard as he could and a bit more, would sledge, let his bowlers bowl bouncers after bouncer at batsmen, and take many on his body just to save a game. What would he have not done to win one. They played aggressive, good cricket and took cricket to a new level where every one's still catching up - or rather trying to catch up. Now they have fallen to the 4th place in ICC rankings, but that's just because they've failed to maintain the standards they themselves set. Not because others went past them - they'd have a hard time doing that I'm sure.

I'm sure all the other teams wished they could play the way Aussies did, and since they couldn't, they and their fans hated 'em. I've talked with many Sri Lankans who hated them asking why and nobody has given me a satisfactory answer thus far. Some would say they brought spirit of the game into disrepute. Hell, I still am having hard time understanding so as to why cricket is considered the gentleman's game. Gimme a break. This is a game where English - so called gentlemen - bowled at Bradman and Co's heads to win the Ashes. At a time protective helmets are yet to be invented. Some bowled under-arm to prevent opposition winning. A certain Charlie Grippith of West Indies injured more people with his hostile bowling than the number of matches he played. A long history of drug cheats. Ball tampering. The list goes on. Or others would say they sledged. Really? Tell me a team who doesn't? It was just the fact that they were too good at it. Sledging was always a big part of cricket - it's just it wasn't made to look such a big deal back then. Hell I think cricket would be poorer without sledging. It certainly makes a cricketer tough bastard, which is essential in particular to be a good Test player. Test cricket is not for the faint hearted. If they sledge, get back at them instead of crying about it. Arjuna did it so well that they completely stopped sledging him. Sachin hit Warne and Co all over the park mercilessly, they never sledged him again. That's the way to respond to it - not whining about it. Or sledge them back, like Sanga does. It's no big deal, do whatever you want on the field and sort them out before you come off it.

Back in the 70's and even 80's, Windies had a similar team to that of the Aussies during the last decade. They too dominated the world cricket back then, like the Aussies did lately but they were never really hated the way Aussies were. Why? Were they particularly nice and all compared to the Aussies? Perhaps a bit, but not much. They too were arrogant and aggressive. They too played hard and took it to the opposition. They too were bastards, to put it simply. But why weren't they hated so much? I think it has something to do with the era they played in. Aussies were actually unfortunate to have their best team in an era of information, where cricket is seen live, there are millions of new sources and people saw things as they happened. Back in the day, only the people who went to the ground saw what happened, and still they couldn't really hear what players talked. No microphones, no close up videos. Disputes were there, but you had to wait till the next morning, until it was published on paper to know what happened, and usually things are died down by then. Not anymore. Now people know things as they happen, and one wrong word you say and you're doomed. Media and journalists played a big part in this making cricket a bit too professional game these days. And what with being the best team on earth and all, Aussies were at the centre of attention, and one word out of line and they were practically crucified. That was the difference, and boy it is a huge difference.

Today, Aussies don't get the credit they deserve for taking cricket to a new level, because of the way they did it. Or rather, because the others couldn't do it the way they did it.




  1. I think the Aussies have a long-standing reputation for not being gracious in victory. It's largely influenced by their apparent lack of respect towards their opponents and the attitude of the Aussie press. I don't any other team in recent times has had the same negative association.

    I agree that the Aussies play very tough cricket and it's a joy to see them play, but perhaps if they were a bit more down-to-earth about it, they wouldn't be hated as much. Judging by his interviews at the Oval I think Ricky Ponting is starting to realise this...but perhaps that's 'cos now he realises that his team isn't invulnerable any more.

  2. PR, I think I have to disagree.
    They may be a lot of things, they may get dirty to play their cricket, but they do respect their opposition.
    Perhaps one of the most important lessons, or even you could say rules, is if you don't respect your opposition enough you are going to be in trouble. And they do. It's just they take advantage or pansies, really.
    I mean, this "not respecting" thing has a lot to do with sledging.
    They are just really good in getting under other people's skins, and when they can't take it they make a big deal about it. Only few people, as I said above could get under Aussies skin, and they never really had trouble after that. I'd say, if they sledge, let them. And get back at them. Besides, most of the other teams do sledgin nowadays - our own Sanga is a good exponent of it and is well renouned for it. But he doesn't get the critisicm. Why?

  3. Actually I wasn't referring to sledging at all. Sledging is part of the mental game and if you can't take the heat then you shouldn't be playing. Every team sledges, whether they're insulting players' mothers or wives or eating habits.

    I'm talking more about how they behave towards the other teams off the field...press conferences etc. The body language doesn't give any indication of respect, apart from maybe when the opponent is England (or maybe India).

    You're right about disrespect getting a team into trouble, but in recent times Australia has had such a depth of talent that they haven't had to worry about that. With the departure of the big guys, that situation has changed.

  4. Well I don't exactly get what you mean?
    Press conferences? But that's also part of it. Just like in boxing where they try to put down the opposition before a match, here too they say stuff. But who cares? Words, is all that is.

  5. But what goes on in the press conference goes into the newspapers and that's what forms public opinion no?

  6. But is it fair, just judging them from that?
    I've seen enough time they actually respect the opposition on the field (and off too) if they are really skilled crickets.
    Like Sachin and Lara...

  7. Why Australia is/was hated may be due to reasons that differ from person to person. Sri Lankans hate them mainly because of what happened to Murali in Down Under...Patriotism may also come to play..That will be the weight of the nations against Australia. Also everybody loves the underdog, so the topdog gets all the flak. We won't get the exact reason. That is why you haven't got a satisfactory reason yet. Everything is subjective. Another thing..may be the West Indians were hated back in the 70s too. But like all things ancient..people have forgotten how much they hated them. Haven't you heard old people say "when I was a boy ...you could buy a whole rice field for 10 cents, the women were prettier, the grass was greener..."

    One thing about Cricket not being a gentlemen's game..Cricket is called a gentlemen's game not because everybody who played were gentlemen. It was because those who played it were expected to play it like one, and because of the uproar that can happen if they didn't. Take the instances you gave.

    Bodyline : Diplomatic relations almost stopped.(One team is playing cricket, and the other isn't)
    Bouncers : The Bouncer Limit in an over
    Underarm : Banning of the underarm altogether.
    Drug cheats : Well they all have been punished.
    Tampering : Don't know anyone who got away from being punished.

    We don't see an umpire being even mouthed off if he gives a wrong decision..
    If it was football, Billy Bowden would have been murdered by now. It is because of these things that cricket is called a gentlemen's game. The players are expected to behave like gentlemen.


  8. When it comes to why Sri Lankans hate the Aussie cricket team, the answer is pretty straight forward, and relates to the 1995 Test tour to Australia.

    They made our lives miserable, no-balled and boo'ed Murali, Hair called him on Boxing Day in that series, and they racially abused many of our players on the field.

    Spend a whole weekend digging up all articles from that series. Pay close attention to the articles from Sri Lankan papers like the Sunday Times and Island.

    Few months later was the 1996 WC. They refused to tour Lanka.

    Through all this Warne also called Ranatunga all kinds of names in the press. They bashed Murali through and through.

    Thats why Sri Lankans hate the Aussies. Indians have their own reasons. The kiwis have their own. The Poms have their own.

    They may have been the number one side, but its the way they played the game that leads people to hate them.

  9. Solomon, you've got a point there in the first para.

    Hilal, I think we both know this that not only Aussies, but most of the cricket world thinks Murali is a chucker. Yes they don't say it much but they DO think. Even the Indians and Pakistanis who are supposed to be our friends or allies. I'm not trying to justify what they did - calling Murali - or crowd's behavior and all that. But then again, maybe - just maybe it's not fair to hate the Aussies that much because of that? I mean, hell they played some brilliant cricket. After all, life's not fair and you gotta deal with it. Murali does and so should we?

  10. Sach,

    Nothing to do with just Murali or chucking. Up until 1995 Sri Lankans loved the Aussies. We admired their team, and we followed them intently. The Aussies were really good hosts to us through the 80's. That's a fact. So 1995 was the turning point. That tour and the subsequent tour in 1999 was disaster for Sri Lankan and Aussie relationships.

    I don't think everyone thinks Murali chucks.

  11. Well, not everyone hates Aussies because of the Murali thing. It's one among many, and to be honest they need to good ass spanking for that but still they deserve some admiration I guess at least for the superior level they played their cricket.

    But hell, seems this is another thing that you and I can not agree upon just like T20 or Sanath issue! LOL...

  12. I'm totally with Hilal on this one. everything changed after 1995. If you dont think that tour effected aussie-sri lanka relations, I dont know waht to say.
    and I dont think people hate aussies just beacuase they are soo good. that could be one of the reasons but not the only one..there are a few more "too good to be true" sportsmen going around in the world currently such as Tiger woods and roger federer who are much loved within the sports world. Their great sporting ability combined with great humility make it easier to like them..But Aussies lack that humility. I dont think any cricket lovers doubt their ability and skill. But that's not enough to love them as a team..you look at a team like SL or WI and then you look at a team like Aus and you can clearly see a difference..But in any case, I dont think Aussies honestly give a tiny rats ass. Plus when there's so much passion involved in a sport like cricket in Sri Lanka, you dont need a whole lot to get upset with a team...so I dont know why you keep saying that you are never satisfied with the answers they give. cos the chances are that you ll never be satisfied cos things like these are hard to justify.

  13. Anon, thanks for the comment.

    I did not say that '95 did not affect it.
    Just, the fact that people not just in SL but all round the world are reluctant to give them some credit. Just wanted to say that.

    Second, I know people differ, opinions differ. I just said that people don't usually seem to be having a reasonable answer to the question.

  14. Aussies are disliked because they win all the time. Nobody likes a winner? Same reason the USA attracts so much hatred.

    The Aussies have consistently been amongst the best cricket teams ever. Others have come and gone and have sometimes been better but the Aussies have always been good, not only in cricket but in rugger as well. SA was good in the 1960's (the 4-nil whitewash of Australia in 1969 for example), England were good in the 1950's and maybe 1960's. Pakistan/India were always a bit variable.

    The West Indies team of the 1970's and 1980's were a much nicer lot, although on the whole all teams were better behaved. The Aussies were always the worst - remember the countless Dennis Lillee incidents, which were shocking at the time? From the aluminium bat case to the kicking of Javed Miandad?

    The Windies team of the 1970's - to 1980's were amongst the greatest ever, next in rank to Bradman's Invincibles and under a captain who was almost as good.

    The Windies might have extended their run further if some of their talent had not been lost in the rebel tours of apartheid SA.

  15. Yeah man, Aussies have always been a bit of dickheads, that is true.

    But they played some fucken awesome cricket all the same!