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Being Australian: The Warner Way

ANALYST
Feature
623   //    13 Mar 2018, 12:50 IST

An ugly spat or just a counter punch from Proteas?
An ugly spat or just a counter punch from Proteas?



Tit for tat.

A proverb that goes a long way in explaining the current scheme of things between the Africans and the Aussies. This wasn't always the case in cricket but then times have changed and so has the approach of not so radical teams.

There has always been a way to play cricket for different nations and then there is this Australian way of taking it to the opposition.

Teams like India, Sri Lanka or South Africa have never been vocal in the field in the past. Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Kumar Sangakkara or Gary Kirsten had always focused more on the playing aspect of the game rather than talking. Times, though, have changed for every team where players like Kohli or Rabada play with their hearts on their sleeves.

This, however, has never been the case with the Kangaroos. They have always been a team that feed on sledging and take their game to the next level. Australian teams have always been full of characters who never shy away from throwing in a word or two.

Be it Waugh brothers, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke or Mitchell Johnson, they have never been short of players giving their piece of mind to the opposition. Ironically, they have had players dropped from their teams for not being vocal enough (for instance, Peter Nevill).

Over the years they have played this chirpy game and gotten ahead by getting under the skin of the opposition.

But then there is a flip side of the coin too. While history may suggest Australians being very good at mind games, they have often found it hard to bear the counter-punch. Not always have they found themselves in such position but there have been instances when other teams have given it back to them, their way, the very Australian way.

Sydney, 2008, India vs Australia Test is a classic example of such action and reaction. Australian players (Symonds in this case) were, in the end, left fuming and complaining about Harbhajan crossing the line. A few hurls from Harbhajan gave way to Monkey-gate, an issue which threatened to divide the whole cricketing world into two.

Australia have always been a team to beat because they are as good at intimidation as they are in executing skills. They are never going to serve a game of cricket on a platter. They will keep coming at you till the last ball of the game.

All that firebrand cricket and sledging are good as long as you take it the way you are giving it. Although it remains unclear whether it was Warner or De Kock who started the drama that unfolded very recently but given the past record, it is highly unlikely that the Aussies would come second in a competition of sledges.

Of all the players that were in the field, Warner always seems to be class apart when it comes to sledging, given the history (England 2013). Warner has, at times, 'punched' his way out of an argument but it's about time to take one and move on.

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