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The A to Z of Australian Cricket

Ram Kumar
2.70K   //    10 Oct 2017, 09:54 IST

Australia 1999 World Cup
Australia are the most successful team in cricket history

When one thinks of cricket, Australia is probably the first team to come to mind. With as many as 980 victories across all three formats, they have established themselves as the most successful side in the history of the sport. Be it attacking batsmen and astute captains or trend-setting wicket-keepers and relentless bowlers, the Aussies have provided countless legends to the game.

Extra Cover: The A to Z of Indian Cricket

Here's a glossary of all popular words associated with Australian cricket. From legendary players and epic tournaments to iconic stadiums and memorable catchphrases, the compilation encompasses almost every facet of the game

A: Ashes

Outside of 50-over World Cups, no tournament unites and ignites supporters of the Australian team as much as the Ashes. With an illustrious history encompassing countless generations, the fabled urn stands as the symbol of pride for the Aussies.

B: Baggy Green

The Baggy Green is perhaps the most coveted commodity in Australian sport. The iconic cap captures the fulfillment of representing one of the top teams at the highest level of the game. Even though T20 cricket may have captivated the audience and increased the lucrativeness of a player's career, the prestigious Test cap continues to be the ultimate goal for almost every young cricketer Down Under.

C: Chappell brothers

With their distinguished presence and indelible legacy, the Chappells make up one of the most venerated cricket families in the country. If the elder Ian re-defined the art of captaincy with his astute intellect, then Greg's splendid knocks were enough to put him in the pantheon of Australian batting greats. Despite not reaching the heights of his brothers, Trevor also made a handful of appearances in the international arena.

D: Don Bradman

Sir Don Bradman
Sir Don Bradman's domination of batting is incomparable in the game

According to renowned statistician Charles Davis, Sir Don Bradman's Test average of 99.94 remains the greatest ever individual achievement across all sports. The number has been confirmed, and immortali by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The right-hander's legacy can be discerned from the fact that the code words used by the Allied forces during the Monte Cassino ambush in the Second World War were 'Bradman will be batting tomorrow'.

E: England

Australia and England form one of the oldest rivalries in the history of professional sport. Apart from the eternal India-Pakistan rivalry, no other feud ensnares the intensity and passion of an Ashes series. Thus far, both teams have claimed the legendary urn on 32 occasions each.


F: Flipper

Introduced into the game by exalted Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett, the flipper is a deadly weapon in the bowler's arsenal. It is delivered from the front of the hand by utilising the thumb as well as the first two fingers. The ensuing back-spin can deceive even well-set batsmen as the ball skids sharply off the surface upon pitching.

G: Glenn McGrath

With a whopping 563 wickets at an impressive average of 21.64, Glenn McGrath is the most prolific fast bowler in the history of Test cricket. The metronome relied on his immaculate control to subject opposition batsmen to a relentless examination of technique and temperament. The three-time World Cup winner had a career as terrific as any cricketer can hope for.

H: Home domination

No team has dominated on home soil as much as Australia. They are the only side to possess a win-loss ratio of 2 or above in both Tests and ODIs at home. No Asian nation has come close to winning a Test series in their fortress. A tour of Australia is unarguably the toughest assignment in world cricket for all teams.

I: It's all happening!

The excitement and euphoria generated by Bill Lawry's iconic catchphrase remains incomparable, to say the least. The Victorian's tranquilising commentary added yet another dimension to the on-field action. Whenever a wicket fell or a catch was dropped, his uncontrollable exhilaration was palpable from afar due to those immortal words.

J: Johnson

Although it has been almost four years since the 2013/14 Ashes, the sight of a snarling and moustachioed Mitchell Johnson continues to haunt the memories of both players as well as fans of the England team. Seldom has a single cricketer defined the course of an entire series in the irrepressible manner of the left-arm pacer. His 37 wickets came at just 13.97 apiece as a shell-shocked visiting team were pummelled into submission.

K: Keith Miller

Having seen war time during his stint as a fighter pilot, Keith Miller reiterated the value of joy with his all-round exploits and endeared himself to the Australian public. Aside from being an exceptional bowler whose range varied from scorching bouncers to searing leg-breaks, he was also a dynamic batsman capable of entertaining the audience with his electric stroke-play.

L: Lillee & Thomson

Before the fearsome West Indies quartet spelt doom wherever they went, the menacing pace combination of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson set the cat among the pigeons. The dynamic duo stamped their authority on the game by battering a frightened England lineup during the 1974/75 Ashes and consequently entered into Australian cricket folklore.

M: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the most iconic venues in world cricket

When one politely enquires on the greatest stadium in world cricket, an Englishman may point to the de facto home at Lord's even as an Indian may disagree by anointing the imperious Eden Gardens. However, every Australian sport lover will stand by the incomparable atmosphere generated at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during the traditional Boxing Day Test.

N: Nice, Garry!

Nathan Lyon's transformation from a member of ground-staff to Australia's most successful off-spinner of all-time is nothing short of remarkable. Dubbed 'The GOAT' for his idiosyncratic charisma, he has carved a niche for himself with his workman-like bowling action and the accompanying twirling off-breaks. Matthew Wade should be a permanent member of the playing eleven just for his insanely popular chant of 'Niceeeeeee Garryyyyyyyy'.

O: Oi! Oi! Oi!

Although the custom was heavily borrowed from the 'Oggy Oggy Oggy' chant in Great Britain, the cheer is a common occurrence in any prominent sporting event down under. When the announcer at any cricket stadium shouts 'Aussie Aussie Aussie', the Australian crowd bellow 'Oi! Oi! Oi!' in unison.

P: Packer

Unarguably, Kerry Packer is one of the most influential figures in Australian cricket history. By spearheading a revolution through World Series Cricket, the media tycoon managed to shape the future of limited-overs cricket. The term 'Packer reject' gained immense prominence during the late 70s. When the dust eventually settled on the conflict between rebels and the national board, the fabric of the game had changed forever.

Q: Queensland

With as many as 7 Sheffield Shield titles and ten successful campaigns in the One-Day Cup, Queensland are among the top teams in Australia's domestic circuit. As evidenced from the likes of Allan Border, Matthew Hayden and Craig McDermott, they are a regular supplier of world-class cricketers to the national team.

R: Richie Benaud

Richie Benaud
Richie Benaud's flawless tone and immaculate awareness changed the art of commentary

In sharp contrast to the biased and pretentious experts masquerading as commentators in the current era, Richie Benaud wrote the manual on the art of calling a cricket game. With his silken voice and impeccable wit, the former all-rounder offered a soothing experience to those viewing the match. Before his glorious stint in the commentary box, he made a lasting impression as a stellar leg-spinner as well.

S: Sledging

Probably, sledging is the most commonly associated term with Australian cricket. In particular, Steve Waugh's troops popularised the theory of mental disintegration by verbally intimidating the opposition players. Even though quite a few players flipped the coin on them by getting under their skin, this aspect played a key role in underlying their ruthless nature.

T: Tasmania

Despite featuring in the inaugural first-class fixture in Australia against Victoria way back in 1851, Tasmania had to wait for 126 years before becoming the last federated state to get inducted into Sheffield Shield. The likes of David Boon and Ricky Ponting are among the most famous cricketers to emerge from the island state.

U: Under-arm incident

February 1, 1981 - a date which is enshrined in the ignominious annals of cricket. When New Zealand required six runs off the last ball of the MCG ODI against Australia, captain Greg Chappell made a mockery of the spirit of sport by ordering his younger brother Trevor to bowl an delivery underarm rolling along the pitch. The disgraceful incident prompted the custodians of the game to ban underarm bowling.

V: Victor Trumper

If ever there was a case of statistics failing to vindicate a cricketer's legacy, it was Victor Trumper's storied career. A modest Test average of 39.04 does not do any sort of justice to his greatness. On notoriously wet pitches where even the likes of Bradman would later struggle, he batted with consummate ease and produced several match-winning knocks for Australia.

W: World Cup

Australia World Cup captains
Australia have won five World Cups thus far

With a jaw-dropping five World Cup titles, Australia have comfortably been the most dominant team in the tournament. Their record in the flag piece event is reminiscent of Brazil's mastery at football's biggest stage. From Allan Border's side in 1987 to Michael Clarke's troops in 2015, the Aussies have relished the prospect of rising their game to meet pressure situations.

X: X-factor

Australia have the habit of producing cricketers with incredible flair and exotic verve. Be it Stan McCabe whose rapid 232 at Trent Bridge (1938) evoked awe from even Bradman or Brett Lee scything through batting lineups in more recent times, they seem to have an endless reservoir of players who can be slotted into the x-factor category.

Y: Yellow jersey

It appears as if yellow has come into existence only to embrace Australian cricket. The yellow jersey, which originated from the World Series Cricket, has become synonymous with the team's supremacy in the 50-over format. From 1992 till present, they have tried different shades and variations of the same colour. Yet, the essence of their limited-overs outfit remains intact.

Z: Zooter

Former Australian leg-spinner Bob Holland is widely acknowledged as the inventor of a mystery delivery called zooter. Essentially a variation of the flipper, the bowler releases the ball by using the heel of his palm rather than relying on his fingers. The ball floats in the air for a split second before hurtling straight towards the batsman. The legendary Shane Warne took the enigmatic delivery to the next level by mastering the technique behind it.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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