David Warner was fired up throughout the whole first Test between Australia and South Africa, aggressively confronting numerous opposition players, and giving send offs (something usually done by the bowler who actually takes the batsman’s wicket).
The tipping point was reached, however, when footage was released of Warner and South African keeper-batsman Quinton De Kock engaged in an altercation inside the pavilion.
Warner needed to be restrained by teammates after De Kock made a remark that we now know was about his wife.
In a holier-than-thou fashion that we’ve seen before from the Australian team, Warner and his teammates remarked that De Kock’s sledge was “a thing you shouldn’t say”, and “outright disgusting”.
The problem with this, however, is it seems to always be the Australian team that wants to set the standards of what is acceptable behaviour for the rest of the world.
Barking at the opposition as they walk back to the pavilion and mocking the facial features of De Kock – who is of mixed race – by allegedly calling him a “bush pig”, is apparently all fair dinkum, mate.
But when one brings up Warner’s wife, this is where the fun apparently ends.
This Australian team’s propensity to push sledging to the limit, then complain about the opposition overstepping the line, is losing them respect. Former South African captain Graeme Smith labelled Warner a “fool” after the incident, saying the Aussie vice-captain did indeed get personal numerous times with South African players.
Additionally, former England fast bowler Chris Tremlett took a dig on Twitter at the “5ft tall” Warner’s attempt to intimidate the opposition.
The South Africans must be quaking in their boots at the sight of a 5ft tall David Warner coming towards them acting tough #wellard
— Chris Tremlett (@ChrisTremlett33) March 5, 2018
The Australian team’s mysterious standards on sledging is so ever-changing that after the 2015 World Cup final, Brad Haddin actually scolded the New Zealand players for being “nice”.
“It was uncomfortable. All they were was nice to us,” Haddin remarked, adding that he told his teammates, “I can’t stand this anymore.”
This “niceness” from the Kiwis was perhaps because the tournament was only a few months after Phil Hughes had tragically passed away, and the New Zealanders might have wanted to show some decency to the still grieving Australian team. But, in Aussie cricket land, apparently that wasn’t received well.
The late, great Tony Grieg also questioned these double standards during the infamous ‘Monkeygate’ scandal of 2008, involving Australia and India, asking, “Is it okay for the Australians to shout expletives all day at the opposition” and then turn around and complain when they hear something they don’t like?
Greig’s point was that the way Australians behave to other teams may indeed be a breach of the opposition’s standards.
Sure, there are some things that should never be brought up, such as race and family illness. But if you’re going to constantly provoke opposition, don’t be afraid if things get spicy, Sonny Jim.