Woe to the vanquished

Tom Atkinson Roar Rookie

By Tom Atkinson, Tom Atkinson is a Roar Rookie

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    If I have any complaints about the Australian behaviour in Durban, it’s that they didn’t scream loudly enough.

    There have been some events that have transpired in Durban that have raised my suspicion. South Africa are playing their part in this drama, but no one seems to care.

    Over the years, we certainly haven’t aided our reputation with a string of discrepancies both on and off the field. Nowadays, irrespective of who the opposing combatant is, the cricketing world wilfully subscribes to their favourite narrative.

    Australia is the boorish brute of this gentlemanly affair, and everyone else is innocent. Australians are far from choirboys, but I suspect that each team gives as good as they get.

    This first Test has been shrouded in flared tempers and fiery sprays. The boys have really gone tooth and nail here, as all South Africans and Australians should.

    The preponderance of raw emotions from a player’s perspective remains with Test match cricket, despite the crowds. The Australian team have often let the heart beat the mind, but now the sneaks and crooks of the cricketing world are doing anything to catch the old convicts napping.

    The action began with the stump mics. The debate around their validity has raged since their inception. They’ve picked up some gold along the way, and remain an important part of Snicko (you said that in Richie Benaud’s voice didn’t you?).

    But the Australian team launched an on-field protest on the first day. The stump mics have been left on between balls to capture any crude behaviour by the villain touring side.

    Australian players cheekily started to plug their sponsors, giving free advertising in a space that requires deep pockets.

    I’m unsure if the stump mics had been left on for the Proteas’ innings to capture what Kagiso Rabada or Quinton de Kock were saying, but I highly doubt it.

    Next came the fireworks with David Warner. The barbs were being traded so feverishly that it spilled over into the dressing room.

    David Warner

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Who released this footage and why remains a mystery, but I can imagine a Kings Park security team member pulling a VCR out of his pocket in a dark alleyway and handing it to Faf Du Plessis wearing a disguise.

    De Kock and Warner had to be separated by teammates like a drunken nightclub fracas. Apparently, de Kock was swimming in such personal waters that Warner blew a fuse.

    I remember a shaken Dale Steyn saying he’d never talk to Michael Clarke again after what he said during a tour a few years ago.

    Steyn has done himself a favour there, but when the Proteas take the same angle it doesn’t receive as much scrutiny. The most interesting evidence here is that captain Faf Du Plessis fell short of exonerating his young charger.

    He admitted things got personal, which is presumably why he emerged from the sheds wearing nothing but a towel to calm things down.

    It is obviously a ploy to rev up the Australians because the rhetoric is they are the perennial savages of the cricketing world. They are like the drunken person in an argument.

    No matter how strong of a point you are making, you’re the drunk, so you will forever be tarred with that brush.

    Casting your mind back to the India tour of 2017, and even the India tour of South Africa, the behaviour from our adversaries was far less than exemplary.

    Virat Kohli and Ravi Ashwin scream from Himalayan mountaintops about how the big bad wolf Australian team belong in the naughty corner, yet rush at any opportunity to stir the pot themselves.

    In all these aforementioned series, there have been send-offs, sledging, tense press conferences and an almost cold war style of battle to unsettle the opposition in any way possible.

    The baggy green’s chequered history is undeniable, but the other teams that cry foul are not bastions of sporting morality themselves. Perhaps the only side that lay claim to that currently is the Blackcaps.

    They never seem to engage in any buffoonery, and go out of their way to be nice blokes. How can you hate Baz McCullum and Kane Williamson? I certainly can not.

    Vae Victis is a Roman saying that translates in modern English to “woe to the vanquished”. The phrase implies that those defeated in battle should not expect – nor request- any leniency or mercy from their conquerors.

    Well, I say keep the hellish fire burning. If the Proteas want to set up stump mics, release locker room footage, bait our players and make statements about our actions, then Vae Victis if we win.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • March 9th 2018 @ 6:33am
      Linphoma said | March 9th 2018 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      Not one party in the whole thing has come out and said “This is a bad look”. They’re all busy defending their actions which are nothing short of execrable.

    • March 9th 2018 @ 8:23am
      Roger said | March 9th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      Poor ‘straya’, we’re just misunderstood.

    • Roar Guru

      March 9th 2018 @ 12:11pm
      JamesH said | March 9th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

      Nice analysis, Tom. We’ve earned our reputation as sledgers, yes, but too many people are willing to overlook other teams’ poor behaviour to suit their narrative.

      Not sure anyone needs to be louder, though. Maybe just a bit smarter about it.

      • March 9th 2018 @ 2:11pm
        Marshall said | March 9th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        Disagree, it needs to be louder to drown out the gross misinformation perpetrated by many columns here on the roar and places like Cricinfo which buy into a false narrative that completely ignores reality and the wider cricket community/other nations.

        • March 9th 2018 @ 8:36pm
          Aaron Callaghan said | March 9th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

          I guess this might be un-Australian to say but I want both teams to shut up and play cricket.

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