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Opinion

"We're gone, mate": Inter-generational ecstasy and agony as an Australian cricket fan

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Roar Rookie
26th June, 2020
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2575 Reads

I first noticed it during the famous Michael Bevan game, and I saw it again in India in 2001 and in England in 2005.

‘The Pyjama Picasso’ came in at 6-38 chasing 173 against the Windies at the SCG.

“We’re gone mate, she’s done. All over,” my dad says.

Somewhat frustrated, he turns off the TV and lumbers towards the bedroom.

This consequently meant that I had stopped watching the game too.

I shrugged my shoulders, and also made my way towards bed.

We found out the next day that things turned out a little differently.

Bevan hit a last-ball four and saved the match for the Australians, taking 150 minutes to score 73 runs.

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Chatting cricket with my father is an experience that I genuinely cherish.

No matter where we are or what is happening in the world, we can always drop it, put it to the side, and start talking the gentleman’s game.

But it’s not all smooth sailing, we certainly have our differences.

You see, my father is of the Waugh mentality.

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He relishes it when Australia is crushing the opposition.

He wants the opposing team to feel intimidated and futile.

Obliteration. He wants it to be implanted in their psyche for the next time they rock up to play in 18 months’ time.

Myself, I enjoy a close match – the unique blend of sportsmanship, competitiveness, concentration and professionalism that cricket offers.

As referenced by the example above, he is also extremely pessimistic when something unfortunate happens.

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A key wicket here: “That’s his last Test… should never have picked him”.

Long spells of the bowlers being belted around: “Why are we bowling this mug? They’re going to put 500 on us, the way this is going”.

If you listened to my father, you would think that Australian cricket is collapsing itself.

However, I never truly understood what my father, along with many readers on The Roar, went through as fans of Australian cricket in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

The so-called dark days of Australian cricket.

I didn’t know what it was like to watch in horror as the West Indies’ pace battery, feared around the land, ripped into the fragile Australian batting line-up.

It was enough to see Aussie batsmen come out of those games with their jaws intact, rather than see a dashing century.

Allan Border batting

(Adrian Murrell/Getty Images)

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If the Windies didn’t worry the Australians enough, you had very strong Sri Lankan (1996), Pakistani (1987-1992) and English (1984-87) teams breathing down your throats.

My only cricketing experience – my only cricketing reality – was seeing the Australian cricket team as the pride of the cricketing world.

Like the rotund German boy in Willy Wonka, I had grown fat drinking the rich chocolate river that was the Australian cricket team of the late ’90s and 2000s.

I watched them string a record-breaking 16 Test victories together and win three consecutive World Cups in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

I had the pleasure of watching one of the greatest collections of talent in history assembled into the Australian cricket team. I didn’t quite realise it at the time, and I took it for granted.

Maybe that’s why there is this collective amnesia when a thing like Bangladesh beating Australia in an ODI happens.

Maybe that’s why my father shuddered when he heard the news about sandpaper-gate.

He knows what darkness looks like.

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Have you had any inter-generational cricketing moments in your family?