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Opinion

Is the Australian cricket team becoming dangerously arrogant again?

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Roar Pro
13th April, 2022
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Once upon a time a bull spied a frog in a pond. Seeing the bull, the frog declared, “I will become larger than you!” Smilingly, the bull watched as the frog became larger and larger. With one final effort the frog took a breath and popped. The arrogant frog perished striving to become better than others.

This summarised parable displays all too well the folly of arrogance, the quality of having an exaggerated sense of your own abilities or opinions. It’s the opener who goes out and tries to belt sixes off every ball because he doesn’t rate the opposition bowling. It’s the basketball player who averages 50 points per game while his teammates barely crack ten because he doesn’t think his teammates are as good as him.

The reality is that arrogance exists in every sport all over the globe. Dominant individuals and teams tend to become more arrogant than people or sides that win close games. My biggest fear is that the current Australian cricket team is becoming arrogant.

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The team displayed arrogance by refusing to endorse their coach. Nobody with or without the resume of Justin Langer deserves to be treated in the way that he was treated. Winning Big Bash League titles with the Perth Scorchers, a T20 World Cup and a home Ashes series 4-0 and presiding over a drawn Ashes series in England is no mean feat. For some – probably only two or three senior players – to say in effect, “We’re too good for your ways and methods and want somebody who will cater more for what we think we want” is at best self-entitlement if not downright arrogance.

Langer’s coaching style will continue to be a matter of discussion, but the abrupt nature of his eventual resignation and the total lack of support from the team left a sour taste in the mouths of most serious cricket fans. It revealed that the players believed that they were better than the system rather than buying into the system to continue to produce greatness. They wanted I Did It My Way without being Working Class Man.

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The team also displayed arrogance through the way in which they mocked their opposition on the final day of the Pakistan series. Despite the media playing it off as simply ‘good fun’ from Usman Khawaja and David Warner, the reality appeared that it was a couple of guys mocking the batsman on his way out because they were on top.

While I’m sure the act was nothing more sinister than just having a go at someone, making fun of the way in which a person celebrates is either a sincere form of flattery or is simply arrogantly asserting your authority over them. Considering that the mockery did not come in either of the drawn Tests indicates that there may have been some kind of arrogance in this.

The new leadership style under Pat Cummins demonstrates that the team is supremely confident in their mastery of their respective games. While for the most part Cummins has led with and displayed admirable sportsmanship towards both friend and foe, the moments above left a sour taste and demonstrated that perhaps, insofar as his on-field work is concerned, Cummins may be getting too big for his britches and that attitude has rubbed off on the team.

It remains to be seen how the Australians play the rest of their series, but let’s hope it’s more the signs of arrogance so far are misleading.

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