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Fat Lip

by | 20th, July 2005

‘“SHANE Warne ate my other banner,” says the placard at St John’s Wood station.

True to not, Warne still has much to worry about. Not only is his flipper not working as it once did, but Warne’s hair is sure to be the subject of much sledging.

The bottle-blonde bowler has completed a course of replacement treatment from Advanced Hair Studio in a bid to rebuild his locks.

What will be said to Warne, who now makes a sledging target as big as a sightscreen, is keenly waited.

But do not on any account feel sorry for the chubby Australian. When South African Daryll Cullinan was on his way to the wicket once, Warne told him he had been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate him. “Looks like you spent it eating,” Cullinan retorted.

Note everyone in cricket is a pie chucker – some, like Warne, actually appear to catch the things and then eat them whole.

When Australia’s Glenn McGrath was once bowling to rotund Zimbabwean Eddo Brandes he offered the delightful: “Hey Eddo, why are you so f**ing fat?” Quicker than he looked, Eddo replied: “Because everytime I f*** your mother, she throws me a biscuit.”

It’s pretty clear that in cricket, size matters. And that though Australians have a mystical reputation in the black art of sledging they are in actual fact not that good at it.

The best moments are when the target of the Australian mouth gives a neat riposte. The one-off remark has its place, but the come back is king.

When Botham took guard in an Ashes match, Rodney Marsh welcomed him to the wicket with the words: “So how’s your wife and my kids?’ Not bad. And certainly better than Ian Healy’s comment when Sri Lanker’s Arjuna Ranatunga called for a runner: “You don’t get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat c**t!’ No, you get abused in public by short and bumptious Australian man in gloves.

But however hard the Australians try, it’s the opposition that most often take the upper hand.

Consider James Ormond, who had just come out to bat in the Ashes tour and was greeted by Mark Waugh. “F*ck me, look who it is,” said one of the Waugh twins. “Mate, what are you doing out here, there’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.” Ormond: “Maybe not, but at least I’m the best player in my family.”

Helmet off and a big stare down the wicket to that. And to West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan. “So what does Brian Lara’s d*ck taste like?’ inquired Glenn McGrath by way of light conversation. Sarwan: “I don’t know. Ask your wife.” McGrath: ‘If you ever f***ing mention my wife again, I’ll f***ing rip your f***fing throat out.’

Of course the Australian pace bowler might not be as stupid as others find him, and may be deliberately getting batsman like Sarwan to goad him and so encourage him to bowl faster and with more aggression.

But such a ploy doesn’t always work. When during the 1989 Lords Test Merv Hughes said to England’s Robin Smith, “You can’t f**king bat”, he may not have meant it. But Smith was spurred to try harder and duly despatched Hughes to the boundary: “Hey Merv, we make a fine pair,” said Smith. “I can’t f**king bat and you can’t f**king bowl.’

Which all encourages us to believe that England can win the battle of the sledges. As for winning the Ashes…’



Posted: 20th, July 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink