Michael Jeh July 1, 2008

Minority rules

Their interest in the cricket, marginal to begin with, has now clearly been washed away with the last 12 beers in the hot sun.
29

Samir, with respect to your generous portrait of Australian cricket fans, I beg to differ.

There’s no doubt that Samir’s 'friends' exist in Australia, as is doubtless the case with knowledgeable cricket lovers from Mumbai to Manchester and exotic places in between. What I’m referring to is the loud, obnoxious minority, who by virtue of their sheer ability to make complete idiots of themselves, makes you think that they outnumber the genuine fans that Samir fondly eulogises.

There’s a pretty clear pattern though. In international matches, the behaviour tends to get progressively worse after the first few hours of play. Any early rowdiness, normally restricted to on-field happenings, becomes increasingly less cricket-centric as the day (night) wears on. The poor behaviour reaches a crescendo towards the end of the day before it easing off into a drunken stupor at the close.

This type of parochial Australian fan (who only care about beer, beer and more beer) are a particularly unedifying sight to those who’ve paid good money in the forlorn hope of enjoying good cricket. The mere glimpse of a $2 beach ball is greeted with a louder roar than the most sumptuous cover drive or delicate leg glance. If not for the giant replay screen, they’d miss all the highlights.

Then there’s the ubiquitous Mexican Wave. What more is there to say about something that is about as amusing as toothache? Round and round it goes, a shower of beer and food scraps thrown to the heavens and proud ‘high fives’ from a thousand oafs who would barely know (or care) if The Don himself had been reincarnated. Their interest in the cricket, marginal to begin with, has now clearly been washed away with the last 12 beers in the hot sun.

It is about now when the really clever ones start to come out of the woodwork! You know, the ones whose ancestors thought that “Hadlee’s a wanker” was our own unique contribution to literary genius. Twenty years on and nothing has changed apart from a few other choice insults to any foreign player who has the temerity to actually field the ball or inhale oxygen. Any foul-mouth hooligan who attracts the attention of the police becomes an instant hero, a modern day Ned Kelly or Robin Hood. Poor old Hadlee’s alleged personal preferences are now attributed to the constabulary and “Hurray for the Drunken Idiot” is adopted as the new national anthem.

Speaking of anthems, no one comes close to us for sheer imagination. “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” is right up there with the great poetic works of all time. When matched by the equally brilliant “Enger-land, Enger-land, Enger-land”, one could be forgiven for thinking that Shakespeare was nobbut an illiterate peasant.

To be fair, I haven’t seen enough international cricket in other parts of the world to know if this is a uniquely Australian trait or not. Perhaps a few bloggers might enlighten us with some salutary tales of national embarrassment from their corner of the globe.

One redeeming feature of Australians though is our ability to readily laugh at ourselves when the joke is reversed. At one of the ODI matches in Brisbane, a burly South African man wearing a Springbok rugby shirt was being mercilessly “sledged” by the local crowd. As the fast bowler was steaming in from the Vulture St end, the fans started beating the advertising hoardings in a frenzied call to arms. When the noise died down, our brave African friend stood up and proclaimed in a guttural Afrikaans accent, “don’t worry about the convicts – they’re just calling for their dinner”.

Once the laughter had died down, he was instantly swallowed up by a sea of Aussie supporters. No need to fear for his welfare though - he was last seen weaving unsteadily towards the Aussie National Pub, arm in arm with a dozen of his new best friends, proudly croaking “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie……..”

Meanwhile, those of us who stayed till the end of the game watched South Africa narrowly beat Sri Lanka. Australia play tomorrow!

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Stephen on April 3, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    Eh, I'm biased.Run gluts are one thing, but it's enhtoar thing when Jayasuriya's cutting loose. I loved watching him bat in the 96 World Cup (even remember skipping bits and pieces of the Ind/Pak QF to watch him flay England all over), and since then became a massive fan. This knock was literally a trip back in time to those days when he'd dominate the bowlers with slashes, cuts and some ferocious timing. It's great to see a legend leave a stage, but it's just as enjoyable to see a legend return to his old golden form for a day or so in his old age.[Then again, I'm a cricket tragic, so I really wouldn't have concerned myself with Wimbledon or the World cup either way.]

  • Evan on July 10, 2008, 16:30 GMT

    Its funny how different stadiums have different crowds and atmosphere even though geographically they are close. Families are a big thing about going to the cricket at Centurion with its large grass banks. Kids start their own games behind the banks on the "open" grass and rush back once a wicket falls. Wanderers on the other hand is much more intense with the crowd "closer" to the field and closer together. People at Wanderers tend to chat with each other while at Centurion you remain mostly insulted within your group. Some stands are worse for drunken behaviour as well - the worst is at a 20Twenty game at Wanderers on the open stand (read cheap) - I once made the mistake of trying to sit their but after the third beer down my back we went home instead. Memorial stand on the other hand seems to always be pleasant and nothing is better than a good chat during a rain break.

  • stanley on July 5, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    I was once at an ODI in Goa, India. ODI's in Goa are very rare. So going to an ODI is like going to a picnic! Everybody is excited like hell. Keeping this in mind you have to excuse the behavior of the crowds there. To make matters worse, there was early morning un-seasonal showers and it threatened to wash out the entire match. While the ground staff were trying their best to protect the pitch, the excited crowds had nothing to cheer about. Out walks Ajay Jadeja on the field. Now we have a swear word in Konkani (local Goan Language) which rhymes with Jadeja – the word being chadecha, which means Son of a Bitch!!! The crowd desperately needing some entertainment started chanting CHADECH!! CHADECH!! CHADECHA!! Ajay Jadeja hearing it from a distance obviously must have heard it as JADEJA!! JADEJA!! JADEJA!! . It was great fun to see him waving to who he thought were his adorable fans!!!

  • Looch on July 4, 2008, 7:27 GMT

    Ban alcohol at cricket matches! That will stop the idiots from ruining the cricket for the rest of us!

  • Marcus on July 3, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    David

    I agree fully about the amount of music played at these venues. Not only for wickets, but for sixes and even fours- and in England, it seems that they use the same music throughout the innings. "8 Mile" is hard enough to bear listening to once, but repeatedly throughout the innings is just ridiculous! They should just do what they used to- a song of the player's choice to be played when they come to the crease. Haven't any of these organisers heard of "less is more?"

  • R. Thirucumaran on July 3, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    The crowds in Sri Lanka must be the least knowledgeble in the world, because only 2 in 100 people come to watch the cricket. The others come to a match for the following reasons: 1. They'll never be found hanging out with their GF/BF 2. They want to play some Papara songs 3. They want to dance to the Papara songs 4. They want to see a foreigner in person.

    Though, I have to mention that none of the crowd here jeers at opposition players, just some friendly banter! :)

  • David S on July 3, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    Well said Michael. Your points have not been made by enough people, often enough. The Mexican wave was entertaining - in Mexico City, circa 1986. The morons should let it rest in history. I went to The Oval last Wednesday, for the penultimate ODI against NZ. Moronity has now spraed to the organisers of international cricket. A wicket cannot fall without some form of music being played to mark it - so loud, you cannot have a discussion with your neighbour.

    So,the authorities are now actively encouraging the lunatic fringe - at the expense of the traditional cricket supporter. Longer term, it will be their loss.

  • balaji on July 3, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    Another problem is the families are absent from all cricket matches. it is just not a good place to take your children to - they might learn a few unprintable's in the process. another factor could be that very few people in India actually have the time to go and watch a match in entirety. on my way to work, I see people at traffic lights not wanting to move ahead till they see what has happened to the delivery bowled in the match at the side of the street or the ground nearby. anyone who has a spare few minutes will wait by the fences and peep to see a few deliveries and then move on. in our school, we were not allowed to play cricket, so there was no equipment around. I remember smuggling tennis balls into school and then a group of us breaking wooden benches to be used as bats with the rear bicycle tyre used as stumps in the parking lot. i couldn't agree more with SS - usage of flags needs to be banned at the stadias. Its only a game & a cricket team - not a battalion going off to war

  • blake on July 3, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    I watched Australia play India in a test at Chennai a couple of years ago and had the time of my life. Sure the facilities in the Pepsi Stand were way off the mark but thats part of travel, things are different. I met wonderful, friendly, informed fans of both nations and played many a game of street cricket with locals in alleys we wandered into around the land. There was however a couple of embarrassing fans who thought it was funny to wipe the Indian flag on an inflatable kangaroos bum which caused a ruckus among the crowd. We were mortified and spent half the day apologizing for our countrymen.

    Sometimes the witty banter and sledging, if its funny and not abuse adds to the atmosphere, would old Yabba have been vilified as a sledger or as a colourful character who added to a days richness.

    I agree with never wanting to set foot at an ODI again though.

  • Satnarine Maharaj on July 2, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    WI cricket fans of the distant past were all about cricket;they knew the game and the players from the various countries.Their numbers were small but they were connosieurs of the game. This profile started changing in the 1980's when it was felt that "we" needed to celebrate our cricket and cricketers - in addition,more people were able to attend the matches.The demographics changed and so did the activities at the ground. From my point of view West Indians have been very welcoming of fellow cricket lovers. There may be occasional dissent when there is "disagreement "with an umpire's decision.

  • Stephen on April 3, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    Eh, I'm biased.Run gluts are one thing, but it's enhtoar thing when Jayasuriya's cutting loose. I loved watching him bat in the 96 World Cup (even remember skipping bits and pieces of the Ind/Pak QF to watch him flay England all over), and since then became a massive fan. This knock was literally a trip back in time to those days when he'd dominate the bowlers with slashes, cuts and some ferocious timing. It's great to see a legend leave a stage, but it's just as enjoyable to see a legend return to his old golden form for a day or so in his old age.[Then again, I'm a cricket tragic, so I really wouldn't have concerned myself with Wimbledon or the World cup either way.]

  • Evan on July 10, 2008, 16:30 GMT

    Its funny how different stadiums have different crowds and atmosphere even though geographically they are close. Families are a big thing about going to the cricket at Centurion with its large grass banks. Kids start their own games behind the banks on the "open" grass and rush back once a wicket falls. Wanderers on the other hand is much more intense with the crowd "closer" to the field and closer together. People at Wanderers tend to chat with each other while at Centurion you remain mostly insulted within your group. Some stands are worse for drunken behaviour as well - the worst is at a 20Twenty game at Wanderers on the open stand (read cheap) - I once made the mistake of trying to sit their but after the third beer down my back we went home instead. Memorial stand on the other hand seems to always be pleasant and nothing is better than a good chat during a rain break.

  • stanley on July 5, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    I was once at an ODI in Goa, India. ODI's in Goa are very rare. So going to an ODI is like going to a picnic! Everybody is excited like hell. Keeping this in mind you have to excuse the behavior of the crowds there. To make matters worse, there was early morning un-seasonal showers and it threatened to wash out the entire match. While the ground staff were trying their best to protect the pitch, the excited crowds had nothing to cheer about. Out walks Ajay Jadeja on the field. Now we have a swear word in Konkani (local Goan Language) which rhymes with Jadeja – the word being chadecha, which means Son of a Bitch!!! The crowd desperately needing some entertainment started chanting CHADECH!! CHADECH!! CHADECHA!! Ajay Jadeja hearing it from a distance obviously must have heard it as JADEJA!! JADEJA!! JADEJA!! . It was great fun to see him waving to who he thought were his adorable fans!!!

  • Looch on July 4, 2008, 7:27 GMT

    Ban alcohol at cricket matches! That will stop the idiots from ruining the cricket for the rest of us!

  • Marcus on July 3, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    David

    I agree fully about the amount of music played at these venues. Not only for wickets, but for sixes and even fours- and in England, it seems that they use the same music throughout the innings. "8 Mile" is hard enough to bear listening to once, but repeatedly throughout the innings is just ridiculous! They should just do what they used to- a song of the player's choice to be played when they come to the crease. Haven't any of these organisers heard of "less is more?"

  • R. Thirucumaran on July 3, 2008, 13:13 GMT

    The crowds in Sri Lanka must be the least knowledgeble in the world, because only 2 in 100 people come to watch the cricket. The others come to a match for the following reasons: 1. They'll never be found hanging out with their GF/BF 2. They want to play some Papara songs 3. They want to dance to the Papara songs 4. They want to see a foreigner in person.

    Though, I have to mention that none of the crowd here jeers at opposition players, just some friendly banter! :)

  • David S on July 3, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    Well said Michael. Your points have not been made by enough people, often enough. The Mexican wave was entertaining - in Mexico City, circa 1986. The morons should let it rest in history. I went to The Oval last Wednesday, for the penultimate ODI against NZ. Moronity has now spraed to the organisers of international cricket. A wicket cannot fall without some form of music being played to mark it - so loud, you cannot have a discussion with your neighbour.

    So,the authorities are now actively encouraging the lunatic fringe - at the expense of the traditional cricket supporter. Longer term, it will be their loss.

  • balaji on July 3, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    Another problem is the families are absent from all cricket matches. it is just not a good place to take your children to - they might learn a few unprintable's in the process. another factor could be that very few people in India actually have the time to go and watch a match in entirety. on my way to work, I see people at traffic lights not wanting to move ahead till they see what has happened to the delivery bowled in the match at the side of the street or the ground nearby. anyone who has a spare few minutes will wait by the fences and peep to see a few deliveries and then move on. in our school, we were not allowed to play cricket, so there was no equipment around. I remember smuggling tennis balls into school and then a group of us breaking wooden benches to be used as bats with the rear bicycle tyre used as stumps in the parking lot. i couldn't agree more with SS - usage of flags needs to be banned at the stadias. Its only a game & a cricket team - not a battalion going off to war

  • blake on July 3, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    I watched Australia play India in a test at Chennai a couple of years ago and had the time of my life. Sure the facilities in the Pepsi Stand were way off the mark but thats part of travel, things are different. I met wonderful, friendly, informed fans of both nations and played many a game of street cricket with locals in alleys we wandered into around the land. There was however a couple of embarrassing fans who thought it was funny to wipe the Indian flag on an inflatable kangaroos bum which caused a ruckus among the crowd. We were mortified and spent half the day apologizing for our countrymen.

    Sometimes the witty banter and sledging, if its funny and not abuse adds to the atmosphere, would old Yabba have been vilified as a sledger or as a colourful character who added to a days richness.

    I agree with never wanting to set foot at an ODI again though.

  • Satnarine Maharaj on July 2, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    WI cricket fans of the distant past were all about cricket;they knew the game and the players from the various countries.Their numbers were small but they were connosieurs of the game. This profile started changing in the 1980's when it was felt that "we" needed to celebrate our cricket and cricketers - in addition,more people were able to attend the matches.The demographics changed and so did the activities at the ground. From my point of view West Indians have been very welcoming of fellow cricket lovers. There may be occasional dissent when there is "disagreement "with an umpire's decision.

  • Michael Jeh on July 2, 2008, 12:26 GMT

    I've got to admit though, from watching cricket from India on TV, it looks like they're really interested in the finer points of the game. Is that a false impression created by clever tv producers? I've only been to a few test matches in India and Sri Lanka and not many ODI's but the general impression I got was that most spectators had a deep understanding/appreciation for the nuances of the game and they understood key moments when the game shifted from one team to another.

    If that's no longer the case, I'm disappointed to hear that. I still harbour this hope that somewhere in the world, people go to watch cricket and are not remotely interested in anything on the periphery. County cricket in England certainly has those people, huddled up in anoraks on cold days but intently watching every dot ball. Brave, hardy souls who obviously just love the game at all times, not just when there are boundaries flying or wickets falling. Even their muttered grumblings are very amusing.

  • AJAX on July 2, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    I personally believe both "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" and "En-ger-land" are considerably more sophisticated than the chants you will hear from either side during an India-Pakistan match, which are accurately recreated: "Die Die Die, (India/Pakistan) Die!" repeated three times followed by "Win Win Win, (Pakistan/India) Win!" and start all over again.

    At the recent World Cup final the Sri Lankan supporters were content to repeat three simple syllables "Sri-Lan-Ka" around 30 times a minute with no discernible change in tone as often as they could, which ranks alongside "En-ger-land"

    For the record, I haven't ever heard a repetitive chant from West Indies supporters over a considerable amount of time, so for sheer variety their mindless drivel ranks among the best and is arguably as creative as the best.

  • SS on July 2, 2008, 11:29 GMT

    I agree with balaji on the Indian cricket stadia. Poor facilities have chased away the sensible families from the cheaper stands. But these spaces are now filled with the heaving masses of ignorant partisans who care not about cricket but just want to have a day shouting and abusing opposition and Indian players alike.

    A variant of the ignorant Indian fan is the NRI, the equally ignorant cousin living abroad, who uses his ticket to prove his patriotism to the motherland. Having watched many India matches in England, I have seen scores of Indians who cannot even recognise some Indian players and have no feel for the game, but have their huge flags, loud trumpets & drums, tons of onion bhajji washed down with lager. A match is a escape where they can be Indians, rather than second generation immigrants. If they are not being a nuisance doing bhangra in the aisles, they are spouting terrible cricket logic and spreading rumours about the politics in BCCI or the team.

  • balaji on July 2, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    Michael As you probably know, none of the cricket stadias in India are even worth entering. Forget staying around for watching a match - reeking leaky toilets, a cash rich BCCI treating spectators like sheep being herded to the slaughterhouse, no place to sit or stand... its simply not worth a visit. I do not know of many people who have gone in to watch a match in the past decade or so. They would really like to, but its just not worth the effort.

  • Michael Jeh on July 2, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    Mick, agree with you mate that Barmy Army alternates between being very funny and witty to being utterly repetitive and not remotely funny. I remember MCG in 1998, just after Warne/Waugh betting scandal when Barmy Army sang a hilarious song which was witty and clever. They enhanced the experience.

    On the other hand, there have been times when they've been plain boring and unimaginative. As I said "En-ger-land" repeated as nauseaum is hardly amusing after the 135th time.

    I'm waiting to hear some funny stories from around the world though regarding crowd behavior. I've only bagged the Aussies because I've been exposed to our crowds more often. Surely there must be some ripping yarns from elsewhere?

  • R. Narayan on July 2, 2008, 6:55 GMT

    It takes all kinds. The most ridiculous incident I've seen was at Eden Gardens, (a ground known for sometimes irrational behavior of its crowds)in 1978. After 100s in each innings by both Gavaskar and Vengsarkar, WI and Sew Shivnaraine were fighting to save the test with nine down on the last evening. With light fading badly, one section of the crowd made a heap of the (wooden) furniture in the stands and set it alight, presumably to provide illumination! The smoke put an end to the game! At the other end of the spectrum is the Madras crowd giving Pakistan (then deadly foes) a standing ovation after they beat India.

  • Marcus on July 2, 2008, 3:43 GMT

    It's not too bad at the WACA. There are a few idiots in every crowd, and that's unfortunate. But most of the heckling's done in a good spirit. I remember some people in our section heckling Brad Hodge in a state game when he was at long-off. A few overs later, he took a catch at deep mid-wicket, took off his cap and bowed at our section. Everyone in our section cheered- it was all in good fun. It's not as bad as at the Rugby- in both the Western Force games I went to this year, when the opposition teams ran out on the field they played the "Darth Vader" theme from Star Wars!

  • David Barry on July 2, 2008, 1:52 GMT

    I was at a 'family day' state game at the Gabba once, and towards the end of the day, when everyone was tired, I thought that the crowd was boringly tame. Without some drunks heckling the players, the atmosphere was flat.

    Then I considered the cups of urine thrown around during a recent ODI, and I decided that the dull atmosphere was easily the lesser of the two evils.

  • Michael on July 2, 2008, 1:24 GMT

    Fox,

    It would be interesting to hear your opinion on the infamous 'Barmy Army'. In your opinion, does this, 'loud, obnoxious minority, who by virtue of their sheer ability to make complete idiots of themselves' constitute a group that detracts or adds to the atmosphere of international cricket fixtures involving England? During a long hot day at the Gabba when Australia is pulling England’s pants down in the centre once again, despite your loathing of the ‘hooliganistic’ supporters, is there not a part of you as you glance towards that incessant bunch that thinks ‘Bloody hell that looks like fun’?

  • Pete on July 2, 2008, 0:42 GMT

    I've been to a lot of Australian cricket over the years and I find test crowds are wholly decent and reasonable. Crowds at ODI matches have a minority of people that would embarrass most reasonable Australians with their yobbish and immature behaviour. I'm sure if their mothers saw how they behaved they would give them a good clip around the ears. I would be wary of taking a foreign guest to the SCG concourse at an ODI for instance. In most cases they would have a great time and meet great people but there's always a chance that their time would be ruined by sitting with a bunch of adults with arrested development. There are far better ways to show off our country and people. Yet another reason why tests are far superior to ODI and T20. I'm sure other countries have similar problems but that is their problem to deal with.

  • Rob on July 1, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    What you say definitely applies to ODIs at the SCG, where the majority of the fans are more interested in the beach ball and the Mexican Wave and chants about various people being wankers than the cricket. Few people go to a ODI to watch the ODI. For Test cricket at the SCG I don't think it's the same.

  • Michael Jeh on July 1, 2008, 21:17 GMT

    Geoff, unfortunately, sitting in the non-drinking section merely insulates you from the physical effects of these idiots (eg: beer thrown all over you). You still hear and see the foul language, you still have the game held up by the beach balls on the field, stoppages in play (plus boos when police retrieve it). You still have to listen to the dumb insults yelled out a thousand decibels. You still have to put up with the distraction of the Mexican Wave. And you still have to watch with amazement at the number of people who pay, what is essentially an expensive 'cover charge' to drink flat beer at inflated prices with no real interest in the cricket. Someone should tell them it's cheaper to get drunk at the pub and leave the cricket to those who actually enjoy watching it. Why pay good money to watch silly, childish behaviour that can be had for free at pubs, beaches, kindergartens? Aaron, why is a distaste for foul language and anti-social behaviour a reason to "lighten up"?

  • Geoff on July 1, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    If you don't like the way people behave when drinking then sit in the non drinking section!! Simple

  • D.S. Henry on July 1, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    Maybe that'll be another boon from the rise of Twenty20... shorter time frames, less beer to drink, less of a chance to get completely plastered at the game.

  • Aaron on July 1, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    Everything you mentioned about a day at the cricket is part of the fun. Just lighten up and enjoy it. I firmly believe that the majority of people find most of those things entertaining within limits.

  • andy on July 1, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    There are some pretty big idiots among Indian cricket fans also. Some of these can be seen in any match waving huge flag or paints on their face, more intent on jumping up and down than watching cricket. Any LBW and close catch against Indian batsman is wrong decision. If the opposition is Australia, then the umpire is immediately declared a racist white man or an agent or supporter of imperialists. Even if he is Indian, then it must be BCCI politics and you will hear a magnificent story about it. One story I particularly remember is once in a match an umpire gave some Indian batsman (I think it was Raina) Not Out mistakenly. After the replay confirmed umpire's mistake, the guy in front of me declared that it was a plot of BCCI to undermine Ganguly by improving Dhoni's captaincy record (Dhoni's record would improve if India would win and that was being aided by the umpire's decision – That was his reasoning).

  • Charindra on July 1, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    You're right. A minority of them ruin everything. The way they treated Murali over the years was disgraceful.

  • Matt on July 1, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    You do raise some very valid points, but I do think you are wrong about Australian crowds not respecting opposition players. At the Adelaide test last summer it was amazing to see the reaction of the crowd when Sachin Tendulkar came to the crease and then also when he was dismissed, Australian cricket fans do appreciate brilliant players like these and they showed that appreciation in his probable last test in Adelaide, the same thing happened for Brian Lara a few years ago. Australian crowds heckle and jeer opposing players when they view them as having no substance, for example a bowler such as Sreesanth who does tend to carry on alot, but then he doesn't back this up and he ends up being hit around. The Australian (admitantly drunk)fan in the outer who is used to their own players having a go at the opposition but then backing that up with some solid batting or a good spell of bowling will then let him know about it.

  • Alex on July 1, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    You asked about crowd behaviour from other corners. Well, I was embarrased once at a game involving New Zealand played at Centurion. To be fair, Fleming was trying to induce a draw by asking his bowlers to bowl slowly, playing for the rain. Still, the behaviour of 3 very drunk idiots near me was unacceptable. It is said that Aussie crowds are about as partisan as you get. South Africans get pretty close, and these three were chanting racial slurs and casting doubt upon the parentage of any New Zealander near the boundary.

    I just wanted to watch the cricket.

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  • Alex on July 1, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    You asked about crowd behaviour from other corners. Well, I was embarrased once at a game involving New Zealand played at Centurion. To be fair, Fleming was trying to induce a draw by asking his bowlers to bowl slowly, playing for the rain. Still, the behaviour of 3 very drunk idiots near me was unacceptable. It is said that Aussie crowds are about as partisan as you get. South Africans get pretty close, and these three were chanting racial slurs and casting doubt upon the parentage of any New Zealander near the boundary.

    I just wanted to watch the cricket.

  • Matt on July 1, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    You do raise some very valid points, but I do think you are wrong about Australian crowds not respecting opposition players. At the Adelaide test last summer it was amazing to see the reaction of the crowd when Sachin Tendulkar came to the crease and then also when he was dismissed, Australian cricket fans do appreciate brilliant players like these and they showed that appreciation in his probable last test in Adelaide, the same thing happened for Brian Lara a few years ago. Australian crowds heckle and jeer opposing players when they view them as having no substance, for example a bowler such as Sreesanth who does tend to carry on alot, but then he doesn't back this up and he ends up being hit around. The Australian (admitantly drunk)fan in the outer who is used to their own players having a go at the opposition but then backing that up with some solid batting or a good spell of bowling will then let him know about it.

  • Charindra on July 1, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    You're right. A minority of them ruin everything. The way they treated Murali over the years was disgraceful.

  • andy on July 1, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    There are some pretty big idiots among Indian cricket fans also. Some of these can be seen in any match waving huge flag or paints on their face, more intent on jumping up and down than watching cricket. Any LBW and close catch against Indian batsman is wrong decision. If the opposition is Australia, then the umpire is immediately declared a racist white man or an agent or supporter of imperialists. Even if he is Indian, then it must be BCCI politics and you will hear a magnificent story about it. One story I particularly remember is once in a match an umpire gave some Indian batsman (I think it was Raina) Not Out mistakenly. After the replay confirmed umpire's mistake, the guy in front of me declared that it was a plot of BCCI to undermine Ganguly by improving Dhoni's captaincy record (Dhoni's record would improve if India would win and that was being aided by the umpire's decision – That was his reasoning).

  • Aaron on July 1, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    Everything you mentioned about a day at the cricket is part of the fun. Just lighten up and enjoy it. I firmly believe that the majority of people find most of those things entertaining within limits.

  • D.S. Henry on July 1, 2008, 14:14 GMT

    Maybe that'll be another boon from the rise of Twenty20... shorter time frames, less beer to drink, less of a chance to get completely plastered at the game.

  • Geoff on July 1, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    If you don't like the way people behave when drinking then sit in the non drinking section!! Simple

  • Michael Jeh on July 1, 2008, 21:17 GMT

    Geoff, unfortunately, sitting in the non-drinking section merely insulates you from the physical effects of these idiots (eg: beer thrown all over you). You still hear and see the foul language, you still have the game held up by the beach balls on the field, stoppages in play (plus boos when police retrieve it). You still have to listen to the dumb insults yelled out a thousand decibels. You still have to put up with the distraction of the Mexican Wave. And you still have to watch with amazement at the number of people who pay, what is essentially an expensive 'cover charge' to drink flat beer at inflated prices with no real interest in the cricket. Someone should tell them it's cheaper to get drunk at the pub and leave the cricket to those who actually enjoy watching it. Why pay good money to watch silly, childish behaviour that can be had for free at pubs, beaches, kindergartens? Aaron, why is a distaste for foul language and anti-social behaviour a reason to "lighten up"?

  • Rob on July 1, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    What you say definitely applies to ODIs at the SCG, where the majority of the fans are more interested in the beach ball and the Mexican Wave and chants about various people being wankers than the cricket. Few people go to a ODI to watch the ODI. For Test cricket at the SCG I don't think it's the same.

  • Pete on July 2, 2008, 0:42 GMT

    I've been to a lot of Australian cricket over the years and I find test crowds are wholly decent and reasonable. Crowds at ODI matches have a minority of people that would embarrass most reasonable Australians with their yobbish and immature behaviour. I'm sure if their mothers saw how they behaved they would give them a good clip around the ears. I would be wary of taking a foreign guest to the SCG concourse at an ODI for instance. In most cases they would have a great time and meet great people but there's always a chance that their time would be ruined by sitting with a bunch of adults with arrested development. There are far better ways to show off our country and people. Yet another reason why tests are far superior to ODI and T20. I'm sure other countries have similar problems but that is their problem to deal with.