July 4, 2009

Ashes 2009

Bratich fights the WAGs' corner

Will Luke

Those who have slammed Cricket Australia for allowing WAGs – that sorry acronym to describe wives and girlfriends, which can’t help but sound derogatory and infantile – should watch out. Jessica Bratich, Mitchell Johnson’s other half, has come out fighting in their defence, and she’s no walkover. She is in fact a black-belt in karate.

"The boys are away four and a half months," she retorted to the former players and critics who have attacked CA. "Mitch goes from there straight to South Africa so they're actually away for six months. I think it's a bit ridiculous to think we're not going to go over there and support them."

One of the critics is Michael Slater, though his comments are slightly devalued given that he divorced his wife during the 2001 Ashes tour. He also drop-kicked Cricket Australia for allowing wives and girlfriends during the pre-Ashes camp at Coolum.

"In terms of the preparation,” he said, “when you're coming up with your strategy you don't need the partners there.”

During England’s horrific tour in the last (and quickly forgotten) Ashes tour in 2006-07, many criticised the presence of the WAGs who, they felt, had a detrimental impact on England’s performance. The same was said during Australia’s last trip here, and the same will be said again on this tour.

Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting is behind the WAGs all the way. “After a long day in the field,” he said in 2007, “it's great to be able to get away from cricket and freshen up that way.”

Steady on…

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Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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