Cricketers: they're angry like us
I don't know if you've noticed, but the world is quite an angry place these days. Our politicians are shoutier than ever, there are so many terrorist organisations that soon they'll have to start sharing acronyms, and even our tiny cartoon birds have chosen to wage a campaign of reckless vigilante vandalism rather than pursuing justice in the matter of the theft of their eggs through the proper legal channels.
It's no surprise then that cricketers have come down with this general global malaise. It started in Melbourne. Marlon pulled David's shirt, then David's friend Shane said that Marlon shouldn't ought to have done it, but Marlon said he didn't care anyway, so Shane threw a ball at Marlon, who threw his toy truck at Shane and broke his earring.
It didn't stop there. At the after-match buffet, Shane took the last prawn-cranberry-and-camembert vol-au-vent even though he knew it was Marlon's favourite, then Marlon sneaked into the car park and put a whoopee cushion on the seat of Shane's car, so Shane retaliated by tweeting, "Marlon is a big fat smelly pants", to which Marlon replied, "Nah nah nah nah nah nah not listening #fingersinears"
To date, the duelling duo of dunces has been charged with 27 offences between them, ranging from Aggravated Silliness to Being Up Past Their Bedtime. Yet even as the cricket world clutched its metaphorical handbag and delegates at the United Nations General Assembly were being revived with smelling salts, the red mist of Lillee descended on another member of cricket's "really should know better at his age" club.
In a Ranji Trophy quarter-final, one Harbhajan Singh blemished an otherwise spotless disciplinary record when, upon learning that the umpire did not share his opinion as to the merits of an appeal for a bat-pad catch, he jumped up and down on the spot, placed both hands on his hips in an intimidatory manner and allowed his lower lip to protrude in excess of the six millimetres permitted by the ICC Sulking Regulation, para 64 b.
But before we condemn Bhajji, Shane and Marlon to the naughty step, maybe we ought to take a look at ourselves, at the society we have created. Cricketers are impressionable, easily swayed creatures who spend a lot of time shut in their room styling their hair and playing on games consoles. Who knows what psychological damage has been done by such titles as Mudassar Nazar's Cricket Armaggedon 3 and Rob Key's Extreme Tea Break 2010?
And what about all those violent films they watch on long flights: films that can make slapping a traffic warden repeatedly with a wet fish to the sound of Slade's "Mama, Weer All Crazee Now" seem dangerously cool? I notice that Quentin Tarantino has been keeping very quiet about all this. Perhaps Warnie had recently seen Inglourious Basterds. Was his brain still buzzing with the adrenalin unleashed by all that historically inaccurate World War II action? Did he still have the smell of popcorn and gun smoke in his nostrils when he took the field?
And are they really so different to us? As it says in the Book of Bhajji, let he who has never thrown a cricket ball at an opponent, pulled his shirt, verbally abused him, slapped him about a bit, and then sort of had to apologise for it on Twitter a few hours later, cast the first stone.
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England