Australians cop flack August 26, 2005

Gillespie: 'Some of the crowd behaviour is appalling'

Cricinfo staff

Jason Gillespie: in the firing line at Old Trafford © Getty Images
Jason Gillespie's tour has been pretty wretched, and after taking 3 for 300 in the first three Tests, it was not a surprise when he was left out of the Australian side at Trent Bridge.

But on the eve of the match he turned on the English crowds in a remarkable interview with the Mirror newspaper. Gillespie has been the target of some hefty abuse from crowds at Lord's, Edgbaston and Old Trafford, with his appearance attracting particular attention.

"Some of the crowd behaviour is appalling, the insulting things people say," he said. "People pay their money to come in and they think it is their right to question your parentage and have a crack at your mother. It's always these guys that abuse you, call you effing this and effing that and 10 seconds later they are asking for an autograph for their kids. You say, 'Look mate, I'm not going to sign it for you', and all of a sudden you are the worst bloke in the history of the world, so you can't win."

His complaints cut no ice with the Barmy Army. Katie Cook, one of their leading members, told BBC Radio Five: "I think he's been a bit pathetic really. I hope he's been misquoted because the Australians give the English more stick than any other country in the world.

"Us lot questioning his parentage or saying he lives in a caravan - and let's face it, he looks like it - is not bad compared to what the Australian public give the English players over there. Hopefully, we're squaring it up now."

"I've got no sympathies for that man," said Phil Tufnell. "Every time the ball came to me at Melbourne or Sydney I used to be petrified ... it was a case of get it in your hands or get it away, otherwise the flack you got was awful."

"You can get shirty about it but it is not going to achieve a hell of a lot," Gillespie concluded. "I have got my way of ignoring what is going on." Unfortunately, by drawing attention to it, he has ensured that the next time he fields near the boundary, he is sure to be the target of some more banter.