Tuesday 10 June 2014

Like For Like

I never did like Kevin Pietersen. Not just because he is a dickhead, because he is ugly.

I watch cricket for the grace and beauty of the game and Kevin is a lanky, stiff-legged gimp of a batsman.

I hate the way he is constantly knee flexing, I hate the ugly faces he makes stretching his jaw, I hate the way he fiddles with the bat, the pulling on the knee flap, the grabbing at the front of his jumper. It all annoys me.

When he finally settles down to face a ball he crouches too low, his back-lift is too high and in his follow-through he waves the bat around his head like a Klingon with a bat'leth.

In his forward shots he brings his feet together like a tin soldier, and his famous 'flamingo' is nothing but a stiff, ugly swipe in the air to short mid-wicket.

I suppose I also have a slight issue with where he came from.

A privileged white man in a society where resources for more than a hundred years were dragged out of poor black communities for the benefit of greedy, aggressive, exploitative Caucasians.

And when this disgusting social order is finally broken does Kevin put his shoulder to the stone, making whatever meagre contribution he can to the restoration of freedom and fairness?

No, in his late teens, as soon as a black kiddie gets picked in front of him, he takes his privilege and frumps off to England.

So now he has gone and in the very next Test England have picked not one, but two replacements. Chris Jordan, who left his own country in his late teens to go and play in England, and Sam Robson, who left his own country in his late teens to go and play in England.

Chris Jordan is from Barbados, a third world country, a remote island in the Caribbean, offering little in the way of social or financial opportunity. He is certainly good enough to have played for his own country, almost certainly good enough to play for his region, but England offered a better life, a life unattainable in his own society.

He still could, of course, have put his shoulder to the stone and tried to improve whatever he felt was wrong in that society, but he didn't. I guess its understandable.

Sam Robson is from Sydney, from an expensive inner-city suburb, a student of elite private schools, and has status unreachable even by most Australians. From a social standpoint he is privileged.

He was picked in all the age group teams for NSW, had access to the very best coaches, hell, his old man is still employed by the Sydney Cricket Ground to run indoor cricket nets for the elite. In cricket terms, his upbringing was beyond privileged, he was a prince.

He says he is playing for England because he lives there, it is his home, he likes it, he wants to be there. He doesn't say he has any issues with Australia, but he aint living here, making grand claims about this joint is he?

Look, I get it, really I do. I don't especially want to be living in this bogan hellhole either. I imagine I would be much happier in England, living amongst cultured folks who have educations and such, and who know how to be behave in polite society.

Mind you, I have never been to England and my entire notion of the place is drawn from Jane Austen novels. I'm willing to believe it is not quite like that in reality.

But even if I had the capacity to live and work in England I wouldn't. I was born a bogan, and for better or worse, since this is where the resources were dragged from to bring me up, then this is where I ought to put my shoulder to the stone. Some baggage you just don't put down.

Whether I like it or not, if I were good enough to play for Australia, even if I thought all of my team-mates were uncouth, drunken bozos I would still play only for them, because I am an Australian.

It was good enough for Don Bradman.

Sam Robson is no Don Bradman. I have never seen him play, so I don't have an opinion on how good he is. I guess I will never know if he was good enough to be picked for Australia.

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