The Leading Edge

The Aussies are 'it', and they're not too shy to boast about it

It's going to be a bloody long World Cup

12 May 2019 - 00:00 By Telford Vice

The Aussies are coming. Or going, depending where you are. Regardless, they're back where they belong. Scratch that: where they think they belong.
That, of course, is at the top of the pile in the aftermath of that ball-tampering silliness, an easily explained aberration: they just got mixed up with the wrong crowd for a bit.
Good thing there's a World Cup coming so they can prove it. Again. And an Ashes after that so they can put the Poms back in their place.
It was one of the latter, Cecil John Rhodes, who told another, George Grey: "You are an Englishman, and have subsequently drawn the greatest prize in the lottery of life."
These days Rhodes is the fall guy and the English aren't good enough to win a third of the places in their own Premier League football teams.
And the Australians are, like it says up front, where it's at. Smithy! Davey! Legends in their own leggings. Flip they're good. Just ask them.
Better yet, ask Justin Langer: "It's great to see [Steve Smith and David Warner] playing cricket again, what they love doing. And hopefully they can help us not only make Australians proud of us again, but also help us win a World Cup and the Ashes."
So far, so Langer - one of the most unpleasant opponents to have to endure, even by Australian standards. He made the awfulness that is Warner in your ear and in your face a Labrador puppy by comparison. Or did he?
"We were all shocked with what happened in SA, it was a sad moment.
"For a long time we'd heard about it, we'd talked about it in other countries, we'd seen incidents of it. And we were so strong in saying, we just don't do our business like that.
"And then we did."
Who was this thoughtful man? And what had he done with Justin Langer?
Ah. Here he is, telling us why Australians rode to the rescue of cricket itself - and all of the rest of us along the way - by not just cleaning up the mess they had made but doing so better than anybody ever could.
"I think the ICC at the time handed down a one-match suspension and Cricket Australia suspended the boys for 12 and 12 and nine months in Cameron Bancroft, so that's how seriously we took it."
So seriously that having them back has been banging around Langer's head.
"I've been thinking about this for the last almost 12 months. What are we going to do when Davey comes out? What are we going to do when Steve is back? Is it going to be awkward?
"It's a bit like facing fast bowling; it's always worse in bed the night before. When you actually get out in the middle, it's not so bad."
Hell, life is good when you're the best thing in the game: "We're a shining light in what should happen in international cricket, and also not just in international cricket but in our domestic cricket and filtering down to the kids in the grassroots cricket."
Insert your favourite swearword here. And know: it's going to be a bloody long World Cup.

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