Whose cricket fans are worse?

Both New Zealand and Australian crowds have a history and hurling abuse.
Both New Zealand and Australian crowds have a history and hurling abuse.

He's not exactly puritanical after being involved in a series of ugly incidents but the level of abuse directed at David Warner at Eden Park on Wednesday has prompted some to question which country has the most feral fans.

Aggressive and incessant chants of "wanker", "you f***ed up" and "Kill him" were among the least vulgar phrases hurled at the Aussies in the field.

"I think, whilst it's not overly clever some of the stuff we come out with, a lot of the time it's in pretty good jest," New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum told NZME. "I don't think Davey [Warner] will worry too much about it."

Australian bowler John Hastings told Sydney's Daily Telegraph that it was water of a duck's back.

"We haven't really spoken about it," said.

"We go over and play in WA and that can be a bad crowd as well. It's part and parcel about what you do as professional sportsmen. There's nothing we've spoken about."

It's not the first time and it won't be the last and it happens on both sides of the Tasman.

The "Hadlee's a wanker'' chant really took off in 1987-88 tour there, when Richard Hadlee dominated the Australian batsmen. Hobart was the first place where the abuse exploded with reports of virtually the whole ground taking part.

Fellow opening bowler Tim Southee was also on the receiving end of a stream of verbal sprays from Australian fans at the Waca last year.

There were allegations that the abuse may have been of a racial nature and ground staff and Cricket Australia launched an immediate investigation. But an investigation into the incident has deemed it was not racist.

In Adelaide in 2002, the Beige Brigade were held back by police for an hour after the game "for our own safety" and then walked withthe New Zealand fans to avoid any potential "issues" with Aussie fans.

During the one-dayer in Melbourne in the 2004/05 season, Mathew Sinclair took an incredible one-handed catch on the boundary and immediately turned to the crowd and pointed at them after having copped plenty of abuse throughout the match.

The Aussies have certainly copped their fair share in New Zealand.

Back in 1998, Mark Waugh had golf balls thrown at him and a glass sauce bottle was hurled at Stuart Law. Seven years later at Westpac stadium Simon Katich had a beer tipped on him fielding in the outer and Matthew Hayden was spat on. Five fans and five streakers were arrested and another 40 were ejected from Eden Park.

Glenn McGrath was also subjected to serious levels of abuse during the 2005 tour and was peppered with tennis balls, beer cups, a cigarette lighter and a half bottle of lemonade, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Aussie certainly have a longer history of it, even against the own team.

In 1982, 19-year-old Gary Donnison ran onto the field and hit Australian fast bowler Terry Alderman in the face. Alderman chased Donnison before trying to tackle him and ended up with a dislocated shoulder. Teammates Dennis Lillee and Allan Border tripped up Donnison and pinned him to the ground until police and security arrived. Donnison and another 25 fans were arrested, and a further 150 were ejected.

Maybe and Englishman can settle the debate.

Former England cricket captain Mike Atherton recently rated the Eden Park crowd and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, along with Sabina Park in Jamaica, as the world's most notorious when it comes to crowd abuse.

"New Zealand is a gentle country, its people are lovely, but during a one-day international, Eden Park is transformed into a bear pit," he said.

"Once, I found myself fielding down at third man and the abuse I received was worse than anywhere else (captains, of course, have the luxury of not fielding on the boundary, a benefit I availed myself of next time we visited). I also had a pint of something wet (dare not think what was in it) thrown at me."

- NZ Herald

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