Cricket: Aussie pot calling the Kiwi kettle black

By David Leggat

If the crowd behaviour in New Zealand was as bad as David Warner has suggested, why was it not raised at the time? Photo/Getty.
If the crowd behaviour in New Zealand was as bad as David Warner has suggested, why was it not raised at the time? Photo/Getty.

Funny how Australia let rip at New Zealand crowd behaviour from the safety of Sydney Airport.

If it was as bad as David Warner was suggesting, why was it not raised at the time?

A sample from Warner's press conference where there were claims "derogatory and vulgar" abuse flew Australia's way during the second test in Christchurch:

"It doesn't matter if you're home or away, you're going to cop some form of abuse, but we don't expect to be hounded for six or seven hours," poor put-upon Warner said.

"Some of the stuff was pretty derogatory and pretty vulgar and the upsetting thing was the fact that, I know if my two daughters were in the crowd I wouldn't want them listening to that sort of stuff."

As it happens, he's right on that last bit. These ears will vouch for that.

Let's be clear; vulgarity among New Zealand crowds isn't particularly new.

There was unpleasant advice frequently thrown the way of Pakistan hero Imran Khan in 1989 - most memorably, if that be the appropriate word, after the final tour match in Hamilton. He was touring the country on a mission to bring neutral umpires into international cricket; while at the same time proving something of a babe magnet wherever he went.

Abuse is nothing new to sports crowds, and it's nothing Kiwis should be particularly proud of either.

But it's just a bit rich for an Australian to get stuck into New Zealand crowds once he'd got home, and remembering the type of flak thrown at New Zealand players over the years on his side of the ditch.

Perth's Waca ground, old, antiquated and expected to be done away with as an international venue once the new Burswood Stadium is finished in a couple of years, is known as particularly feral towards visitors.

Fielding in front of the old Bay 13 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, pre-redevelopment, was no picnic; ditto the Hill at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Before Christmas, Tim Southee was copping it from a "fan" at the Waca during the second test. He complained through the appropriate security channels and the offender was shown the gate.

So what chance of a clean slate when the two teams clash in the home-and-away three-game Chappell Hadlee series next summer?

Pigs will fly, more like.

New Zealand are due in Australia in the early part of the summer, with the return leg expected around late January-early February.

Warner was getting it at Eden Park in the opening ODI from sections of the crowd. But it didn't seem to put him off his game. He's used to it. Indeed there are players who get succour from harnessing abuse into a "them and us" mentality.

There was precious little sign of authorities taking a hard line when the volume went up and the tone down during the tour, apart from one instance in Christchurch, where a security man took it upon himself to shove his hand, twice, into the face of a fan, whose arms were being held by other security personnel. Pretty ordinary.

Maybe time for NZC to make a note to self for next summer.

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