Take a look at the main photo of this page, folks. Soak it up. Let it fill you with national pride.
Let me direct your attention to the jeering expression of Kyle Mills on the left. Let me point you to Daniel Vettori's apparent inability to judge personal space. By now, you will most likely have discovered the hee-hawing glee all over Tim Southee's face. Wonderful to behold.
I don't need to tell you this is possibly one of the ugliest images of cricket sledging a camera ever captured. Next to this, the photo of the three Aussie players bullying our dismissed national hero Grant Elliott last weekend looks like a polite hoo-roo. At least the yellow-clad trio had the decency to resist encroaching on their opponent's breath bubble.
The point of digging up this old picture is to politely prove all those folks whingeing about the sledging are just a bunch of hypocrites. I do this by submitting photographic evidence, rather than simply saying the "h" word out loud, for fear of being accused of, well, sledging.
This picture was taken during the Cricket World Cup of 2011. The Black Caps' trash talk was so bad that day that Vettori and Mills — what's he even doing on the pitch when he's clearly not playing? — ended up copping pretty hefty fines.
Perhaps that explains why none of the Black Caps was prepared to publicly admonish the Aussies for their sledging last weekend. Maybe the truth is that our boys know they have been just as guilty.
Just quietly, I wanted them to be better than the Australian team.
I don't like the way the Aussie cricketers carry on, with their drunken phone conversations on the radio, their gross arrogance and their alumni groupy who not-so-subtly promotes binge drinking on telly by persistently asking everyone within earshot if they're feeling "thirsteee". Damn bogans.
That Aussie cricket team will make anything look bad. But, if it wasn't them doing it, would we really object to sledging?
Don't tell me it sets a bad example for the young ones. Kids need to be given a lesson in surviving onfield bad-mouthing on the same day they get their first ball.
Anyone who's played any team sport — and that would be virtually every one of us who has grown up in this country — knows that sledging is part of the game. It's a bit sucky to be on the receiving end but, by golly, it works.
I know this because the last time I was sledged I threw a bib at a ref, stormed off the court and was banned from the work indoor netball team. The ban still stands.
I also know this because the Australians' sledging worked on me. Before our boys even walked on the pitch, I knew they'd struggle to win. The MCG was big. They'd never be able to make the boundaries. They'd done well to get to the final, but they were lucky to be there. They were going to be destroyed.
That's what Aussies were saying. I heard it. I think our boys heard that, too. They walked on and played like men who heard that. Then they lost.
The Aussies used every trick in the book to win, and that included the age-old tradition of mouthing off. They took the game, the trophy and the title.
We just need to harden up. Sticks and stones and all that.
What do you think?