Watching David Warner and Steve Smith side by side in the slips in the first Ashes cricket test in Brisbane was a reminder that as well as heroes, truly riveting sport also needs its villains.
Warner's pretty high on my list, but the danger with Australian cricketers is that if you meet them, by and large they're very hard to dislike.
In 2005, working at the time for Radio Sport, I had the chance to spend about an hour in Auckland chatting with Brett Lee, who was then seen by Kiwis as a stereotypically arrogant Australian fast bowler. To my surprise Lee the person was open and engaging.
It felt like the gospel truth when at one point he said that hitting a batsman was "a really terrible feeling" that "makes me feel a bit sick".
On the other hand I once researched a book on sporting rivalries, which led me to firmly believe there's more than enough evidence to believe that Douglas Jardine, who captained the 1932-33 MCC team to Australia in what became known as the bodyline series, actually was the most creepy, unmitigated ratbag in the history of the Ashes.
Jardine, basically a sporting version of the Harry Potter villain, Lord Voldemort, was actually a Scotsman, but his patrician looks and accent, along with an education at Oxford University, made him easily accepted by England's cricketing aristocracy.
Jardine didn't like Australians. "You are all uneducated and an unruly mob," he helpfully told Australian wicketkeeper Stork Hendry when he toured Australia purely as a batsman in 1928-29.
The Australians didn't like him either, but what makes Jardine stand out in a roll call of scoundrels is that neither did many in England.
"Jardine is a pig dog of the worst description and he should never have been sent as skipper," wrote former England captain Arthur Gilligan, in a letter just after the bodyline series. "His tour of office has put the game back 50 years and I know the Australians will never forget his criminal proceedings."
A team-mate in Australia, the Nawab of Pataudi, an Indian prince studying at Oxford, would say of his skipper, "Before I left England several people told me that there were many qualities I'd like in Douglas. Well, I've been with him now for nearly three months and I haven't found one yet that I care for."
There hasn't been much mellowing in all the years since.
In 2009 Simon Briggs, a sportswriter for London's Daily Telegraph, often a mouthpiece for the British establishment, would say that even as a schoolboy Jardine "was arrogant, egotistical, and about as popular with his class-mates as a needle in an inflatable lifeboat."
As a person, Jardine was obviously not big on building warm relationships.
But what cemented his place in the cricket Hall of Infamy was the scheme he dreamed up to counter Australia's greatest batsman, Don Bradman in that Australian summer of '32-33.
It involved a brilliant fast bowler, Harold Larwood. Born into a mining family in Nottinghamshire, Larwood left school at 13, and became a pit boy, working with ponies.
Over dinner at the Piccadilly Grill Rooms in London in August, 1932, Jardine outlined his idea for what he and Larwood would always call leg theory, not bodyline. Their fast bowlers would bowl bouncers at the Australians, with a packed field behind the stumps on the leg-side. The aim was to force the batsmen to fend the ball to the fielders, or get hurt.
It was a brutal but brilliant plan in an era where the idea of wearing a helmet to bat would have been considered a sure sign of cowardice.
(As late as the 1980s, New Zealand opener John Wright says he was jeered at by some in cricket for wearing a helmet. Considering cricket boxes had been in use for years, he reasoned, "I can't see the sense (in cricket) of being able to protect your private parts but not your brain. I figure over the course of a lifetime I'll get more use out of my brain than my balls.")
Australia struggled, and the bodyline series was won by England, 4-1, despite Bradman averaging a brave 56.57. Jardine cemented himself in Australian minds as a callous thug when, in the third test at Adelaide, a Larwood delivery hit Australian captain Bill Woodfull above the heart. Woodfull dropped his bat and clutched his chest in pain. Most of the MCC players were shocked. But Jardine called out, "Well bowled Harold."
Feelings ran so high there were secret communications between the British and Australian governments. The Australian Board of Control sent a telegram to the MCC, accusing the English team of unsportsmanlike behaviour. There was talk of calling the tour off.
After the tour there were repercussions. In England, the MCC - then the body that controlled world cricket - changed the laws, basically outlawing bodyline.
In one of the worst examples of rank hypocrisy in the history of cricket, the working class man, Larwood, would never play for England again. At 28 his test career was over. It was quite different for Jardine. He continued to captain England, against the West Indies and India, but retired just before the next Australian tour of England, in 1934.
On Jardine's death in 1958, Bradman, by then Sir Donald, was asked to provide a tribute. He declined.