Missing: cricket's larrikins

DEAR Australian cricket,

YES, well done - you’ve reclaimed the Ashes and for that you should be very proud.

It’s about time Australian cricket fans had something to cheer about.

Other than that though, it seems like it's business as usual in your department.

Here’s a quick test (no pun intended): Which of the following names have been made up and which are current Australian players? Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Stewart Swivel, Aaron Finch, Paul Claimer, Gavan Wright, Chris Rogers, Joel Garmond and Nic Maddinson. (Answer below).

Cricket die-hards would certainly be able to pick them. But once upon a time, even the most sporting ignorant Australian would have been able to recognise the big names representing the green-and-gold in cricket.

Dennis Lillee, Merv Hughes, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Ian Healy, Shane Warne - they stick out because we knew them.

What I am suggesting is that perhaps Aussie fans have reduced their care factor about their national team.

The stylish haircuts (I’m guessing that most of you would use some form of “product”, am I right?), the tattooed sleeve, the toned bodies, the Bonds advertisement-style three-day stubble - you’re all starting to look a bit the same.

Where are Gilchrist’s wingnut ears? Boony’s belly? Marsh’s mo? Taylor’s gum chewing?

It seems we no longer have characters within the game, just professionals. (I will give credit to Mitchell Johnson for his valiant effort with the moustache.)

I would argue that perhaps the last of the characters would have been the big hitting, dreadlocked Andrew Symonds.

In days gone by, when a cricket character got into a bit of off-field drama, they were hauled through the media but they seemed to maintain that larrikin charm.

Now, any off-field antics which creep into the headlines have the players coming off as highly paid brats.

Has it all gotten a bit clinical? Players with promise are starting out so young these days with their futures mapped out for them.

Still, backyards contain young lads (and ladies) who are dreaming of one day pulling on the baggy green.

Thank goodness we still have that.

(Answer: Australian players are Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Chris Rogers and Nic Maddinson.)

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