Maybe it’s because my brothers refused to let me do anything other than play fielder (at the very end of the field) or, even more humiliatingly, be a wicket that I’ve always been sort of prejudiced against cricket. But that was before India went to Australia.
I was informed they were playing some sort of series over there but if they were/are, it’s news to me coz all I’ve heard are a bunch of stories about little boy fights. Any moment now, if all the commentators and columnists and other peripheral people had their way, somebody is going to stop play in the middle of a game, pout that it’s all cheating and pick up “their” wickets and go home to Mummy. And then I shall finally die of laughing.
I mean, I came pretty close this week to death by hilarity when the !sensational!, !astounding!, !terrible!, !soul shattering!, !cricket killing! news of Matthew Hayden’s petty name calling made the headlines.
In case you missed it, here’s what he said (full transcript):
Host 1: Were you charging Harbhajan Singh the other day and calling him ‘mad boy’ as you were batting?
Hayden: No, ‘bad boy’. ‘You bad boy’.
Host 1: That’s offensive apparently in India?
Hayden: He took offence to that, I thought that was quite funny. I said mate you should be flattered it’s a clothing range.
Host 2: We need to get to the root of the problem and see why they are all so sensitive? What’s going on in their lives.
Hayden: I think it’s been a bit of a long battle with Harbhajan. The first time I ever met he was the same little obnoxious weed that he is now, so… (more general laughter)
What? Am I the only one that thinks it’s hilarious that Hayden goes around calling his on-field opponents “You bad boy”? I always thought this sledging thing must be something awful from the way everyone talked about it (“mental disintegration”? Brr. Isn’t that illegal?) but if I were Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds’ (who, if you remember, allegedly made a remark about Singh’s sexual orientation after he patted Brett Lee’s bum with his bat in the run up to that infamous monkey/ maa ki incident) best mate came over all “bad boy” on me, I wouldn’t let any of them forget that in a hurry. Hell, I’d stand behind the wicket and drawl “You bad boy” in a deep, breathy bedroom voice everytime Hayden came out to bat.
Seriously, the possibilities with that transcript are endless. Try googling “Bad Boy Australia” if you don’t believe me. Hayden further continues:
Host 1: Does (Ishant) Sharma come from the same school as Bhajji?
Hayden: Well I think he’s just young and as I have said to him many times, mate you’re 19, just take it easy. He says, but “I’m playing for my country” (mimics Indian accent). Well we’re all playing for our country but at the end of the day you’re just 19, what about if you just worry about your bowling for a while. I actually like the idea of getting him in a ring. I like that, let’s bring that one on!
Now that I find unforgivable! I’ve been defending Peter Sellers for years to people, saying white people can too mimic an Indian accent and no, it’s not atrocious at all – and then Hayden comes along, opens his big mouth and ruins it all! Why you gotta do me like this, Hayden?
As for what Hayden thinks is proper behavior for 19 year olds – ha ha, the poor baby has no clue, does he? Maybe that’s how things work in Australia where 19 year olds sing quiet until they grow up into big, bad (heh) Haydens but in India we have a saying about little children and “putting them on your head”. In other words, you teach a kid that it’s okay to sledge, the kid will sledge and he won’t give a damn whether you’re his age or a 40 year old dinosaur.
Digression: since typing the words “40 year old dinosaur”, I thought perhaps I should mention that I do not think that Hayden is either 40 or a dinosaur. Who knows if dinosaur is some kind of Australian racist slang after all? I bet Hayden is relieved he didn’t call Singh a “mad boy” coz that might be construed as racist abuse (Sardarji at noon is mad = racism.). Ugh, my head aches with all this PC-ness.
Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is this: I headed over to Wikipedia to see what it could tell me about Hayden’s age and found this entertaining bit of information that some bureaucratic type will doubtless erase in a few hours, so I thought I’d paste it here for everybody’s edification (italics are all mine):
Hayden is a devout Roman Catholic and says “When I’m in trouble, I ask: ‘What would Christ do?'” One of worst thing about Hayden is that he is known to be always involved in fights with opposition players. Apparently he is not a very likable person. Some Indians cricket fans think they will throw stones and spit on him when he comes to play in India in IPL T20 or any other match.
BWAHAHAHA! Beware the might of the angry Indian cricket fan. They have mad Wiki skillz and super spit capable of traveling yards and yards. Also, something needs to be done about the state of Indian stadiums if there’re loose stones lying around. I’ve heard they won’t let water bottles in after the crowd at Eden Gardens schooled the BCCI in the finer techniques of plastic as a weapon of player destruction, so good luck smuggling in stones.
Oh, and for all you haters wondering what Hayden was doing, challenging a 19 year old to a bout in a ring? It’s what Jesus would have done. So there.