Disgraceful Pommy Fans Know Nothing About Cricket Or Sportsmanship
It was the weekend when the home of cricket turned into the home of ignorance.
Lord's, with all its traditions and hoity-toity pretensions, is really just the home of fans who are little better than the rowdiest football hooligans.
How else do you explain the shameful booing of Aussie batsman Steve Smith after he returned to the centre of the self-proclaimed "Home of Cricket" in Australia's first innings of the second Ashes Test?
Smith, as you'd know, was struck a pair of brutal blows by England Test debutant Jofra Archer. The first, to his forearm, was painful. The second, to his upper neck just below the helmet, was sickening both for its ferocity and for the way it reminded all cricket fans of the ball that tragically killed Phil Hughes.
Smith left the field retired hurt. His return just 55 balls later, with Australia in trouble at eight wickets down and still 40 runs in arrears of England, was incredible gutsy.
Many in the crowd recognised this and cheered. Disgracefully, many also booed.
It has now emerged that even one of the members of the Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord's, was ejected from the ground after he called Smith a "cheat and a disgrace" in the famed Long Room inside the equally famed pavilion.
That particular gentleman, like the booers in the crowd, was clearly still angry over Steve Smith's part in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal. Either that or they were all just mindlessly mimicking what England crowds have done all summer.
Either way, they'd do well to remind themselves that Smith's role in the ball-tampering scandal was not to concoct the plans, but to ignore them. This was a failure of leadership for which he paid dearly.
They'd also do well to remind themselves that former England captain Mike Atherton was fined two thousand pounds for rubbing dirt on the ball in a Test right there at Lord's against South Africa in 1994. He never served a ban. Nor was he booed afterwards.
In one of life's delicious ironies, Atherton was behind the mic when Smith bravely walked out to resume his innings. And quite frankly, he failed in his duty to convey what was happening. Here's how Athers called it:
The Lord's crowd greet Steve Smith, who will resume his innings... to a great ovation... a great ovation certainly from the Australian contingent in the crowd who will appreciate the battler within.
Yep, a great ovation from the Aussies. And a disgraceful barrage of boos from the Poms. But old dirt-on-his-hands Athers just couldn't bring himself to condemn his cowardly compatriots, nor even mention their booing.
To his great credit, another former England captain Michael Vaughan could.
There are still good people in English sport. But not enough of them. And those who love to sledge Australia for being uneducated convicts could get a little education themselves.
They might start by watching some of the scenes at Australian grounds over the years. Like the time South African skipper Graeme Smith came out to bat in 2009 at the SCG with a broken hand, with eight overs remaining and his team nine wickets down.
Like Steve Smith, Graeme Smith had left the ground injured earlier in the innings. Like his namesake, he bravely returned.
Unlike the deeply disrespectful Lord's crowd, the SCG crowd rose to applaud a champion.
As one, they stood to applaud the courage.
"This is a mighty figure. One of the great men of the modern game and Sydney is standing to him," commentator Mark Nicholas called it.
Now that is what you call sportsmanship, a concept which -- in a reversal of the make-up of the English cricket team -- was born in England but has since migrated to the colonies.