When you pick a fight, Saffers, know who you’re dealing with
Lessons to be learnt from the Warnergate saga
Australians are from Mars. Everyone else is from Venus. That’s a fair assessment in the wake of days of Warnergate — the increasingly tedious “he said, he said” saga about what, exactly, David Warner and Quinton de Kock said to each other at Kingsmead on Sunday.
The Aussies would seem to believe that nothing they said on the field should land them in hot water with the match officials, and that the trouble started once the players had crossed the boundary for tea on the fourth day of the first Test.
The South Africans couldn’t agree less, saying that the verbal battle was carried from the field — where the Australians subjected South Africa’s batsmen to a scalding of swearing and more — to the stairs leading to the dressing room.
Simply, the Australians say it was started by the South Africans, who say the Australians started it …What doesn’t seem to have been said is that what seems fair to Australians may be beyond the pale to others.
“If you play New Zealand, they are the nice guys,” Faf du Plessis said on Thursday at St George’s Park, where the second Test starts on Friday.
“They’re really friendly and they don’t believe that they need to play like that.
“Us as a team and me as a captain, we are very similar in that I don’t see much value in what you say on the field having an impact on the performance you have as a team.
“For me it’s about focusing on what sort of presence you have, what sort of body language.
“It’s not our style of play, but Australia probably believe that’s the way they are the best team they can be — by being that sort of team.”
The captain of that team, Steve Smith, was asked if Australians’ view of what fell within and without the spirit of the game was different to other teams’ interpretations.“I don’t think so,” Smith said. “I think you know when you say or do something wrong. You know that. So it’s about making sure you don’t do that.
“At times people can let their emotions get the better of them. In the end you’re playing a competitive sport for your country and it means so much for so many different people.
“So sometimes you can go over the line. But that’s not what you want to see.
“I can’t promise it’s not going to happen again in the future but we’ll be doing our best to make sure that our behaviour is in a good place.”
You would hope Smith felt the same way before the first Test, and that what happened there was as disappointing to him as it was to us.
But perhaps that’s a hope from a galaxy far, far away, where cricket is just a game.