Dave Warner has fired the first shot in the Ashes war by declaring the Aussies will be very aggressive this series.
Warner has never been a shrinking violet when it comes to a bit of sledging but may have been buoyed by the probable exclusion of Ben Stokes, who has recently displayed his pugilistic skills.
I certainly hope both teams are able to handle a bit of sledging better than my last game of cricket.
I was playing in a Bush Cricket league last year.
One of our blokes (I’ll call him Billy) likes to have a bit of a chat and was involved in a bit of banter with one of their batsman.
The batsman was playing and missing a lot, which Billy politely pointed out.
The batsmen bragged that he could run.
Billy pointed out that as a batsman, the ability to run is a bit wasted if you can’t hit the ball.
Billy nicknamed him Ken (short for Ken Run).
Ken was clean bowled two balls later.
Things were quiet for a while, but once he took the field, Ken started to get a bit cranky with his team mates.
It wasn’t helped by Billy and our boys who were encouraging Ken from the sidelines.
Anyway, I went into bat and was in a solid partnership with our skipper.
By now, Ken was abusing his team mates, and their captain told him to get off the field.
As he left, assisted by some of his team mates, he dropped his sun glasses.
When he bent down to pick them up he accidentally head-butted the iron fence that formed the boundary.
Billy and the boys thought this was hilarious and told him so.
Ken made a beeline for Billy and started throwing punches.
Meanwhile, out in the middle, I was on a solid eight not out, with a half century beckoning – so I wasn’t keen to interrupt my good form.
But both teams headed for the melee.
After Ken had taken on some of our team as well as some of his own team mates, his brother finally managed to drag him away.
He was nearly out of the ground when Billy called out a polite farewell.
Ken made a beeline for Billy again, but our skipper placed himself between them to prevent a further blow up.
That’s when Ken punched Skip in the face twice.
Problem for Ken was that Skip was still wearing his batting helmet.
Another all in brawl ensued, but we finally settled things down and Ken departed.
I was keen to bat on, but by that time the opposition had already jumped in their cars and left – so the game was abandoned.
As it turned out, it was my last game of cricket – stranded on eight not out, only 42 runs shy of my maiden half century.
Did I mention I also finished the game with a bloodied nose?
It had nothing to do with the brawl, it happened when I dropped a catch off Billy’s bowling earlier in the day.
He wasn’t happy, but he didn’t have anything to say.
As a footnote we later found out Ken had been taking some substances, and had only recently been released from prison due to these substances.
Things got a whole lot worse later for Ken who is now on remand for domestic violence.
Anyway, if there’s some sledging in the ashes, I hope that Dave and the Poms can handle it better than Ken and Billy.
And remember, there’s no such things as too much sport.