Cricket was once a game played over a few summer months. The globalisation of the game now means that the avid cricket fan can find some national or international game or tournament being played somewhere in the world. Games are played over five days, four days, fifty overs, forty overs and twenty overs, with media coverage in all cricket playing nations. The coverage has given rise to any number of memorable cricket quotes, with the coverage in England being lead by the legendary Brian Johnston, Jonners, and Henry Blofeld.
Cricket though is not a game that every one gets, and as Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh once said, “There is a widely held and quite erroneous belief that cricket is just another game”. To most cricket fans though there is a sense of expectation that ranks alongside the experiences of rugby and football supporters. The passion associated with the game can be seen with the crowds during the Indian Premier League, or the Ashes cricket series.
The Ashes is the oldest of international cricket rivalries and the most intense, and is one of the reasons why English and Australian cricket fans love the game so much. Indeed it is perhaps the reason for cricket. The English spin bowler, Jim Laker, commented, “The aim of English cricket is, in fact, mainly to beat Australia”.
Australia of course hold a similar view, and many series would be played on the field like it was a matter of life and death. Mike Brearley, a former England cricket captain made a comment about playing the Australians, under the guidance of their captain Ian Chappell. “Playing against a team with Ian Chappell as a captain turns a cricket match into gang warfare”.
Many of the best, and funniest, cricket quotes though come from on the field action, and sledging is a favoured pastime for many English and Australian cricketers. The rivalry though means that many of these quotes are unrepeatable. Some of the best sledging quotes though show just what it means to win an Ashes series.
An early quote from the legendary English fast bowler Fred Truman at Lords when an Australian batsman came on to the field through the gate pointed out the intense desire between both teams to skittle the other out, “Don’t bother shutting it, son, you won’t be there long enough”.
The Australians could of course give as good as they took, and into the 1980s and 1990s Merv Hughes was at the forefront of sledging. The fast bowler was not over enamoured with the skill of the English batsmen, and to the South-African born, Robin Smith, Hughes was heard to say, “Mate, if you turn the bat over, you’ll see the instruction on the back!”
Sledging is often perceived in a bad light, and of course there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. One of the funniest cricket quotes though comes from England versus Australia again, when Jimmy Ormond came out to bat for England. Mark Waugh shouted out, “Fxxk me, look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here, there’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.” To which Ormond replied, “Maybe not, but at least I’m the best player in my family”.