5 times when Australian media played mind games with the opposition to unsettle them
Targeting the prime players of the visiting squad is one of the signature acts of the Aussie media.
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The Australians who are often referred to as the grandmasters of world cricket are always a hardy opposition. For them, it’s always about that last concentrated burst of energy allowing them to win invincibly. They are vigorous opposition who always possess an aura of outperforming others.
Although gone are the days when they used to be invincible but still, when it comes to touring this sturdy nation, the hospitality itself can become a venomous one. It all starts with the mind games first inculcated by their former cricketers and current players. Then comes the Australian media who are always regarded for adding the fuel to the fire.
Targeting the prime players of the visiting squad is one of the signature acts of the Aussie media. One can also call it a first stepping stone in terms of creating a hostile environment. And if the visitors are already feeling the heat of a long summer by their drenched intensity then the jibe becomes much lambast.
Here are the five instances when the Aussie media played mind games to unsettle their opposition:
5. Calling Joe Root’s England “Pathetic Poms” during The Ashes of 2017-18:
While securing The Ashes series of 2017-18 during the third Test at The WACA, the Australian Newspaper The Daily Telegraph made remarks by declaring “Rivalry dead: Brilliant Aussies humiliate pathetic Poms. God Save The Ashes”.
The Australian media had severely castigated the English team while declaring the last two remainder test matches as no point in the contest. Some even spoke in favour of another white-wash. Ben Horne one of the advertisers in Adelaide also labelled that “The Australians have mentally got inside the heads of English tail with their sheer pace.”
Although England rather than suffering a humiliation of 5-0 did make a comeback in the fourth Test all thanks to the heroics of Alastair Cook (244*) which made indulge in a draw at the Melbourne. The fifth Test again became a dead rubber as the Australians won the series by 4-0, more importantly, regaining The Ashes.
4. Mocking Virat Kohli’s struggle in England back in 2014:
Since Virat Kohli’s inaugural Test tour of Australia (2011-12), he has been the Australian media’s favourite bunny. But this time it was the England tour of 2018 when Fox Sports took a huge jibe at India’s skipper.
Since Virat Kohli had a disastrous tour in 2014 (134 runs in 10 innings), Fox Sports released a video from the last tour (2014) where Kohli was nicking the ball. The caption given to that video was “Virat Kohli’s favourite shot in England.” The video was completely a scorning affair as Virat was dismissed seven times while edging the ball.
However, Virat had a dazzling English summer where he scored a record 593 runs in the five-match Test series. Being the highest run-getter Virat scored two hundred and three fifties.
3. Referring ‘The Monkey Gate’ scandal as Tendulkar’s deepest shame being born:
The drastic moments of the Sydney Test have always been a raging affair for the Indian fans. But the Australian newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’ had fumed things further when it referred to the ‘Monkey gate’ scandal at the SCG as Tendulkar’s deepest shame being born. The article had been written when the Indian team was all set to take on Australia during their tour of 2011-12.
The writer Malcolm Conn said: “Some recent Australian players have not forgiven his role in the Andrew Symonds’ “Monkeygate” scandal…Some Australians lost respect for him when he gave completely different accounts of what took place as a key witness in the Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds racism meltdown.”
The Sydney Test of 2008-09 has been often tarnished as one of the most controversial games in the history of Indian cricket expounding into some disastrous umpiring errors and verbal spats between the two teams. The article also bashed the Indian team on how they had managed Harbhajan Singh to get off the hook refraining him from serious consequences.
2. Labeling India as “The Scaredy Bats” during their Test tour of 2018-19:
Although India did amass history by thrashing Australians 2-1 in the 2018-19 Test tour during its commencement, one of Australia’s respected sports journalists did jibe out Virat Kohli’s men. The Australian journalist (Richard Hinds) tweeted an article that spoke about Team India’s fear of different Australian venues.
As per the articles’ story, it expressed that the Indians are “scared of the bounce” at The Gabba which is currently regarded as the fastest Australia pitch. Speaking further the article stated, “scared of the unknown” in reference to the new stadium in Perth which hosted the second Test of the series.
Adelaide which is known to host the day-night Test since 2015 was labelled as “scared of the dark” as India had refused for a day-night encounter during the four-match Test series.
1. Lamenting the five Indian cricketers for breaching the bio-bubble:
The recent story of the Australian media claiming a potential bio-bubble breach by the five Indian cricketers (Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini, Prithvi Shaw, and Shubman Gill) turned out to be malicious propaganda when BCCI abolished the remarks made on the bio-bubble breach.
The report by The Sydney Morning Herald which claimed the breach of the bio-bubble security protocols by the Indian players, however, didn’t contain any official statements made either by CA or BCCI. While rubbing off the bio-bubble breach violations, the BCCI official responded that this malicious spin had all been shouldered because of their humiliating defeat in Melbourne Test.
Some newspapers had also slammed skipper Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya for allegedly breaking the protocol during the limited-overs series. The chatter although became much more appalling when the two shadow health ministers of Queensland while responding in the context of the media reports urged Indians to refrain themselves from visiting Brisbane.