A day after being miffed by the comedy
routine of former English spinner Phil Tufnell, Australian captain Ricky
Ponting continued to grumble about the former English spinner poking fun, and
denied he and his team were “precious”.

So let’s assist Ponting by offering some
“outside the fishbowl” perspective and stating the obvious – Ricky, you and
your team-mates are being
precious.

In case you missed it, the Nine Network
caused a major shock during the Allan Border Medal presentation on Monday night
by screening something that was (a) actually funny, (b) not dripping in hero
worship towards the Australian cricketers present.

This was, of course, a brief break in
normal programming and the whole thing quickly got back into underlining how
glorious our cricketers are. Nevertheless Ponting made it clear his team did
not appreciate such a routine on “their night” (although Shane Warne was
notable in shrugging off Tuffers’ gags).

Tuffers was a figure of fun for Australian
cricket fans, and no doubt sledgers within our test team, for his entire
career. He also endured a fair chunk of the 16-year period where we dominated
the Ashes and were merciless in our poking fun at the hapless English losers.

All of which is why Ponting and his
team-mates should get a clue when it comes to the taped segment from Monday’s
presentation. Tuffers was a great choice to deliver an English response and
landed his jokes with enough grace and mischievousness that anybody outside
Ponting’s table could take the jibes in the spirit intended.

But Ponting was
furious and vowed that Tufnell’s comments would be further fuel for the next
Ashes series. “Ponting vows revenge” was how the SMH put it.

Let’s hope Ricky
and the boys digest Richard Hinds’ comment piece, which puts them and their
pouting, humourless stance in their place.

Man, with a
grim-faced Jana Pittman launching “evil team” theories, Lleyton Hewitt hiding
his baby behind black plastic and seemingly at war with everybody in Australian
tennis, Winter Olympic medal chance Torah Bright becoming inexplicably off-limits to any
media
, and the Thorpedo taking himself pretty seriously these days, you have to wonder
if anybody in Australian sport has a sense of humour, or appreciates the fact
they get paid to play sport – a life most of us desk-dwellers envy.

Thank God for
Tuffers, the one man apparently able to laugh at the Ashes, win or lose.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW