There’s something not quite right about all this fawning over the Australian cricket team.

Sure they’ve been playing great cricket, and we’ve become accustomed to the obsequiousness of the local press, but when key members of our two most avowed enemies talk in raptures about the talent of the Aussie team, it’s all a bit cringe worthy, really.

Take New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming’s comments about the Aussies after yesterday’s 105-run defeat in Hobart: “You get such a good measure of what you need to do and you become a better side through playing them.”

Come on Stephen, you’ve barely been competitive in the past few years against the Aussies – it’s time to stop benchmarking and time to start at least talking like you think you can win on a consistent basis.

Even when he was talking about Cameron White, one of the least experienced players in the Aussie side, but who flayed the Kiwi attack to all parts towards the end of the Australian innings yesterday, Fleming came across like an awestruck teenager: “He hit in areas we knew he could … you can’t put fielders that far back.”

And it’s certainly not much better from the Poms (which is actually probably at least a little understandable given the thrashing they have received over the past two months).

That said, for anyone hoping to see a little of the British bulldog emerge this summer, it’s a little dispiriting to hear Michael Vaughan say after the Twenty20 hammering last week “My knee is fine — but my neck hurts from watching all the sixes hit by Australia.”

Admittedly it was all said in jest, but it was another in a long line of similar such comments coming from the England camp over the past few weeks.

Comments like those attributed to Kevin Pietersen, the man who seems to exude self-belief, who was equally as awe-struck by his opponents: “They’ve been absolutely awesome. To be playing against them and challenging ourselves against them is not going to do us any harm.”

Challenging yourselves!? How about aiming to win a game for blessed sake!

As a once great philosopher (I think it was Ugly Dave Gray) once said: ‘It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice’.

However, for this fan, I reckon it’s time the Kiwis and the Poms dispensed with the glowing references for their supposed enemy, dropped the ‘good sport’ angle and instead took it up to the Aussies at least in words, even if they continually fall short on the pitch.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey