During his ill-fated Ashes performance, English keeper Geraint Jones was dubbed “the club pro” by the nasty Australians. Now an English keeper is giving them stick right back.

Paul Nixon, the feisty 50-over import who gives hope to sportsmen in their late 30s everywhere, was in Mike Hussey’s face after the contentious caught behind that wasn’t on Friday night. And he’s not apologising.

“Huss is very mentally strong and it’s part of my job to try to get him off his game,” Nixon told The Guardian.

“If I feel strongly that he’s nicked it and not walked I will give him a bit of stick and rightly so. The Aussies would be exactly the same if it was the other way around.”

Warming to his theme, Nixon sounded like an Apocalypse Now reject:

As a wicketkeeper you can see into someone’s eyes, see how they are looking, how their breathing is, how they are reacting out there. You are very close to it, so you can see things before they take shape. It is about gut instinct.

Sometimes they call me The Badger, because I’m mad for it, but I take that as a compliment. I’d rather I was getting the stick than someone else, who can’t take it. I’ve got broad shoulders, a lot of passion for the game and it spills out in various areas. I want to win for the guys so much.

Only one thing is sure. The Australians will have taken note. If kiddies are watching, the volume on stump cam might want to be turned down when The Badger walks in to bat next time out.

The other bad language probably happening in world cricket would be in the Pakistan dressing room after Shoaib Akhtar appeared certain to be ruled out of the rest of the South African series with a torn hamstring.

You would think that somehow escaping a career-threatening ban for steroid use would make life pretty rosy but Shoaib continues to do it tough. Having taken four wickets in the first innings of Pakistan’s series-levelling win against the Proteas – the paceman’s first test outing in 11 months – Shoaib jagged his hammie and may be sent home.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he is also facing a disciplinary hearing because security cameras caught him having “an altercation” with coach Bob Woolmer before play on the weekend.

Peter Fray

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