The decision to ban the Mexican Wave at the MCG, bringing the stadium into line with the other cricket venues around Australia, is a courageous one by Cricket Australia and the ground’s management.
Not courageous because they are daring to confront cricket troublemakers or because it is remotely close to a good decision – no, courageous because they are daring to make everybody watch the cricket, and that could be a very bad thing.
Rewind to the first one-dayer of the current international series, at the MCG weeks ago. I took my 11-year-old son for the first time. He wasn’t particularly keen. I told him a day-nighter is fun.
We arrived at the innings break, to watch Australia chase down an English target. More than 79,000 people were in the house and the stage was set.
30 overs later, Gilchrist and others had gone out after flailing the attack to set Australia well on the way to victory. Ponting and Clarke had reached a point where they only had to score about two an over to see Australia home. And, the horror, that’s what they did.
It’s fair to say that even watching Ponting going at that sort of run rate against a mediocre and resigned English attack is not great cricket. I can categorically declare that we would have been long gone, under bored witless junior pressure … except for the wave.
In fact, I can only speak for my family, but if the crowd must now sit, backs straight, hands in their lap, silence please, throughout a one-dayer, both my kids are gone. So long, cricket.
The crowd that day was so universally unengaged by the play that the wave went around and around the ground about 15 times. My kids loved it. Threw themselves in the air, laughed their heads off; got to be part of an impromptu free-range performance along with 70,000 people.
Where else do you get to do that? Yes, we laughed at beer being thrown into the air around at Bay 13. I didn’t hear any ambulance sirens. Meanwhile, beach balls were tossed around and again, nobody died.
Cricket’s nadir will be when a scared fan reaches for the sky, thinking he or she is under arrest from a hard-faced, undercover cop in the crowd (who should really be chasing actual criminals, shouldn’t they?), and accidentally starts a Mexican Wave.
That will be entertaining if it happens – a lot more so than the pathetic level of competition on-field this season.