Unbelievably, despite endless elite debate, Australians have once again completely lost track of ‘the line’

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Photo by Sarah Ansell

If there is one thing Australians love, it is to constantly, endlessly debate the exact whereabouts of ‘the line’ until all you can do is start trying to claw your own face off, shouting, “When will it end? When will it EVER END?!”

Last we knew, everything was fine because Tim Paine had revealed: “We know what’s right and what’s wrong, so it’s pretty simple.”

But Michael Clarke – in many ways the spiritual father of the line – does not think it’s simple. Bobbing to the surface again like a greasy, buoyant turd, he fired off a whole series of nonsense quotes this week in a bid to make things less simple.

The thrust of Clarke’s position is that the team needs to, “play tough Australian cricket.” An expert on the unique characteristics of the Australian genome, he added: “Whether we like it or not, that’s in our blood.”

Clarke cited David Warner as an example. He said he always liked having him in the team because he was aggressive. He added: “In saying that, there was always a line. He knew that. We had a number of conversations one-on-one about that line he couldn’t overstep.”

(Clarke also said, “David Warner gives it to certain blokes on the field because he wants them to give it to him when he’s batting. It’s like a turn on” – which is pretty funny when you take it out of context.)

Clearly Clarke is essentially thrashing around in muddy waters, shouting, “Look at me! Look at me! I’m covered in mud.”

Clarke’s old friend Simon Katich spotted this and (correctly) pointed out: “Once again we find someone missing the point. What’s been forgotten in all of this is we blatantly cheated.”

Paine (who we now always think of as Mr Shake Hands Man because he’s asked his team to respectfully shake hands with the opposition at the start of every series) responded to Clarke’s comments by drawing a subtle distinction between ‘trying to be liked’ and ‘acting like massive wankers’.

Alas, it was to no avail. All the latest round of Australian navel-gazing has achieved is that once again no-one knows where the damn line is (the slippery, weaselly bastard).

Summing up the confusion, Justin Langer said: “I’m not sure what people want from us. We can’t confuse the messages. On the one hand, we’re too aggressive and probably stepped over the line. Now we’re getting called tame.”


(Also, as a quick steer, the sandpaper thing crossed pretty much everyone’s line.)


  1. Bloody hell KC! I can tell just how riled this whole thing has got you from the penultimate paragraph. Not because of the block caps, but because you felt moved to make a serious and sensible point about the whole thing.

    Do you… do you need a hug?

      1. There is universal agreement that touching crosses the line. We state that with complete confidence and will not listen to counter-arguments – especially if they display subtlety.

        We all know where the line is. It’s simple.

      2. Arrested Development reference?

        What astounds me is that in club cricket here about 30% of people think that either Warner and co did nothing wrong, or if they did do anything wrong it’s no big deal – they feel that fielding a strong team and winning is more important than showing any kind of principles.

  2. May I add that having Oz’s Captain weeping on the telly is not crossing the line for anyone but them.

  3. I think this is a great mathematical debate about the “line”. Is it actually linear? Quadratic? A step function? Is it differentiable?

    This elite nonsense has gone too far. Why can’t someone tell these idiots — play aggressive, be bold, be attacking, be fearless, try to win but just don’t abuse anybody and be friends after the game.

    Jeez, is it that hard?

    1. …and don’t cheat, Deets, you missed “and don’t cheat” from your list.

      The line is none of the things you describe – it is a hyperplane – as long as the player who is crossing (or not crossing) it is a three-dimensional cricketer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperplane

      As for touching crossing the line, surely handshaking is a form of touching that does not cross the line.

      I guess we need some more Venn diagrams, but I am kind-of busy this evening.

      1. Indeed, Bailout.

        Yet more specifically, a maximum margin hyperplane, i.e. a hyperplane which separates two ‘clouds’ of points.

        Describing Michael Clarke’s points (stated above) as “cloudy” is about as polite as I could manage.

  4. I feel like this is the most appropriate website to have the following rant: Today India are playing a “Cricket Australia XI” team that has 14 players in it.

      1. Worse yet, we see, to be exporting Chairs of cricket boards to Australia now?

        Earl Eddings sounds like one of ours…possibly from the late 19th or “Earl-y” 20th Century.

      2. On the subject of wicketkeepers playing in that match, if I hadn’t just made a comment full of puns on another post, rest assurred I would be making Harry Nielsen/Harry Nilsson puns in this very comment.

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