Australia redefine “the line” (again)

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Langer and Paine (via YouTube)

We always do our best to keep you updated on the exact whereabouts of “the line,” according to its official custodians, the Australia cricket team.

In news that will be hugely reassuring to everyone, Australia’s new captain and coach say that they are well aware of the location of the mythical “line” and have revealed that it is currently what separates “banter” from “abuse”.

Justin Langer said: “If I play Uno with my daughter there’s lots of banter. We sort of sledge each other, but we don’t abuse each other.”

Justin Langer’s daughter may know the difference between banter and abuse but it’s been a blurry divide for some Australian cricketers in the recent past – just as the difference between “cheating” and “not cheating” has at times escaped them.

Fortunately, captain Tim Paine can reassure us all.

“We know what’s right and what’s wrong, so it’s pretty simple.”

Well that’s a relief.


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  1. Because I’m sure Darren Lehmann told them to abuse each other at every opportunity. It definitely wasn’t (urgh) ‘banter’ that just spiralled out of control, was it?

    Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

  2. For fuck sake, why can’t they just say that they promise not to club baby seals, steal fatty’s pocket money and desist from taking woodworking equipment onto the field of play?


    Bugger, there I go again. Best move it down here:


  3. A fine custodian of the line, is Mr Langer.

    I’ll never forget this match:

    …in which he, as captain of Somerset, declared their first innings at 50/8 for no reason other than to deny Middlesex a bowling point. The ECD had to move the line for him after that, with a clearer playing condition prohibiting the gaming of bonus points in that way.

    I wonder whether Ed Smith (then Middlesex captain) and Chris Silverwood (one of the rampant Middlesex bowlers denied that day) remember Langer’s line-bending qualities as well as I do?

    1. ECB – not ECD – I really must wipe this butter from my fingers…

      …or reread BEFORE posting rather than after.

      1. The England and Wales Cricket Divs.
        The England and Wales Cricket Dunces.
        The England and Wales Cricket Dickheads.

        Take your pick.

    2. I vaguely remember this game. I think the Cricinfo scorecard might have a little gremlin in it though, I feel sure I would remember a batsman scoring a 3 ball duck in 80 minutes

    1. just harmless gaming-table banter–“Get ready for a broken fucking arm.”

  4. So Warner remebered to hand back the line to the team when he fled South Africa? Not that he still has it or it’s lying around somewhere, forgotten, in Cape Town.

  5. As Langer pointed out (and as the general tone here has affirmed), it doesn’t matter how well they behave, they’ll still be seen as “rough-edged Australians,” so it really is entirely up to them how they want to see themselves, because they’ll be called names and viewed negatively regardless.

    1. I dunno, I feel like Paine was saying all the right things… now Langer’s opened his mouth and set things back again.

      Ultimately it will depend on how they behave on the field, but this suggests a return to asshattery that Paine’s words didn’t.

      1. We agree with that. Everything Paine said up until now gave the impression he fundamentally understood. Now he’s got to toe the party line.

      2. As Langer also said in the same press conference, saying all the right things matters not a dot. What matters is the doing.

        Given his work with Western Australia, I trust Langer to make the action match the rhetoric.

  6. Is the sponsor’s tagline in that photo deliberately placed, or is this a glorious accident?

  7. It may be a trick of the light but Langer definitely looks on the verge of tears in that picture.

    In fact the whole composition of that picture has an air of the hostage video about it. Come to think of it, the stuff around ‘elite mateship’ and ‘banter’ sounds very much like the sort of thing people will only say when they are forced to recite pre-drafted propaganda under threat of torture, Do we know for certain he’s not being forced to coach Australia against his will?

  8. Sometimes I think they are not really saying the “line” but the “lying”. It makes more sense somehow:
    “We know where the lying is” – yup, they certainly did in South Africa, that was well-located lying.
    “We push the lying but don’t cross it” – cos you cannot cross lying, as lying is not something to be crossed or trifled with. Again, true.
    So there we have it. They know their lying and how to go about it.
    Hats off to them.

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