A common comment you hear from Australians, is that they lost the 2009 Ashes series because they were “inconsistent”. However, what they have failed to understand is that in cricket, especially Test match cricket, ‘inconsistent’ is a direct synonym for ‘rubbish’.
- An inconsistent batsman plays a couple of cracking cover drives, then wafts at a loose one and gets caught at slip for ten. This is rubbish.
- An inconsistent bowler keeps a tight line for four balls, then offers a couple of long-hops that get crashed into the boundary boards and goes for eight-an-over. This is also rubbish.
- An inconsistent fielder takes a decent catch, but drops another. This is rubbish, Mr Collingwood.
At Adelaide, in 06/07, England scored 551 for 6 declared, then were all out for 129. That was inconsistency of the highest order. It was also clearly, palpably, demonstrably, rubbish.
Gideon Haigh once said that the difference between Shane Warne and Stuart McGill was not the slider, or the flipper, or the leg break, it was the sixth ball. That is, Warne had the ability to make the last ball of the over as good as the first five. And in the next over too. An inconsistent Shane Warne wouldn’t have been the Shane Warne we all came to know and fear. And as for Glenn McGrath…
So next time you see an Australian trying to explain away their failure in the Ashes, ignore the lip movements and sounds that make up the word “inconsistency” and hear instead the word “rubbishness”. If nothing else, it certainly makes the interview a lot more enjoyable.