Inconsistency in Australian cricket

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Bert writes:

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.


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  1. From whom exactly have you heard these comments involving ‘inconsistency’? The only comments I’ve seen or heard here in Australia have been that we lost not because England were better but because we were worse and that the bloody selectors should resign en masse, or be forced to.

  2. Sky commentators have latched on to the word “ordinary” to mean “rubbish”.

    “That was a very ordinary delivery” to describe a long hop that sits up and begs to be hit for six. “That was a very ordinary shot” to describe the top edge that goes straight up in the air. Etc.

    Botham is the worst offender but several others (some of whom do not have English as their first/only language and therefore should know better) flagrantly misuse the word ordinary.

    In my opinion, the use of such euphemistic phrases is inconsistent. Ordinary even.

  3. “What happened at The Oval was very disappointing for Australian cricket – the consistency with bat and ball from Headingley was sadly lacking”

    “…the biggest thing I could advise is that the bowlers focus on consistency. That was the biggest thing for us – and what we lacked this summer.”

    “I never quite reached the consistency and the pace that I had in Australia and South Africa over the winter…”

    All these are from a single Peter Siddle article, which is what prompted me to write. I also remember Jason Gillespie discussing the bowlers’ inconsistency after two tests (by which time they had actually been consistently poor). There are others.

    And I agree, Ged. That idiom is, well, a bit ordinary. The Aussies started it – “Jeez that delivery was fairly ordinary, mate.” Botham does it because he is a secret Aussie. I guess it comes from either a philosophical standpoint that only excellence is acceptable (hence ordinary and awful are the same thing), or an unfamiliarity with words.

  4. I can’t remember a time when Aussies haven’t used ordinary for rubbish, Botham is a bandwagon jumper, the big wuss.

  5. Billy-Ray writes:

    A common comment you hear from Poms, is that they don’t like washing because they don’t like “soap”. However, what they have failed to understand is that failing to wash make them stink. blah blah blah.

    It’s Sunday Bert, time for a bath mate!

    What a load of fucken crap.

  6. “Bert writes:

    A common comment you hear from Australians”

    “All these are from a single Peter Siddle article, which is what prompted me to write. I also remember Jason Gillespie…”

    Citing just two Aussies and proclaiming it’s common, is a pretty fucking ordinary assumption.

    Kudos for remembering Adelaide. It’s the only mention I’ve heard from the English blogosphere since it happened.

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