Let’s celebrate that magnificent Rabada v Warner thing without at any point expressing support for all the stuff that gave rise to it

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Rabada and Warner (all images via Sky Sports video)

Here at King Cricket, we’re not at all in favour of unnecessary on-field aggro: fielders over-celebrating dismissals, bowlers getting right up in the batsman’s face and all that.


We are HUGELY in favour of adrenaline-fuelled cricket – particularly when it involves a true fast bowler and a batsman who comes across as maybe being a bit of an arsehole.

It is just such a tremendously watchable feature of cricket. In what is ostensibly a team sport, you have two guys who hate each other basically going head-to-head, the guy with the bat making the guy with the ball hate him more and more and more until finally there’s a moment of catharsis.

And you know what? Sometimes all that bad stuff that we totally don’t approve of actually helps give rise to this kind of thing.

So let’s entirely overlook the cause and instead celebrate the effect because David Warner and Kagiso Rabada had a thing today and it was very much amazing and fun.

Rabada began by hitting Warner on the arm. It was his second ball and already we had the physio on.

Strapping in place, Warner promptly popped Rabada for four next ball.

The ball after that was a leg-bye and he got off strike.

The next Rabada over, Warner was facing again. First ball he nearly chopped on and got a single. Back on strike, this is where things really went up a notch because he hit the final three balls of the over for four.

The first was a legitimate cover drive, the second was a definitely-going-after-this-guy-no-matter-what scythe thing and the third one was off his pads.

And it continued.

The first ball of Rabada’s next over was, as you might imagine, short.

It went for six.

We’re not sure exactly what you want to read into this, but Rabada’s next delivery was a no-ball.

That also went to the ropes.

So that’s Rabada v Warner, five boundaries on the bounce. What would you absolutely 100 per cent most definitely want to see happen at this point?

Just stop and think. Imagine that you know in advance that this is the last ball you’re going to see. Things aren’t going to build up any more that this. This is the finish. What do you want to see?

Cartwheeling stump! The finest sight in sport.

After that, Usman Khawaja walked out and everyone felt a bit deflated and a load of people switched off.

Honestly, this might just have been the most perfect passage of cricket there’s ever been.


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  1. All a bit Flintoff to Kallis, wasn’t it? (I only know about the Flintoff to Kallis thing because of this site, incidentally.)

    The only possible better thing I can think of would have been Warner falling over arse-into-stumps. Magical.

    1. Flintoff to Kallis was very different. Basically Kallis couldn’t get close to any of the deliveries. It was all “what did that miss”, “surely that’s LBW”, “the best batsman in the world is totally baffled how on earth is he still there” stuff until the mega-satisfying denouement:


    2. Weirdorama. 15 minutes after posting the above, I went to my weekend sports bag to grab a shirt for this morning’s (soggy, modern) tennis with Daisy…

      …only to find my Edgbaston 2008 Flintoff/Kallis shirt on the top of the pile. What were the odds on that?

      (Well, considering my coloured sports shirt rotation has 15-20 shirts in it, I guess the odds were somewhere between 15-1 and 20-1.)


      Still felt spooky when I saw that short smiling back at me from the bag.

  2. Stumps (or a stump) cartwheeling is, in my view, the best cartwheeling there is.

    Australian stumps cartwheeling is one of the best subsets of this top tier of cartwheeling.

    David Warner’s stumps cartwheeling is the top 1% of the top 1% of the top 1%.

  3. I will see that last ball 500 more times in my lifetime and I hope it’s never less fun. Pure wriggling delight.

  4. Looking forward to seeing David Warner as captain. I’m sure that will calm things down.

    Also, if Australia need a new coach, can they please take Bayliss?

    1. While watching the early stages of the New Zealand v England test on Thursday morning, I’m sure I saw, ever so briefly, Trent Boult whip out a small lathe and a battery-operated sanding device, then hide same down his trousers after doing something to the ball before running in to bowl.

  5. Breaking News!

    Australian captain admits crossing the line, but isn’t going to do anything about it.

    Smith told reporters that it was a deliberate plan from the “leadership group” of the side, but added he would not step down as captain. “The leadership group knew about it, we spoke about it at lunch,” Smith said. “I am not proud of what has happened. It’s not in the spirit of the game, my integrity and the integrity of the team has been damaged and rightfully so. It’s not on and it won’t happen again, I can promise you.”

    As contrition goes, that’s a weird one. When he says that the integrity of the team has been damaged, he means by himself. But he has managed to spend the second half of that paragraph being appalled and angry about it. Appalled and angry, at himself.

    Presumably he will take himself aside and give himself a good talking to. He will tell himself that behaviour of this sort is not something he will tolerate, and that if there is any repeat he will find himself out of the team. Acting like that, he isn’t the sort of person that he feels he can be in a team with.

    Or maybe it’s that they’ve been acting out a lie for so long now that they have no idea what reality is anymore.

      1. Think he just wanted to highlight Darren Lehmann’s absence from the press conference.

    1. I also liked that Bancroft was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

      I’d like Jonny Bairstow’s opinion on how this press conference compared to the last hilarious one Smith and Bancroft put on.

      1. Clearly this is just them headbutting the line.

        What an unlikeable bunch this current batch are turning out to be. Except Pat Cummins. I quite like him. But still, more than happy to damn him by association.

        Also distracts from 58 all out. Excellent timing you buffoons.

      2. Bancroft’s massive head crashed straight through the line.

        To be honest, most of the Aussies are fine – even Bancroft who strikes us as being as much victim as sinner.

        Cummins is a decent human being; Starc struggles to play the fast bowler role; Khawaja’s got his own thing going on; Paine’s got little to say behind the stumps; and Lyon, you suspect, is basically just the Richard Hammond of the team, getting into the petty stuff because he’s too weak-willed not to.

    2. Its like his “brain fade” nonsense in India last year. Yes I screwed up, but so long as I “look people in the eye” and “be upfront” about it, I am forgiven (by myself)

  6. ” “You can ask questions as much as you like but I can promise you this is the first time it’s happened and I think I’ve made it clear, we’re regrettable and we’ll move on from this.”

    “We’re regrettable” is the only time he made sense in the entire press conference.

    1. We really disproportionately object to the “we’ll move on from this”.

      Actually, Steve, you’ll move on when the world lets you move on, which will be no time soon, and in certain respects never.

      1. Yeah, exactly. He’s conveniently overlooking the fact that it appears he’s about to get the sack, along with a few of the others. Not so fast sunshine!

  7. Rank Hypocrisy and Cheating aside, the sheer Stupidity of this is staggering.

    Step 1: Decide to tamper with the ball in the midst of raging controversies around sledging, ICC hearings, demerit points being handed out like candy, the “line”, what is personal abuse, moral outrage all around, etc etc.

    Step 2: Having decided to tamper with the ball, entrust it to the youngest member of the team (who seems to be quite a nitwit on top of it)

    Step 3: Choose something flashy and yellow with which to tamper with the ball, all the easier for television cameras to spot it

    Step 4: Having been exposed on the big screen while ball tampering, try and fool the umpires, again in front of all the TV cameras

    Step 5: Having chosen to entrust the youngest member of the team to carry out the ball tampering, who has now been caught with incontrovertible evidence, have no choice but to admit it was your idea

    Step 6: While admitting it was your idea, also mention unnecessary details like the reasons for the ball tampering were because you couldn’t get get the ball to swing, thereby making the case against you bulletproof.

    Step 7: Having done all of the above, insist you are still the best person to lead the team.

    THAT is what you call a brain fade.

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