Which of Australia’s three banned ball-tamperers is being the most annoying (and which of them is being the least annoying)?

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The Tamperer was an Italian dance music act. They had a number one with Feel It. The most memorable element of Feel It was that the bridge section (there wasn’t really a chorus) went: “What’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her?”

There you go. There’s a nice reminder for you. Feel free to have that play in your mind’s ear every time you see an interview with Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith or David Warner. (There’s even a suggestion that someone ‘crossed the line’ in verse two.)

The terrible trio are inching their way back towards international eligibility and the interviews are arriving with ever-greater frequency. It seems a good time to rank their performances in exile according to how annoying they’ve been.

In reverse order…

3. David Warner

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Quite miraculously, David Warner has been almost entirely non-annoying during his ban.

Yes, he stormed off the pitch when Phil Hughes’ brother sledged him, but that was more laughable than annoying.

Unlike Bancroft and Smith – who’ve been unnecessarily keen to shift responsibility for ‘the act’ onto his shoulders – Warner’s largely managed to resist the temptation to ‘open up’ about what happened. His latest interview is a deader bat than he ever presents on the field.

2. Steve Smith

Steve Smith in the Vodafone advert

Smith has subtly rewritten his role in the sandpaper plot. His version now is: “I walked past something and had the opportunity to stop it and I didn’t do it and that was my leadership failure.”

As apologies go, there’s a certain amount of distancing going on there. Not so much, ‘sorry for the crime’ as ‘sorry for the dip in standards in my policing’.

Smith also did a Vodafone advert, the premise of which is built on the idea that “the way [Smith] responded to the situation head-on took guts.”

So essentially he’s getting paid for an ad in which he calls himself gutsy for getting paid for an ad in which he calls himself gutsy.

(Smith got the gig because he’s become an ambassador for the Gotcha4Life school programme which teaches teenage boys the importance of opening up. Hopefully all the money’s going to that or some charity.)

1. Cameron Bancroft

Excuse making (via Sky Sports video)

In the opening scene of Patriot, John Tavner shoves a guy in front of a van. He does this because they’re both going for the same job and John needs to get the job.

Cameron Bancroft did the metaphorical equivalent of this when he said: “Dave suggested to me to carry the action out on the ball given the situation we were in in the game.”

What was annoying about this was that it was totally needless. Everyone thought the sandpapering was all Warner’s idea anyway. To actually say as much is really just sticking the boot in.

In the same interview, Bancroft explicitly said that he wasn’t a victim while implicitly saying the exact opposite.

“I didn’t know any better because I just wanted to fit in and feel valued really,” he explained. He said that if he hadn’t done what he did: “I would have gone to bed and I would have felt like I had let everybody down. I would have felt like I had let the team down.”

So essentially: ‘No, I’m not going to say I’m a victim – but if you want to draw that conclusion based on the picture I’ve painted of the environment I found myself in then there’s nothing I can do to stop you thinking that.’

There was also the 20,000 word open letter to himself which oscillated between self-aggrandisement and self-pity while maintaining a constant state of self-indulgence.

Sample quote: “You have no idea how amazing you are as a person. You have an ability to love others and not just love but even hug and understand others with compassion, strength and resilience.”

So yes, all in all Cameron Bancroft’s been the most annoying.


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  1. First Holder taking out LMOG, and now Warner coming last in an annoyingness contest, the underdogs are really having their day around here.

  2. Warner may not have been that annoying but I was not that impressed with the puff piece his wife did for the Australian Women’s Weekly (my mother-in-law gave me a gift subscription, I did not willingly seek the article out). Will send photos to the King.

  3. The odd thing about your “Feel It” 1998 hit, is that almost half of it is a sample from the Jacksons Can You Feel It, which was released at the peak of my own yoof era, the early 1980s.

    Here is the video for the Jacksons version, which, let’s face it, is infinitely better as a dance record (when you eliminate the extraneous garbage natter and noise from the official vid) https://youtu.be/9nP4WE_-uqE

    There’s an analogy with the Sandpaper Three in there somewhere – plagiarism that isn’t plagiarism because you give credit to the people you have ripped off – at least 50% of the noise being absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand…

    …anyway, you can’t ear worm us with Can You Feel It – we voluntarily listen to that one and Daisy has all the moves – like – Shahid Afridi has nothing on Daisy’s moves to the Jacksons.

  4. You are right, of course KC, but there is a small subtlety to this. That is, the last twelve months have been more of a journey, a progression of annoyingness. As such, it’s important to take the three players’ starting points into account.

    David Warner –
    Start : Annoying twat level 10
    Progress : zero
    Finish : Annoying twat level 10

    Steve Smith :
    Start : Annoying twat level 6
    Progress : Steady, as before
    Finish : Annoying twat level 10

    Cameron Bancroft :
    Start : Never heard of him
    Progress : Maximum possible
    Finish : Annoying twat level 10

    Wow, it’s a dead heat. Who’d have thought it. All three of them are annoying twats at the highest (elite?) level. Considering that only a few weeks ago Bancroft wasn’t even in touch with the leaders, it has been a sterling effort from the lad.

    Anyway, I can now officially update my Room 101 preference. It is to spend an hour with these three discussing themselves in a Q&A with Matthew Hayden. You can have Julia’s address and phone number right away.

    1. I like this approach. Smith has been accumulating his twat level in that inevitable way in which he accumulates his runs….

  5. That open letter absolutely beggared belief. Any stray sympathy still floating about for CB by that point must have evaporated on the spot.

    Of course, given the Aussies’ current travails, there is every chance Bancroft will find himself whisked back into the test side pretty promptly… they are not showing any interest in giving Renshaw another chance – and seem to have figured out the hard way what a lot of people could have told them anyway, regarding Finch’s suitability as a test opener (given that he doesn’t open for his state). Khawaja won’t stay in that slot for long and although Harris looks very promising, he will need a partner… I can’t see CA agonising for too long over that one.

    I do fully agree with you about the utter classlessness of CB’s excuse-making (especially the way he hid behind his “values” as they were at the time – FFS). Still, if someone has to be chucked under the nearest bus, it may as well be Warner… every cloud and all that…

    1. Least important detail in all of that, but Renshaw should be playing. Blows our mind that he isn’t.

      1. Yes… I don’t think Langer likes him for some reason. Maybe he just doesn’t trust him cos of his Pommie heritage (OK, not really… right?!)

        Ian Chappell said recently that Renshaw was especially unlucky ‘cos he got dropped on state form, not test form and that’s not the right way to make the decision (obviously Chapelli is seldom at the back of the queue for telling CA they’re doing it all wrong). But I was just remembering yesterday about when Renshaw’s place was first officially under threat, *before* he got dropped, and Langer – Western Australia coach at the time – was telling everyone that (his young protege) Bancroft would do a much better job. I thnk it was the first time I heard of Bancroft – anyway the next thing you know, it has all come to pass and etc etc.

        Now that JL has been promoted up the chain it’s as if he just won’t go back on that decision, even while his golden boy is suspended, even if it means trying out guys who don’t look like test openers instead (Finch). [For the sake of balance, I feel obliged to remind myself that Warner never looked like a test opener either… so it *could* have worked.]

        So, yeah: maybe Langer just has it in for Renshaw…? Everybody else seems to to think he’s been hard done by, but his name is no longer being mentioned at all.

        [I have separate musings about the time when Renshaw first got picked… this is not the place for them…]

    2. The most annoying thing about CB’s self-serving letter and interview with Gilchrist is not that he’s thrown Warner under the proverbial, but that he’s contrived to shove yoga and meditation – practices of high honour in my book – in there after him. Shame!

      Also I note that they all talk of what ‘happened’ in SA, not what they ‘did’, which reminds me of when my son was in nappies and needed a change, when he announced one day, “Something happened bum.”

  6. Smith’s fee did apparently go to charity: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUKKCN1OJ0P5

    But that just means the act wasn’t “utterly morally bankrupt”. It still comfortably qualifies as “annoyingly twattish in extremis”.

    Bancroft is such a whiny twat. I hope Warner goes rogue on him at some point when they’re back in the team together. Hopefully during the Ashes this year. On the pitch.

    How badly do you have to be judging your behavioural choices to make Warner seem dignified by comparison? Very.

    1. Yes. The ad still paints him as ‘brave’ for facing up to what he did and ‘tackling it head on’ – so brave for doing the ad, basically. It’s still self-serving to a degree – albeit self-service draped under a veil of altruism. To be honest, the whole fucking ‘rehabilitation’ of the three of them is a protracted exercise in double-think.

      We say this as someone who thought a one-match ban was probably about right.

      1. Yeah, they should have all just said sorry, shut up, then come back if they got picked. “Better to say nothing and be thought a fool…” and all that. Warner must be a Mark Twain fan!

  7. Have to hand it to Bancroft, he understands he is unlikely to get back into the Australian team whilst remaining humble and apologetic so, for the sake of his own career he has played Russian roulette, somehow assuming that the selectors will select him above Warner.
    Although it would be comedy gold I cant see the two of them ever batting together again.
    I’m convinced now having looked at his ridiculous lettre à soi that it was ghost written by a certain Matthew Lawrence Hayden….

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