Embarrassing Hype

The first 2011 Wheelie Bin award for journalist’s rubbish has been awarded to the Sunday Times of 2 January.  Under the headline “The World turned upside down” (originally used to describe the British defeat at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781 and the subsequent founding of the USA), the newspaper avers in an article of embarrassing triumphalism, that England go into the 5th and final cricket test in Sydney Australia with an “unassailable lead” of 2-1.  It isn’t unassailable – if Australia should win in Sydney, the series would be drawn 2-2.  Sure England get to keep the Ashes’ urn, but so what – it’s the series which counts and will count when taking on the current world leaders South Africa and India.  If England win at Sydney, this will be a memorable, but not unique 3-1 victory, but their bowlers will still need to bowl straight, maintain a good length, and their batsmen consistently display the proven virtues of concentration, patience and getting behind and over balls pitching near or on the stumps.  They should certainly abjure the silly hugging of whoever gets a wicket or takes a catch.  Nor should they indulge in the repellent habit of name calling of the opposing players (so-called “sledging”) which the writer, Simon Wilde, seems to approve of as a match-winning tactic. 

Wheelie Bin Rubbish Award

The article is not much worse than most of the unbalanced English journalism about the England tour we have already seen.  After the first England victory in the second Test at Adelaide – it was apparently all up with Australia and the only issue seemed to be whether England would win the series 4-0 or 3-0.  Then came Perth and Australia’s win.  Given the weather, pitches and length of the matches (5 days) cricket Test matches are probably the most uncertain of all sporting events to predict – so why don’t journalists just record the facts of the game and leave speculation to the readers? 

Certainly sports writers shouldn’t stray outside their sport.  Australia, referred to in the article as a “developing” nation, certainly is not.  “Developing” is a euphemism usually reserved for Third World countries more often going backwards than forwards.  Australia of course has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, especially if expressed in purchasing power parities.

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