Re­verse he­roes are a big hit

The Advertiser - - NEWS - MICHAEL McGUIRE

IN among the whole Steve Smith-David Warner non­sense in South Africa, there was the fa­mil­iar cry of “won’t some­one think of the chil­dren”. The ob­vi­ous worry was that Smith and Warner were poor role mod­els for the na­tion’s cricket-lov­ing kid­dies.

Turns out they were per­fect role mod­els, just not in the way in­tended. Justin Thomas is a coach of the Golden un­der-12 white – the Brumbies –and said yesterday at Adelaide Oval that he used Smith and Warner as ex­am­ples of how not to be­have. “They were a bit dis­ap­pointed by it,’’ he said of the sand­pa­per far­rago that led to Smith, Warner and Cameron Ban­croft be­ing sus­pended.

“But it helps me en­force the mes­sage that we play in the spirit of cricket. We don’t cheat. It’s all about the spirit of the game.’’ It’s easy to con- clude by the sparse look of the crowd yesterday, that the na­tion has lost af­fec­tion for its cricket team. Though it may just be be­cause they are not much good at the mo­ment. Even the pres­ence of lo­cal boy Travis Head play­ing his first Test in Aus­tralia failed to in­spire, even though he dug in and top­scored as wick­ets fell.

It was a slow day’s cricket in front of 25,693 peo­ple as Aus­tralia strug­gled to mas­ter the In­di­ans.

All of which made graphic de­signer and In­dian fan Amit Groves, who was with wife Manu and son Ayaan at the Oval, more than happy. “Noth­ing bet­ters be­ing at the cricket,’’ he said. Per­haps the heat and the lack of a day-night Test also kept a few away.

Pe­dro Floridis, who came with his SACA mem­ber brother Con, said “thou­sands more would have been here be­cause the day-night is a bril­liant Test’’. Still, there was fun to be found. Robyn Mur­doch and her twin sis­ter Amanda Sipo­vac were part of the em­bar­rass­ment of “The Richies”, the hun­dreds who turned up dressed as for­mer Nine com­men­ta­tor, the late Richie Be­naud. Robyn said she reck­oned she and her sis­ter were two of the three fe­males in the group.

But it wasn’t years of lis­ten­ing to Be­naud that made then join. “We used to lis­ten to The Twelfth Man (cricket com­edy) back in the ’90s,’’ she said.

Pic­ture: SARAH REED

WICKET WATCH­ERS: Josh Edwards, Mimi Long, Josephine Da Pra and Harry Abel Smith.

Pic­tures: TOM HUNT­LEY, SARAH REED

BIG DAY: Golden Grove cricket coach Justin Thomas with play­ers Ethan, Sam, James, Clay­ton and Lily, and “The Richies" out in force.

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