Tawdry Drama of Small Fish Posturing in History's Big Pond

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN WOOLDRIDGE

DOMINIC CORK, described in some handbooks as an England all-rounder, and Adam Parore, the New Zealand batsman and wicketkeeper, do not like one another.

What provoked this estrangement is classified information, but their hostility is evident whenever they are in fang-baring range of one another.

It is not that they are not on speaking terms. Far from it. They do little else but slag one another off and much of the speculation on the third day of this extraordinary Test match - extraordinary in that both teams have done everything possible to lose it - concerned the precise wording of their most venomous exchange.

The version that reached the Press box by bush telegraph would be unprintable not only on aesthetic but on legal grounds. Unless apocryphal, which I believe it not to be, it was vilely personal on both sides.

It had started the previous evening when Cork, for want of a better verb, was batting. As usual, his face was daubed with the zinc warpaint symbolism of some obscure Northern tribe. Parore appeared no less bizarre. He straps a pair of goggles above his cap peak, thus looking like Field Marshal Rommel peeping out of a Panzer turret.

Lord knows what the verbals were on that occasion but sufficient, anyway, for Cork to do a foolish thing. He advanced down the wicket and complained to the umpire. It was akin to Dennis Skinner, MP, appealing to the Speaker for decorum, and it was greeted with shrieks of derision.

If you indulge in these aggressive sledging, glaring, gesticulating, high-fiving, manic appealing antics, you must expect retaliation and absorb it without remonstrating.

Personally, I prefer the attitude of Colin Cowdrey who, recalled to the England team to face a new generation of firebrand Australian fast bowlers, went in to bat on the fastest pitch in the world in Perth and at the end of the over removed his white batting gloves and approached Jeff Thomson, who was imminently to attempt to knock his head off. …