Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

'Banter' Is a Dubious Art Form

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

'Banter' Is a Dubious Art Form

Article excerpt

Keeping up the Pace

with

Paul

Hoffmann

NOT many sporting teams divide opinion quite like this current Australian cricket side.

I admire what Darren Lehmann has done with his squad of players. Before he took over, the Aussies were in turmoil.

Players were sent home from tours for not handing in essays. They were getting flogged by rivals India, England and South Africa. They looked like a divided team.

They played like a fractious group of spoilt brats.

Then, along came "Boof" Lehmann. A down-to-earth honest bloke, who more importantly, had "been there and done that" when it came to playing international cricket.

Players respect that.

As a result, Boof became an overnight father figure for the team. Finally, a coach they could be honest and open with.

Boof's message was simple. Enjoy your cricket.

Cricket is not life or death.

Just get out there with a smile on your face and savour the moment.

Playing cricket for Australia is the dream of many a young Aussie kid.

These guys were living the dream.

But they shouldn't be taking it for granted.

Under Boof's new regime, results changed dramatically. The Aussies thrashed the Poms 5-0 in last summer's Ashes series.

England had arrived cocky and confident. Months later they left these shores battered and bruised by Mitchell Johnson. Australia steamrolled them.

Then, in Lehmann's toughest test to date, they defeated South Africa away from home.

Both cricketing heavyweights went at it toe to toe. In the end, Australia, through the pace of Mitchell Johnson, the determination of Ryan Harris, the bravery of Michael Clarke (in the Cape Town test) and the brutality of David Warner, were the deserved winners.

In a matter of months, Australia had gone from a laughing stock to the No.1- rated Test nation in the world. …

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