Political cricket a platform of extremism

by PAUL COLLITS – YOU always know when the cricket season begins in Australia. No, it isn’t the cracking of willow on leather, or even the endless, jingoistic marketing of the summer game. 

Rather, there is suddenly in-your-face virtue signalling. On all manner of topics. And on a grand scale. 

These people are very fortunate that they are good at cricket. Otherwise, their rich, entitled, woke lifestyles would become very wearing, very quickly.

Our men in white – yes, they occasionally slip on the whites, now inevitably covered in commercial logos – are back, and all political bets are on.

It is almost as if we have a shadow government, a cabinet in exile, so keen are our sportsmen to inflict their political views on all of us. It seems only to be increasing. Domestic policy, foreign policy, you name it.


The resident Muslim in the Australian cricket team, Usman Khawaja, currently playing against his actual home country (Pakistan), has donned a black arm band in protest against the killing in the Middle East, aka Israel’s right effectively to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists.

Terrorists that are now clearly global, not merely regional, in their deadly intent, following the exposure of Hamas’s German and Swedish cells.

To be blunt, anyone (from the Pope down) who is, right now, calling for a ceasefire is terrorist-adjacent. Whether or not they mean to be.

A ceasefire around about now would simply be, like Jerry Seinfeld throwing the car keys to his BO infested BMW to the homeless man on the footpath, saying “steal me”, inviting Hamas to regroup and resume its well-signalled intention to destroy every Jew it ever finds.

The cease-fire activists, agitprop generators all, are useful idiots in the manner of the many Leftists who defended Lenin, then Stalin, at a time when they should have known what exactly they were defending. Mass murderers, basically. A little like Hamas.

The most perceptive defence and foreign policy analysts, from Peter Jennings to Victor Davis Hanson, no mere apologists for Israel or neocons licking their chops for yet another war, have laid out in crystal clear detail what is occurring and why, what happened with the terrorist attacks, what is currently at stake, and the strategic choices that Israel faces in this war.

Bad things happen in wars. I am not aware, by the way, that Usman Khawaja had his black arm tape handy immediately following 7/10, when his co-religionists were butchering babies and raping women across the Israeli border from Gaza.

Khawaja is only wearing a black arm band because the International Cricket Council banned the use of political statements on boots. He was not to be silenced!


To use the black arm band for political statements is a disgrace. Black arm bands were originally used to recognise the passing of former cricketers. A mark of deep, public respect for the traditions and champions of the game.

While the practice has broadened over time to include remembering deceased family members of current cricketers and others with connections to the team (sorry, “playing group”), it was never, ever meant for this political garbage.

So, let us make Khawaja Minister for Foreign Affairs. He certainly has the support of his “prime minister”, Pat Cummins.

Pat is also the minister for climate change, as we know. As a deep green, he loves nothing more than to destroy sponsorship deals for the Australian cricket team when the companies involved are carbon-complicit, for example. Thank God for Pat, a worthy contender for Greens pre-selection in due course. A Senator David Pocock (a former rugby player who is now a born again progressive) in waiting.

Talk about a commitment to public service! No mere fast bowler, this guy.

Any number of team members qualify for minister for Aboriginal affairs. Mercifully, the only actual player of part-Aboriginal descent in the team, Scott Boland, has maintained an appropriately low profile on the issue.

It was rumoured that counselling was offered to them after the Voice referendum failed in October.

Such was their commitment to ramming their views on Indigenous issues down our throats.

Jacinta Price has blasted the Prime Minister – the real one, if you think Airbus Albo still worthy of the title – for running dead on real Aboriginal issues since the Voice referendum’s humiliating outcome.

No brief review of our national cricket heroes would be complete without reference to the endless Warners. This year saw each of them – David and Candice – launching onto the bookshelves.


Candice penned Running Strong and Warner’s book was called The Bull: Daring to be Different (written by Ken Piesse, for whom I formerly had considerable respect as a cricket writer).

As many would know, David Warner is in his self-determined final test series. Thankfully.

Naturally he will play on in the other forms of the game (one day and T20) for some years. Probably ’til he is fifty. They need the money, clearly.

This was 2021: “David and Candice Warner sell temporary Maroubra home for $4.2m. Cricket champion David Warner and his wife Candice are moving towards taking occupancy in their $8m Lurline Bay forever home.”

Perhaps Warner could be given the housing portfolio. He knows a little about high-end real estate.

But I think an even better political job for Warner could be in whole-of-government public relations, given his considerable efforts of late at building friendly relationships with former team-mates.

Think Mitchell Johnson, who had the temerity (as a well-known commentator and practitioner-journalist) to question Warner’s claim on a “Sydney test farewell” and had the audacity to bring up (again) Warner’s past history as a cheat.

It was Warner who got his junior team-mate to rub the cricket ball with sandpaper in South Africa some years back, in order to obtain an unfair advantage, and later whinged about being excluded from “leadership” positions in the team thereafter, as a result of his dubious, morally challenged actions.

Warner humiliated his nation in South Africa, something that should never be forgotten, even if forgiven.

Johnson’s argument was also about Warner’s indifferent form, to put it politely. Warner has been very lucky to have retained his place in the team in recent years.


He only ever now does well in Australia (very occasionally) and against mediocre opposition.  We used to call these kinds of batsmen “flat track bullies”.

After his century in Perth – a grand innings, to be sure – he made pointed signals towards the commentary box and towards Johnson in particular. Inaccurately, the commentators on Fox Sports suggested that Warner had “let his bat do the talking”.

No, he hasn’t allowed his bat to do any talking for about three years, with one or to stand-out exceptions. Instead, he allowed his inevitable, tedious message to the stands to “do the talking”.

Clearly Warner’s display was premeditated, raising the thought that, as he was going along in the middle, he was also thinking to himself, how the hell can I get Johnson back, preferably through a public humiliation? Unless he and Candice had workshopped it earlier.

Perhaps PM Pat and the other cabinet ministers in white chipped in with advice. Or the chairman of selectors, the deeply unimpressive and snide George Bailey.

He too found it impossible to rise above an earlier Johnson comment about him being too close to the players. True enough, as it happens.

They are all part of the “set up” together, intimately connected in the achievement of corporate goals. Bailey’s reference to Mitchell Johnson’s mental health – “I hope he is okay” – was, as Johnson noted, disgusting. Bailey should be sacked.

So, we have foreign affairs, climate change, energy, Aboriginal affairs, housing and public relations all covered. The makings of a political Party, at least. The Australian Cricketers Party.

These people are very fortunate that they are good at cricket. Otherwise, their rich, entitled, woke lifestyles would become very wearing, very quickly. Their behaviour is so very typical of the modern game.

Prior to Kerry Packer’s putsch in the 1970s, players (mercifully) were seen and not heard, and just played the game, largely for the joy of it and often involving great personal sacrifices, without getting or expecting the insane monetary rewards players now demand and without having in prospect a ready platform for venting on every cause under the sun that took their fancy.

Without histrionics and without boring us rigid with their political (or any other) views. Those were the days.PC

Paul Collits

Conflict of interest?

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Usman Khawaja. (courtesy ABC)

2 thoughts on “Political cricket a platform of extremism

  1. Captain Carbon and his cronies with a political agenda can shoulder some of the blame for lower turnouts at the games. CA doesn’t help when they start a test match on a thursday when most people have to work to cover increase in current cost of living. Political agendas should not be allowed by players in any sport.

  2. The new god Black Lives Matter USA, take to a knee to acknowledge the BLM multi-millionaires, what a great wealth creation plan they had, and so many weak minded supporters.


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