The Ashes draw near, giving us an opportunity to relive the legendary 1986-1987 tour/massive booze-up in this great retrospective by Simon Briggs. Here are some other tales of Ashes skulduggery, tomfoolery and malarkey.
Disrespecting the wig
David Warner, who punched Joe Root in a Birmingham Walkabout, told the Sydney Morning Herald it was the cherubic Yorkshireman’s purloining of a pal’s syrup that set him off.
A mate of mine was actually wearing [the wig] on top of his head like a Malinga wig, that's what it was. He was wearing it on his head and (Root) decided to come in and take it off my mate's head and start acting the way he did.
When people are drunk that's what they do but I thought it was a bit inappropriate the way he went about that stuff so I went over and tried to take it off him. I just think in today's society you shouldn't be fooling around with that kind of stuff.
The SMH claimed: "What triggered his lunge at Root was the young Yorkshireman's positioning of a green-and-gold wig on his chin, which Warner interpreted as mocking the South African batsman Hashim Amla." Sure. Obviously he did.
Conclusion: David is, in fact, a hero.
Warner was at it again recently
As soon as you step on that line it’s war. I try and look in the opposition’s eyes and work out: ‘How can I dislike this player? How can I get on top of him?’ You have to dig deep into yourself to actually get some hatred about them to actually get up when you’re out there.
Not the first sportsman to confuse hitting a ball around with actually killing people in combat, and sadly, he probably won’t be the last. No wigs involved this time, as far as we can tell, though.
Warner does his best, but in terms of Ashes feuds, you can do no better, or worse, than the Ian Botham v Ian Chappell saga.
Sir Ian and Not Sir Ian have had a deeply held dislike of each other for decades.
The scene: a Melbourne bar in 1977
Sir Ian Botham’s version: "I gave him three official warnings, all of which he ignored, so the next time he started, I just flattened him. He went flying over a table and crash-landed on a group of Aussie Rules footballers, spilling their drinks in the process."
Ian Chappell’s version, as told in his 2007 autobiography and reported in The Telegraph at the time.
The Australian, 64, countered what he called a "fairytale" and said that "someone is going to regret awarding him a "knighthood".
But Chappell claimed Botham held an empty glass to his throat and said "I'll cut you from ear to ear".
Chappell said he told Botham that such an attack would prove he was a coward, prompting the Englishman to shove him in the chest, pushing him over in his chair.
He said his rival then suggested they settle the matter outside but the Australian replied that he didn't fight and Botham was not worth ending up in a hospital or jail cell over.
David Lloyd took up the tale in his 2013 book 'The Ashes According to Bumble':
‘Botham and Chappell are often in the same vicinity but for the good of world peace do everything they can to avoid each other. But on this occasion, with the Sky and Channel Nine media transport parked next to each other, a meeting became inevitable.
‘As Beefy passes Chappell, the former Australian captain mutters, “****”. Botham doesn’t break stride but replies, “Oh , **** ***, you ****”. Botham then threw his bag inside the bus and turning round, called it on with Chappell, declaring: “Right that’s it, once and for all. Come on”.
‘It took Big Ron, C9’s floor manager, to step across and plead, “Come on fellas, ease off now. We can’t have this”. The threat of a bare-knuckle dust up was avoided, but the obscenities continued as we drove off.
‘Beefy was absolutely steaming: “Just ******* wait till I get him on my own in a lift”. It took him two days to come down from the height of his anger.’
Can you believe it?
One of The Ashes’ most beloved stories/myths: that David Boon drunk 52 cans of beer on the flight to England. Carl Rackermann told the Courier Mail:
David Boon decided he’d take on the record for most cans of Victoria Bitter for the flight to England and there were about six of us who lined up as his pacemakers on a roster system to keep him going.
Boonie ended up sinking 52 cans. As we were coming into London the pilot gave his normal “welcome to Heathrow” announcement and then he says “Good luck to the Australian cricket team who are already off to a good start and congratulations to David Boon for breaking the Australia to England beer drinking record.”
The Original Hated Pom
Step forward, Douglas Jardine, creator not only of Bodyline but of the Aussie image of the English cricketer: aloof, cold, sneering, devious.
Stories of Jardine’s popularity in Australia are legendary, notably the heckle from Stephen Harold Gascoigne (aka Yabba) the Sydney Cricket Ground superfan. On seeing Jardine swat at a fly, he shouted: "Leave our flies alone, Jardine. They're the only friends you've got here."