Sorry for the profanity — “it’s just not (a) cricket (blog),” I know — but Darren Lehmann has long epitomized the worst about Australian cricket for me — the arrogance, the dominance, the sense of entitlement — and now that he’s gone, I can’t say I’m too sad about it. Since I matured as a cricket fan during the 1996 World Cup final, I learned early on that some sides were very different from others: as an impressionable brown boy, it mattered very little to me what teams were playing, I would root for the darker shade every time. (Though in all-white matches, I still root for England first…though that just might be self-hatred.)
During a later series, when I heard that Lehmann had called the Sri Lankan opposition a bunch of “black cunts,” it all seemed to click for me: there was big, bad Allan Donald, from South Africa, telling erudite and small Rahul Dravid to go fuck himself after hitting him for a six; even earlier, there was South Africa itself, mysteriously appearing on the world scene after 1991 (“What’s apartheid, mommy?”); there was John Howard, using Muralitharan to score electoral points (only after shipping asylum-seekers to (another) prison island wore off); and now, there was this egg-headed loser. Like I said, cricket was a very easy and heart-breaking introduction to the post-colonial world.
What bothered me most about Lehmann’s insult, however, was just how historically accurate it fit. Continue reading