An open letter to Michael Clarke on sledging

To Michael Clarke,

My name is Jo and I have three children – two boys and one girl. I actually met you once, during the KFC Big Bash League at the SCG. It was such a lovely day and you were a true gentleman. We were very impressed and the kids were so happy to meet you.

I wasn’t much of a cricket fan but my children were always talking about it. Lots of the school friends play soccer during winter and cricket during summer and we bumped into some of them at the game. It was such a great day.

Cricket, to me, is a gentleman’s sport, one where I know my children can watch and see sportsmanship at its best. I’d been trying to steer them away from watching NRL because it was so violent and vicious. That was a big move for me as I’d followed NRL all my life but sitting there seeing punch ups and slurs while my children watched on wasn’t happening. Cricket was a much better choice for us.

I’d like to think that move wasn’t a mistake.

When you told England’s James Anderson to, “Get ready for a [email protected]#king broken arm” you might have thought it was just ribbing, or sledging, but was it really necessary? To me, cricket just isn’t that kind of sport and Australian cricketers are above such behaviour. There was no need to say that out loud, while surrounded by cameras and microphones.

I understand that there’s a lot of pressure on the Australian Cricket Team at the moment. You guys need a win. But part of being a professional sportsman is coping with that pressure with decorum.

I hope your behaviour this weekend isn’t an example of things to come.

I kept the TV off last night so the kids wouldn’t see the footage. It’s a bit hard to teach our children to be good sports if the captain of the Australian Cricket Team can’t even control himself. Do you realise parents have held you up as a good example of how to behave appropriately during competitive play?

My son Philip gets really emotional when he’s losing a game, particularly if he feels something has been done unfairly. I tell him to stay calm and channel all his anger into his game play.

I am giving you the same advice.

Cricket is not ‘a war’. It is a sporting event. Someone who compares sport to war has obviously never lived through a real war where people’s lives are at risk.

You are paid very well for your role in Australian sport and like it or not, you are a role model.


Jo Abi