DDT'ing Neil Harvey

Last updated 11:17 01/02/2008

Great to see some inter-generational cricketing warfare erupt across the Tasman. General Ricky Ponting has metaphorically scooped up fellow number 3 batsman Admiral Neil Harvey and verbally DDT'd him a la Jake the Snake* after the old-timer unleashed another volley of criticism at the Lucky Country's contemporary cricket and cricketers. Ponting said:

...Neil Harvey seems to be the hardest man in the world to please where modern cricket is concerned. He's also the first one that any journalist around Australia would ring because they know he is going to give a negative reaction to this team. And to tell the truth there is no one in our current team, and I don't think there's too many around Australia that actually sit back and listen to what Neil Harvey has got to say.

That's a pretty tragic state of affairs, and an irretrievable relationship breakdown most certainly.  A quick squizz at the history book shows that - and it pains me to say it: Richard Ponting may well be right on this one. Harvey seems to be one of those commentators that has a knack for making every quote sound like it has emerged from the mouth of a bulldog chewing a lemon-flavoured wasp. Highlights from the piehole of Mr R N Harvey over the years have included:

- 6200 Test runs at 45+ between them, but they're rubbish! "I don't think Lehmann was ever a Test player and Martyn has failed far too often. They are both over the hill and must be removed before it's too late. There are a number of young players and they should be given their chances."

- On the extraordinary Ashes win at the Adelaide Oval, conveniently overlooking the fact Australia also took 9/70 in the first two sessions of the last day: "It just scrapes into my top ten test victories of all time. In 1948, my team had to make 400-odd on the last day and achieved it with 15 minutes to spare. How does that compare to making 160?"

- Possibly not at #3 but is this fair? "Ricky Ponting wouldn't have gotten a game in the Invincibles."

- Disappointing for us to be keeping this company: "There are some inflated figures that have been flying around, both batting and bowling, these last few years, because they're playing against teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and New Zealand, who you have to say are very poor cricket teams."

- Back in his day..."See, you go back to the past and you've got to remember that the past players played under uncovered wickets, whereas these guys who play out here are a little bit spoilt in my opinion. They play on flat wickets all the time and they grizzle if the ball does a little bit off the pitch, and whatever. But we had to put up with that."

- On Steve Waugh's swashbuckling 77 in the 4th Ashes Test at the MCG: "Knowing the bloke he is, I suppose he went out there fully determined to do something about all the pressure he's been getting in the last couple of weeks and he's fortunate I suppose, he's playing against probably one of the worst cricket teams I've ever seen and the two openers, of course, have given him a great start to sap away the bowler's confidence and he went out there with a job I would suppose would be a little easier to do than normally would be done."

- On the Waugh twins, a common target of his vitriol: "Money is the only thing that keeps them playing. If they earned the same money as I did when I was playing they'd have retired at 34 as I did, and Australian cricket would be the better for it."

- On whether Steve Waugh's record-breaking Australian team was the best ever? " No, they're not, no, far from it. I could name three other teams that are probably better than this one and they get carried away with the strength of the opposition these days...the '48 team is one obviously, and I would name the '58 team of Benaud's, and the '72 team of Ian Chappell's... See the current lot have, in my opinion, have got two weaknesses...they haven't got an all-rounder for a start and they also haven't got an opening batsman. They've gone back to Hayden again."

It is a little sad when all you can do as an ex-player is stick the knife in and slash away like a mad butcher whenever you're asked a question about the current team. Call it as you see it, sure, but relentlessly washing your old school bitterness over today's generation of players just undermines your standing as one of the greatest cricketers of all-time. Methinks Neil should abandon the rent-a-potshot and stick to tupperware, kitchen and cosmetics - the trades he has plied for decades.

So if Neil Harvey is the Australian personification of cricket's rent-a-quote, who is the New Zealand version: Martin Crowe? Warren Lees? John Morrison? Ian Smith? Mark Richardson? Simon Doull? I'm not sure...

And last up, take a look at the second photo in this posting: the one with the shattered stumps.  A CHOCOLATE FISH to the first person who can identify (i) the Aussie batsman, (ii) the Kiwi bowler and (iii) the Test match venue... Discuss.

* See 39 seconds in here if you don't know what I'm on about

Post a comment
Paul   #1   11:35 am Feb 01 2008

Surely the rent a quote in NZ is John Bracewell although Martin Crowe can be pretty good for talking the "good old days" from when he was captain.

Chris   #2   12:05 pm Feb 01 2008

Mr Parore seems to pop up with increasing frequency and a new set of steak knives to stick into the current group of players.

ants   #3   12:35 pm Feb 01 2008

As our best ever batsman Martin Crowe and our most innovative captain Martin Crowe has something to back it up with.

John Bracewell is just a bumbling, inept muppet who no-one in the public has any respect for.

Neil Harvey sounds like the little boy crying wolf. It's a pity that Bradman is no longer around - his view on what happened in Sydney would have a lot of value.

Matthew   #4   12:36 pm Feb 01 2008

Mark Waugh - 86 Craig MacMillan the bowler WACA Perth, 2001

3 Match series, all drawn.

Ben   #5   02:35 pm Feb 01 2008

I dunno if many of those options for NZ pot-shotters could work... at least not on the Harvey scale of things. Sure, Parore, Crowe & Doull definitely have plenty to say... and Smith should do as our best commentator... but the current players generally get off light from this bunch I reckon.

The people that cop the most from past players are administration, the coach and other past players... which always keeps things interesting.

Although quiet in recent months, I reckon you could wind up Howarth or Turner to get some grumbles if you wanted.

One day Ryder might be one to lambast the players, run his mouth off & what not... but he'll have to earn the respect first...

The Holden   #6   03:44 pm Feb 01 2008

Ben: I think the Kiwi way is to just think (rather than say) that you're better than the team of the day. I think many in the NZ 80s cricketing mafia would struggle with the idea that things are better/tougher/faster/stronger than in their day... But you're right, our closest in any sport would be Colin Meads on the rugby side of things, banging on about cowpats and how tough it was back when men were men.

Jacki   #7   04:20 am Feb 02 2008

Ah thanks for those interesting insights into this Harvey bloke. Can't say I knew of him until now even tho I'm an Aussie cricket fan. Too much before my time I guess. It's very sad to see him behaving like this, he doesn't seem to be entirely sane. Maybe he's still bitter about never being captain or something. But with him and our obscurely pointless GG and Rudd and various other odd-bods running around pontificating darkly about "the Sydney test" and our naughty Aussie team, there's one person who, despite his current God-like legend status in Aussie cricket, has been studiously ignored. That would be Richie Benaud who has stated several times, including in his own column, that he sees absolutely no problem with the way Australia played cricket in Sydney, or any other venue for that matter. I know whose opinion I think is worth listening to. Thanks for the giggle!!

Steve   #8   12:29 pm Feb 03 2008

Neil Harvey is a bitter old fool. If the ICL called him up and said fancy a game old timer, he'd be in quicker than you can say 'Deer Velvet'. Incidentally I'd say our version would be Crowe, if not a bit diluted on this old hasbeen.

Steve   #9   12:31 pm Feb 03 2008

Also, kudos on the comment 'they haven't got an opener' then listing off one who avgs 10 more than he did.... And when you have 7 great batsmen and 4 great bowlers (I believe the all-rounder comment was made around the 2000/01 season) what's the point in an all-rounder? Shane Watson? If all-round means decidedly mediocre all-round, then sure.

Thomas   #10   01:20 pm Feb 04 2008

Two points:

Jake the Snake's DDT wasn't a patch on Ravishing Rick's Rude Awakening.

If Martin Crowe was a bit closer to the action he might not be quite so critical and we might even have some batsmen learn to last for more than a session.

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