Sunday, 24 May 2009

How likeable are Australia?

Yes, I was wondering exactly that when I stumbled across an article in The Times which analyses Australia's weaknesses going into the Ashes. It's a good enough read if only to see how the English are willing themselves quite desperately to believe they have a firm upper hand going into the series, when neither side really does. Of course, as usual, the part that interests me is statistics relating to the likeability of Australian cricketers - their "approval rating" as deemed by parents:
During their camp, the Australians will be told that market research commissioned by Cricket Australia revealed that 81% of the Australian public think the team are good role models for children. This is a vast improvement on a rating of about 20% shortly after the scandal at Sydney but still means one in five Australians disapproves of them. They have never inspired affection.

So it's not just likeability, it's how great of a role model each cricketer is. I'm not surprised at the stat for the India series in 2007-08, because that was pretty shocking at the time. Maybe Peter Roebuck filled in all those votes because he sure as hell had it in for the Aussies back then.

From a purely superficial point of view, the cricketers probably are good role models for children. They do the right things, take part in the right charities, hang out with kids for special events to help them out with their cricketing skills. Kids don't tend to see beyond that initial layer.

As it turns out, we do quite like Glenn McGrath but he's not on the team. His home town is apparently sticking a giant pigeon statue in a park or town square or something in honour of him. Kind of creepy, but it could have been worse if it had been a statue of him.

But the best role model of all is Ricky Ponting, who not only plays cricket with kids at empty stadiums, but encourages them to take their vitamins, simply by association. Marvellous.

Parents all over Australia smile as they down a bottle of vitamins, telling their kids that one day they'll grow up to eat vitamins like mummy and daddy and Ricky Ponting.


Stani Army said...

Ames, do you think this is the real reason why Symonds was dropped? To take the likeabilty percentage from 20 to 81? You could have hit on something there.

I do feel for the Aussies though because it's a difficult blancing act. Trying to be mean to the opposition but still set an example to kids.

Personally, I admire their talents but I don't like 'em. Had they had my favourite Australian in the side then I'd reconsider.

Ottayan said...

Though you have written tongue in cheek, like you I doubt the necessity for a sportsperson to be likable.

It is a profession like any other and takes all kind to make it go.

Amy said...

Stani, it's okay, I suspect many people outside of Australia don't like the team. Now where could I have drawn that conclusion from? It's a wonder I picked it. Anyway, generally the people who do love the team are a bunch of bogans, or at least I classify them as that because I'm a big ol' bitch. It's not really a matter of liking the team as a whole, because one or two players are bound to be iffy.

Ottayan, in essence that's absolutely right. You can be cutthroat and make it in most jobs, including as a sportsperson. You don't have to preserve a nice image. Footy players don't.

Rayden said...

To be honest except for 2 or 3 guys in the current Australian team, rest all are likeable - and just because they are likeable it does not mean they are not aggressive or fierce competitors.

Esra_Star said...

Likeable or not this is the most unexcited this bogan has ever been about an ashes side. Yeah we should win and Midget Phil (who looks like he should be on Oxford street not on the banana farm) is exciting. I think I still long for the Aussies of old...sigh.

Amy said...

Rayden, yeah that's what I meant by considering individual players and not a team. For example, I'm sure Mike Hussey would have a 100% approval rating. He was once a fierce competitor too.

Esra, the feeling of comfort and safety knowing that team could pull you through anything was enjoyable while it lasted. Now we teeter on the edge as they do.

adverbin said...

I dislike Symonds .... intensely. I also think he should have been picked ahead of McDonald.

Amy said...

So do I, my friend. So do I.