Stuart Broad did not fall back on the Wenger defence in Auckland and no one expected that he would. Yes, he had seen the press conference of Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft in Cape Town and he was clearly well versed in the minutiae of the saga. But he displayed a determination to be statesmanlike; there were no cheap jibes. Yet somehow when listening to him it was possible to intuit that he might be enjoying all this.
“It’s a real shame,” he said. “It’s bringing cricket into the news in a way that cricket players and fans don’t want.” Broad has always received a hostile reception in Australia and has often given the impression that he quite relishes this.
However, he was happy to own up to some bewilderment. “I don’t really understand Darren Lehmann coming out and saying the South African crowd has been out of order. Any England player, even media, who have toured Australia can laugh at those comments because some of the things we hear on the pitch from Australian supporters, known as ‘banter’, I know is worse than in South Africa.”
Broad was asked whether he felt that Lehmann was being hypocritical. “That’s your word, not mine. But I would agree with you. You look at the quotes from that 2013 interview where he basically asks a country to send an opposition player [Broad, as it happens] home crying. I didn’t do that. We lost the series but they didn’t make me cry. I then can’t understand why you’d come out and moan about a different country and what’s been said to their players. Just from the outside it looks like Australia have started a lot of fights and then are moaning when someone comes back.”
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