LONDON ̵1; They may be the best players on the world stage – but England and Australia can’t get their starts in cricket.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Britain’s Rishi Sunak have been engaged in a war of words amid allegations of cheating in the Ashes tournament. This is a far cry from his indifference on the AUKUS nuclear alliance and much-anticipated new trade ties.
The controversy centers on Sunday’s Ashes match between England and Australia at Lord’s cricket ground.
In highly controversial scenes that angered English fans, England’s Jonny Bairstow was dismissed by Australia’s Alex Carey after “stumping” him while Bairstow believed the ball was not in play.
Under the laws of cricket, the ball is live if either side believes so – meaning Bairstow’s appeal to the umpire went unheeded.
The dismissal proved crucial for Australia, who ran out the winners.
England captain Ben Stokes made it clear after the match that he would not like to win the match in this manner.
“The prime minister agrees with Ben Stokes,” Sunak’s official spokesman said on Monday. When asked directly whether Sunak believed the Australian team had “violated the spirit of cricket”, the spokesman replied in the affirmative.
Albanese wasn’t taking it lying down, and offered his take on Tuesday.
The Australian PM said that although he understood Sunak’s frustration, he “may not have had the lesson he learned at primary school in St Joseph’s Camperdown: ‘Stay in your crease.'” Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said. : “Hope” you are well, Prime Minister.”
Rubbing salt on the wounds on Tuesday, Albanese tweeted: “Same old Aussies – always win!”
England and Australia are set to clash again in the third Test of the Ashes on Thursday – so expect even more of that.
Britain’s veterans minister Johnny Mercer told the BBC on Tuesday that England should aim to “stick it out nicely” to their rivals.
On the positive side for Australian-English relations, Sunak’s spokesman said the British prime minister was unlikely to raise the issue directly with the Albanians.
He added, “Although there will always be a friendly rivalry, I think they will focus on more core issues.” good luck with that.