We Are Strangling The Fun Out Of Cricket

The two streakers who invaded the pitch at the Big Bash Sydney derby last November have had their fines reduced and their convictions struck -- make that “streaked”  from the record.

The disrobed duo -- cousins Chad Sharp, 27, and Josh Hudson, 23, -- were originally found guilty of wilful and indecent exposure and fined $5000 each. That didn’t seem fair given their nudey run was the most entertaining thing that happened all night during an otherwise forgettable cricket match.

In fact, the entertainment value was pretty much the basis of their entire legal defence.

"People enjoyed it...",´ Lawyer Peter Strain argued. “Children and adults were laughing and cheering…. there was no evidence that anybody did not enjoy it.”

The man had a point. Watch any of the numerous videos of the incident on social media and all you hear is laughter and cheers as the streakers do their birthday suit bolt.

The lawyer further argued that the streakers added to “the ambience of the game”. In this respect, he appeared to be channelling Dennis Denuto from The Castle, who famously argued that his case hinged upon “the vibe”.

Again, he was spot on. Streaking is definitely part of the vibe of cricket.

Sometimes you’ve got to remind yourself how much cricket has changed, and how quickly too. The most animated thing in a day’s cricket used to be the seagulls. Now cricket -- or at least the Twenty20 version of it -- is accompanied by fiery explosions and dancers and more sixes in an evening than you used to see in a season.

Image: AAP

In short, cricket has become fun -- a state of being its founders quite likely never thought possible and almost certainly never intended.

Cricket authorities like to harp on about the poor unsuspecting families who come to the ground being shocked by a few X-rated dangly bits.

Isn’t it heartening to cop moral finger-wagging from the people who brought you sandpaper-gate?

The truth is that streaking is a great and undervalued Aussie tradition. Think about it this way. What do fans in other countries do when they’ve had a skinful of booze? Usually they fight each other or attack the police or set fire to a stadium or something.

What do Aussie fans do when we’ve had a few or when we’re just feeling a little over-exuberant? We nude up, that’s what.

Wati Holmwood caused a stir when he made the nudey run onto the field during a State Of Origin match in 2013. Image: Getty.

It is the most gloriously harmless and silly thing to do, and it hurts no one except the streaker’s own dignity.

A confession: This writer streaked once. Doesn’t matter when or where, but it was back in the day and it kind of just happened. Want to know how it felt?

It felt like the most fantastic way to celebrate a big occasion, and I know that thousands of people felt the same way and were laughing with me. Or maybe they were laughing at me. Not sure. Doesn’t matter, But either way, it was a victimless crime.

Security guards remove a streaker who ran onto the field during A-League game between the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Image: AAP.

One tip: Don’t do it on a cold day as I did. The shrinkage…. So anyway.

It’s going to be interesting to see where cricket goes from here on the streaking issue. The Big Bash streakers have had their fines reduced, but must still pay a hefty fine of $2,500 each, which is a lot.

Before long, the ball tamperers will be forgiven.

It’s probably time we treated ball danglers the same way.