5 Cricketers We Love To Hate

“Rise above it”. “It’s only a game”. “Don’t be a bad loser”. “He’s a nice guy off the field”. Sorry I’m having none of it. Why be all sympathetic, magnanimous, and empathetic when a good rant is far crueller?

It’s time to let rip folks. It’s time to stop suppressing that anger and resentment that’s been building inside us for years. So in the interests of bitterness and petulance, and with tongues firmly in cheek, here are the five cricketers we love to hate …

1. Steve Smith. Ok. I guess there’s something semi-admirable about scoring a half-decent 774 Ashes runs at a respectable average of 110. And yes, I suppose he did come back from that blow to the head at Lord’s by displaying qualities some might describe as ‘courage’ or ‘bravery’ (whatever they mean), but at the end of the day he’s still Steve Smith. Steve FFS Smith. The bane of our existence.

Every time Smith strides to the crease I’m overcome with a sense of dread. You just know he’s going to bat all day, in that crab like style of his, and ruin it for everyone. By the time lunch comes around I already want to scratch my eyes out. By tea I’m frantically Googling anger management professionals. And by the end of play I’m ready to go all Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhh.

2. Chris Gayle. I’m sorry but anyone who calls themselves ‘the universe boss’ is asking for it. And anyone who has a penchant for talking about themselves in the third person needs a metaphorical kick in the crotch. Only one person is allowed to talk about themselves in the third person, and that’s Rocky Balboa. And even then he should be politely discouraged from doing so.

People like Gayle because he’s ostensibly a cool dude. But all I see is a guy who dissed test cricket and said he wouldn’t care if it died out. Consequently, I propose we give Chris the perfect opportunity to be the ‘universe boss’ for real: by bundling him into a rocket and blasting him into outer space.

3. Virat Kohli. “But he’s always championing test cricket” people say. Well, I say he’s a git. A massive one. I know because of all those runs he scores and hearts he breaks – most importantly mine.

I don’t like Kohli because he’s too good. His talent gives him too much of an advantage. What’s more, every time he bats he’s got 1.339 billion fanatical Indian fans blowing the ball over the boundary. How it that fair?

Unlike Steve Smith, Kohli does everything with panache. He’s a handsome sod too. And I hate handsome people. Did you know that it’s scientifically impossible to be both good looking and a nice person at the same time?

4. Kane Williamson. Surprised to see Saint Kane on a cricketers we love to hate list? You shouldn’t be. Everyone loves the New Zealand skipper but don’t be fooled. He’s too perfect. He’s too nice. Surely nobody can be that good without secretly being a complete and utter b*****d.

Every time sweet and innocent Kane is modest about his achievements he’s really thinking “yeah I’m the dogs nuts”. Every time he shrugs his shoulders philosophically after a freak deflection has cost him the game he’s really thinking about smashing up the joint with a baseball bat.

You might come across as the archetypal sportsman, Kane, but I’m not buying it. Why? Because I’m jealous. I hate you because I want to hate you and I can’t. You see how this works?!

5. David Warner. You didn’t really think Australia’s cheater-in-chief was going to get off lightly did you? Warner was a prime candidate for this list because, well, you know, he’s David Warner.

Every time I see the man’s ugly mug I want puke in the nearest privy. You think Jonathan Trott was “pretty weak”? You think it’s ok to cheat? You think it’s ok to throw a punch at Joe Root? Well I think you’re Stuart Broad’s bunny. In fact, I don’t think so, I know so. 95 Ashes runs at an average of 9.5. On your bike son!

So what do you make of my cricketers we love to hate list? Have I left anyone out? You’d better make some positive noises in comments below or I’ll send the boys around.

James Morgan


  • Joe Root – has as much talent as any of the big 3, but a fatal concentration flaw that limits his conversion rate.

    Basically he’s the cricketing version of Andy Murray. With Kane as Federer, Kohli as Nadal & Smith as Djokovic

  • The cricketer I hate the most is Jimmy Anderson. He’s obviously very good at what he does and I have nothing but respect for his achievements but boy do I hate his face or what? Can’t get the way he got Tendulkar out in the Kolkata Test of 2012. He bowled like he knew how to get Tendulkar out. I hated that the most about him. And the man could bowl forever if he doesn’t get the wicket he wants

  • Sorry but don’t you think we’ve got more than enough hate polluting our country at the moment?

    We don’t need to invent more in the cricketing world.

        • But that’s just the point – online you don’t know the person, just see the comment in isolation. All the more reason not to post it!

          • I’ve edited that part of his comment so nobody could possibly take offence. I know we live in an era when politicians are screaming at each other, but if we can’t poke fun at the overly emotional and partisan nature of sport now and again – in case someone doesn’t detect the irony and sarcasm – then we’re really in trouble. The intention of this article is to take the piss out of those who get too emotionally involved, and to present anger / bitterness as irrational and silly.

              • People love being offended. This article helped them be offended.
                Personally, a cricketer who I will always hate is Shane Warne. The man ruined most of my cricketing life.

        • James your comment “If you knew Pete …” is ironically more than a little reminiscent of the line in your first paragraph “He’s a nice guy off the field”!

          However cricket “hatred” which doesn’t go beyond “this bloke always does really well against my team” is hard to object to.

  • I love watching Gayle bat so I’d take him off the list (and Virat and Kane – sorry).

    MS Dhoni for being very good, and far too close to N Srinivasan.
    Tendulkar, for being a BCCI guy, and more popular than Rahul Dravid (another favourite to watch)*
    Glenn Maxwell for being so overrated.

    *If I’m not allowed Ravi Shastri.

    A few years ago Glenn McGrath and Graeme Smith would have been high on the list (for obvious reasons), but their radio stints convince me to remove them.

  • I’ve managed to be a nice person and good looking at the same time. It’s really no big deal, honest. HAGW.

  • It’s not just successful opponents that seem to fall into this category, it’s our own. This blog illustrates it perfectly, as everyone here wants England to succeed, so those players who seem to be sabotaging this come in for stick.
    Roy, Butler and Bairstow are classic examples, who have received more spleen than any of your top 5 James. Ironically, it’s not always their fault as continued selection of players either out of position or out of form encourages this. No player selected for their country is going to refuse a call up because they feel they might fail, due to form, technique or confidence issues.
    World class talent in most sports is usually accompanied by super confidence, which can easily be interpreted as arrogance. This allows us to hate them whatever their fortunes. We revel in their failure, like Warner this Ashes series as Broad clearly got to him, or clutch at straws by criticising their participation, like Smith. Of course if they misfield or drop a catch we give them hell all day, usually to no effect, such is their winning mentality. However we choose to hate them what wouldn’t we give for them in our side.

    • Absolutely Marc. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Maybe my article tried to be a bit too clever, but it’s just that kind of attitude I’m taking the piss out of. The key words are in the second paragraph “so in the interests of bitterness and petulance … “. I think cricket has far less hate than the other sports I follow by the way. Football obviously springs to mind.

      • It’s odd, considering how many footie fans follow cricket as well. As a Warwick man you’re always conscious at Edgbaston of Blue Noses, Baggies and Villains in abundance, yet the seems no animosity between them at the cricket and as yet there’s no racist overtones either. The World Cup this summer being a case in point. I’ve never heard any monkey chants when the Windies play. Even when Afganistan were here there was plenty of English support for their efforts.
        I think cricket fans tend to appreciate the game itself more rather than their own team’s performance at the exclusion of all else. A lot of this has to do with the fact that championship and test cricket goes on for days and most of us visit a match for just a day, so the result isn’t the end product for us as a spectator. One dayers are different, in that you see a result, yet there’s still a capacity to enjoy good cricket no matter who’s playing it. In footie it’s all a bit grudging, as you feel your’e betraying your team applauding any opponent’s efforts.
        As a blue nose I know I behave differently at St Andrews, where you find yourself joining in with chants to unsettle the opponents, a bit like hounds on the hunt. These make the boos Smith and Warner received this summer look tame by comparison.

  • Stuart Broad is a glaring omision from your list
    I hate the way he’s all giggles when he’s fielding and lets a soft one go through his legs but then gets the stare out if someone doesn’t pull off a worldie stop when he’s bowling
    I’d add Graeme Swann to the list if he was still playing

    • It’s a difficult thing not to categorise hate. You can hate someone because they seem to land on their feet no matter what or seem to find easy what most others struggle with, but this is more envy. Why should some people succeed without a struggle and have all the luck. We first come across people like this at school, both academically and with the opposite sex. They can’t really help themselves, it all comes naturally.
      Then there’s simply those people that get on your nerves simply because of the way they behave. Put simply they have an attitude problem. These are the ones that divide opinion, according to personality and could you feel do something about it if they cared enough to bother. You wish failure on those more. I would put Smith and Warner into this category, even though I dont know them atall personally and don’t care to.
      It’s an odd one this as those that fall into the first category you respect, if sometimes grudgingly, yet I would put your ‘heroes’ into this one. I think it might explain why so many of us don’t really want to meet them as they might to turn out to fall into the latter category and so your opinion of them alters irrevocably.
      My main cricketing one was of Ritchie Benaud, whom I always liked and respected as a commentator, but when, after an Edgbaston test, I queued for his autograph, like so many youngsters, he was offhand and rude. This has coloured my view of him ever since and I transferred my allegiance to Jim Laker as a result. I never met Laker and never wanted to and pretty much from that day stopped collecting autographs.

  • When you listed David Warner you forgot about the ridiculous Aussie press castigating Stuart Broad who did not walk when he snicked a ball which the wicket keeper deflected to 1st slip the last time they were over here. Does anyone know how they treated Warner who was out 3 times in the series but only given out a Review? Bet the hypocrites didn’t even mention it. OK so Oz didn’t have a review left when Broad stayed put but with the honourable exception of Gilmour, very few batsmen at Test level automatically walk when they know they have hit the ball. But having dismissed him 7 times in the series…he who laughs last laughs longest!

  • How could you forget Jade Dernbach?

    58 England ODI and T20 caps, probably the worst stats of any such player, an obnoxious and petulant on-field presence; yet some people say he was unfairly discarded.

  • Andrew Gale. Granted, he’s now a coach, and a quite frankly appalling one at that. And he coaches Yorkshire, which is my main problem with him.

    However, this has all been caused by the fact that he “captained” us to successive championships. Frankly, that team could A) have captained itself to successive championships and B) won Test series. But, oh no, he had to bloody be there, and make himself an option when Gillespie left, an option that was bound to be taken up when he left because he’s cheap and we’re tight.

    The has led to three seasons in which it would be kind to suggest we have been average, including such highlights as reducing Kent to 39-5 and conceding 8 million in 40 overs (approximate figures) to Stevens and Billings, and then letting Stevens get a five fer in the same match, because our batting frequently performs a reasonable approximation of wet cardboard as far as solidity is concerned. I dare not check how many of our worst defeats have come under his stewardship, because I’ve been to therapy to block them out. Our short form performances have vacillated between disappointing and truly appalling, our recruitment has been below average if we’re being kind, and his press pronouncements lead me to believe he’s involved in some sort of game with fellow county coaches, or he’s helping us emulate the White Queen and believe a series of impossible things before breakfast. The man has, in short, made following Yorkshire akin to having piles lanced.

    So, on this basis, I declare Andrew Gale the most hated cricketer in history, the worst Yorkshire captain ever (and I include in this those who were only appointed because they were amateurs, such as Major Lupton) and a coach so hideous that the act of appointing him should be banned under UN regulations, as it constitutes cruel and unusual torture.

    I feel better for that.


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