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You’re not trying to rattle anybody. It’s more a case of inserting the grain of sand in the sock and waiting to see if it becomes an irritant.

There are some rather interesting manifestations of The Niggle that sprang to mind as I headed out along the jetty this morning, with, IMHO, the prime international example being, and I know Angry is just going to love this, the All Blacks and the haka.

Now, hang on, Hughesy, someone’s going to say. That’s part of their cultural tradition. You can’t complain about that.

Actually, you not only can, but you should. The same way that you can complain about the dude who has Jerusalem booming out over the P.A. at the start of every day’s play in this Test series. Suggest they give equal time to Down Under or Waltzing Matilda and see how far you get. 

Suppose you’re looking to get out on the ground and warm up before the umpires come out. I’m not sure whether this is allowed under existing protocols, but say you wanted to. Warm up, have everyone loose and ready to fire right as the batsmen arrive at the crease.

Maybe you can, but what do you do when this dude hasn’t sung Jerusalem yet? And what do you do, assuming you’re out there and loosening up, when he starts to sing?

Keep going? Yes. Definitely. Have the British broadcasters condemn you as a bunch of upstart colonials lacking in respect for our cultural traditions. Good one. It’s all about making sure these things are working in your favour at the start, that welling of national pride that delivers the final adrenaline rush before the start of play.

Recognize it for what it is. 

Just like the haka, which allegedly requires the opponent to stand and show respect in the face of quite obvious and bare faced intimidation wrapped up as cultural heritage.

Think I’m kidding? 

How far would this suggestion get? 

Fine, you can have Jerusalem. You can have it as your side, or your batsmen take the field. Develop a protocol that says Umpires, fielding side, batsmen, with the appropriate piece of music booming out over the P.A. Under that regime later today at The Oval you’d have Jerusalem followed by, say, Down Under. Tomorrow, more than likely, with England batting, the order would be reversed. Sound fair?

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 © Ian Hughes 2014