Waleed Aly has come under fire from fans for an ’embarrassing’ interview that compares the T20 World Cup to under-12 cricket and mistakes superstar Meg Lanning for another player.
Furious fans were quick to express their shock at Aly’s attempt to conduct a respectful sports interview on Channel 10’s The Project in the wake of the Australian women’s team’s World Cup victory in South Africa.
“Meg, stop sharing the credit, this is about you because you took 5/12 against New Zealand and you were Australia’s second leading scorer, did you play in the under 12s?” Aly joked.
There are two elements that have angered fans of one of Australia’s most popular teams of any genre.
Firstly, Lanning, who has crushed over 8,300 runs for his country, has never bowled. He has bowled just three overs in his 132 career T20 games for Australia
Meg Lanning led Australia to another T20 World Cup victory on Sunday in South Africa against the host nation
Lanning was then asked by The Project host Waleed Aly (pictured) if the tournament was like “under 12s.”
The 5/12 against New Zealand Aly referred to was taken by Indian all-rounder Ash Gardner, who just sold for $558,000 at the recent Indian Premier League auction, a very easy fact to verify with a quick Google of the score card.
It did not go unnoticed by spectators, but fans were particularly disappointed in Aly for comparing the tournament to under-12 cricket, as Australia defeated fierce rivals New Zealand by 97 runs in the first match.
Given the great strides that both Australia and the world have made in professionalizing women’s cricket, it was an irritating comment.
Over 86,000 people packed the MCG as Australia won the 2020 T20 World Cup, while Sunday’s final in Cape Town was also played in front of a raucous crowd enjoying much better than ‘under 12’ level. .
Lanning, cool as a cucumber, did his best diplomatically in response to Aly’s comment, which he was seen thinking was quite funny, insisting that the tournament level was much better than a game of junior cricket.
‘Oh no (it wasn’t a 12 and under standard). I think it was a tougher tournament than it seemed. They put us under quite a bit of pressure and we were able to respond,” Lanning said.
“That’s the best part of this group, we really thrive under pressure when things get a little tough and we can pull through.”
Fans couldn’t believe Aly’s line of questions, blasting the host of the show under fire.
Waleed Aly, pictured at a 2021 launch, has been criticized as “disrespectful” for his comment to Lanning
“Fuck that was embarrassing,” one wrote on social media, while another implored The Project to never let Waleed “be anywhere near the sport again.”
Noted sportswriter Lachlan McKirdy was one of many who expressed his disbelief at the footage, saying: “I don’t know if Waleed Aly talking about their win over New Zealand in the group stage and saying ‘it was like under-12 cricket’ years’ is the compliment you think it is.
Another irate fan called the comment an “absolute joke of a comment.”
‘The lack of research is so glaring. Why would he embarrass himself like this in front of the greatest cricket captain of all time? wrote the fan.
Meg Lanning unleashes one of her iconic coverage units in Sunday’s finale. Aly mistook her for her teammate Ash Gardner.
Sunday’s 19-run victory over a competitive South African side was the fifth major tournament victory for Australia since 2018, with Lanning’s team winning the 2018, 2020 and 2023 T20 World Cups, the 2022 ODI World Cup and gold in the Commonwealth Games last year.
Fast bowling star Megan Schutt said the win over South Africa was not without its scares, coming in direct opposition to an opponent at ‘under 12’ level.
“She (Laura Wolvaardt) was hitting them really well, as was Chloe (Tryon),” she said after the game.
‘So honestly it was pretty scary towards the end.
“We were under pressure, don’t get me wrong…she probably tried to play me too square and it caused her to go down, but she was hitting the ground beautifully. Crucial wicket, but it was lucky that he came off.
Megan Schutt (left) attributed Australia’s ability to recover from a “scare” in the final to the unflappable behavior of Meg Lanning (right).
Jubilant Australian players celebrate their fifth major tournament in six years at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town
Schutt attributed the fact that the team was able to ride the wave against a home team supported by a very patriarchal crowd to Lanning’s unflappable demeanor, something he also displayed in the interview with Aly.
“I think because she (Lanning) is a pretty quiet character, it rubs off on us,” she said.
‘She presents this calm. I mean, her chat before this game was great because it was a little bit broader, some swearing in there – Meg doesn’t swear a lot! – So that was really cool.
“He’s been a leader for so long that he knows what people need to be successful, whether individually or as a team.”
The Australian women’s side will be in action in June for a successful Ashes series in England.