Aussie cricket legend Merv Hughes shared a story about the time he threatened a spectator with his bat after a heated exchange at one of his games.
Chatting with Gus Worland and Mark Taylor on Triple M Cricket, the 61-year-old former fast bowler recalled the moment he lashed out at a heckler during the 1994 Australia vs. South Africa match in Johannesburg.
Hughes explained the supporter made insults about his weight, suggested his parents weren’t married when he was conceived and his sexuality as the cricketer walked past him on the walkway.
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“I’m walking back, and everyone said I lost control,” Hughes said.
“I’ve got the bat in my hand, he’s got his fingers on top of the walkway thing.
“I can remember clearly thinking ‘if I get my bat on the right angle here, I could break 8 fingers.’
“I was sort of measuring that up, but in the end I hit the tin blackard that was on the fence and it went off like a shotgun.”
The ex-sportsman said the spectator “jumped back” after the surprise move and the cricketer went over the fence.
“I’m 6ft 4, I’ve got a helmet on and a cricket bat in my hand and I’m taking on Mike Tyson,” Hughes said.
“I said if you’ve got something to say let’s hear it, he had eyes like dinner plates. ‘
“I actually thought it was pretty funny and then found out the next day I got fined $4000.”
At the time Hughes’ heated exchange with the spectator was infamous.
Cameron Battersby, then Australian team manager, said: “I have decided that Merv Hughes should be severely reprimanded and placed under a suspended fine for the remainder of the tour. Merv has also apologised for his actions and has expressed his sincere regret at his over-reaction to the spectator’s remarks.”
The board’s chairman at the time Alan Crompton, scolded Hughes for his behaviour, and said: “The board has made it very clear that restraint in the face of provocation should be part of the professionalism required to be demonstrated by every Australian cricketer.”