Waleed Aly has been slammed by fans for a ‘cringe’ interview comparing the T20 World Cup to under 12’s cricket and mistaking superstar skipper Meg Lanning to another player.
Furious fans were quick to express their shock over Aly’s attempt to conduct a respectful sports interview on Channel 10’s The Project in the wake of the all-conquering Aussie women’s side win at the World Cup in South Africa.
‘Meg stop sharing the credit around, this is about you because you took 5/12 against New Zealand and you were Australia’s second-highest scorer, were you playing in the under 12s?’ Aly joked.
There’s two elements that enraged fans of one of Australia’s most popular teams of either gender.
Firstly, Lanning, who has smashed more than 8300 runs for her country has never been a bowler. She’s bowled just three overs in her 132-game T20 career for Australia
Meg Lanning steered Australia to yet another T20 World Cup win on Sunday in South Africa against the host nation
Lanning was then asked by The Project presenter Waleed Aly (pictured) whether the tournament was like ‘under 12s’
The 5/12 against New Zealand Aly referred to was taken by Indigenous allrounder Ash Gardner, who just sold for $558,000 in the recent Indian Premier League auction – a fact very easily checked by a quick Google of the scorecard.
It did not go unnoticed with viewers – but fans were particularly disappointed with Aly for comparing the tournament the under 12s cricket as Australia thumped fierce rivals New Zealand by 97 runs in the opener.
Given the huge strides both Australia and the entire world have made in professionalizing women’s cricket, it was a grating comment.
More than 86,000 people packed into the MCG when Australia won the 2020 T20 World Cup, while Sunday’s final in Cape Town was also played in front of a bumper, raucous crowd who were enjoying a standard far better than ‘under 12s’.
The cool-as-a-cucumber Lanning was at her diplomatic best in reply to Aly’s comment, which he could be seen thinking was quite funny, insisting the standard of the tournament was far better than a game of junior cricket.
‘Ah no (it wasn’t an under 12s standard). I think it was a tougher tournament than it came across as. We were put under the pump a fair bit and we were able to respond,’ said Lanning.
‘That’s the best part about this group, we really thrive under pressure when things get a little bit tough and we are able to come through.’
Fans could not believe Aly’s line of questioning, slamming the host of the under-fire show.
Waleed Aly, pictured at a launch in 2021, has been slammed as ‘disrespectful’ for his comment to Lanning
‘F**k that was cringe’ one wrote on social media, while another implored The Project to never let Waleed ‘anywhere near sport again’.
Prominent sports journalist Lachlan McKirdy was one of many to show his disbelief at the footage, saying: ‘Don’t know if Waleed Aly talking about their win over New Zealand in the group stage and saying ‘it was like under-12s cricket’ is the compliment he thinks it is’.
Another furious fan called the remark an ‘absolute joke of a comment’.
‘The lack of research is so evident. Why would he embarrass himself in front of the greatest cricket captain ever this way!’ the fan wrote.
Meg Lanning unleashes one of her iconic cover drives in Sunday’s final. She was mistaken by Aly for her teammate Ash Gardner
Sunday’s 19-run win over a competitive South African side was the fifth major tournament win for Australia since 2018, with Lanning’s side winning the 2018, 2020 and 2023 T20 World Cups, the 2022 ODI World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold last year.
Star fast bowler Megan Schutt said the win over South Africa was not without a few scares – in direct opposition to an opponent at the level of ‘under 12s’.
‘She (Laura Wolvaardt) was hitting them bloody nicely – and so was Chloe (Tryon),’ she said after the game.
‘So, it was honestly quite scary there towards the end.
‘We were under the pump, don’t get me wrong … she probably tried to play me too square and that did her in but she was hitting down the ground beautifully. Crucial wicket, but just lucky that it came off.’
Megan Schutt (left) attributed Australia being able to recover from a ‘scare’ in the final to Meg Lanning’s (right) unflappable demeanour
Jubilant Aussie players celebrate their fifth major tournament in six years at Cape Town’s Newlands Cricket Ground
Schutt attributed the side being able to ride the wave against a home side supported by a very patriarchal crowd to Lanning’s unflappable demeanour, something she also showed off in the Aly interview.
‘I think because she’s (Lanning) a pretty calm character kind of rubs off on us,’ she said.
‘She presents this calmness. I mean, her chat before this game was cool because it was a bit more ampie, a few swear words in there – Meg doesn’t swear a lot! – so that was really cool.
‘She’s been a leader for so long that she knows what people need to succeed — whether that’s individually or as a team.’
The Aussie women’s side will next be in action in June for a blockbuster Ashes series in England.