Bats, balls and beer bellies.
Posted by Sports Snob on December 9, 2006
You know, I don’t write here very often… I guess I’m rather lazy. A lot of the time, I’m much happier off watching the stuff, and when I’m not, I’m sleeping. Thankfully, today I sat down in front of the telly to watch India vs. South Africa. So I find myself here, writing, thanks to Pat Symcox.
Now, most of you will remember Symcox as that massive South African off-spinner from the nineties. He was a fair bowler, I suppose, but the thing that (I felt) stood out about him was his size. Huge bugger, this fella. Which got me thinking… what happened to all the big men of cricket. I only started following cricket in 1993, but there was a bunch of cricketers who played around that time who were, well, rotund would be the word. Being rather rotund myself, I tend to have a soft spot for these undoubted connoisseurs of a good night out (I imagine). Here are a few that come to mind:
This guy was amazing. An Aussie quick in the late 80s and early 90s, Hughes had a walrus moustache and a belly which was, well, rather large. (An understatement, really). He would come steaming in from what appeared to be the boundary and hit the deck pretty hard – a good bowler, most people would concur. It baffles me to think about the stamina he must have had, no doubt camouflaged brilliantly with that beer belly. Hughes is now a national selector and has in fact appeared on reality tv shows built around losing weight.
David Boon –
Another player from down under, this Tasmanian batsman was short and, for want of a better word, round. A fantastic bat, he would come in at number three (feel free to correct me) and wear your patience out with his technique. Reminded me of a large teddy-bear. A moustache like a walrus’s too (I think). Plus, the man was an absolute legend for his fielding at silly-point. (Check out this catch for example)
Mike Gatting –
If Boonie was a teddy, this guy would be a Panda. The elegant right hander who captained England back in the day had a bit of a reputation when it came to all things sustenance-related. I’m not sure if alcohol could be included on that list, so I won’t mention it, but prawns definitely were, as most of us found out back in 1993 when the England team played in Madras. If my memory serves me right, he missed part of that match (with Graham Gooch) as a result of eating some questionable prawns before the match. Bless him, the poor sod.
Arjuna Ranatunga –
The undisputed king of this lot, in my opinion, Mr.Ranatunga was captain of the fantastic Sri Lankan squad that won the World Cup in 1996. Ranatunga will also be remembered for defending Muralitharan against claims of throwing and of course for pointing out the ancestry of the Australians.
He was a fantastic leader, by all means, but no one rivaled his potbelly. I mean, it was the first thing you noticed about him. One of my favourite cricketers from back then, surprisingly, Ranatunga was a brilliant runner between wickets. Would never exert himself running for obvious singles and then dazzle the fielders with his electric pace in converting that one into a two.
Until recently, the man affectionately known as aloo was just that – absolutely ginormous, and that’s an understatement. Inzy is one of the world’s best batsmen, although he has shown a remarkable fondness for getting run out. This has nothing to do with communication and everything to do with something else. It was, and still is, a pleasure to watch him bat, once he gets stuck in, and his repertoire of strokes is brilliant. It used to be more entertaining when he was bigger though, for the simple reason that comedy was always just around the corner. I distinctly recall him running to the same end as another batsman on one occasion. I think an argument ensued, and the other lad had to go, because if Inzy had decided to get violent, he would have been out in more ways than one. Of course, no one can forget what happened in Toronto, when he went after an Indian fan with a cricket bat. Apparently, the fan had the temerity to call him an ‘aloo’. Or something. Considering I called him one earlier in this piece, I’d better go search for my helmet. Or quite possibly a top hat full of chicken tikka (that’ll calm him down nicely) . Anyone who doesn’t remember what happened in Toronto a few years ago, check this out.
Just thought I’d mention, I have nothing against fat people in general. These guys were all good/great cricketers, and I have a lot of respect for them. If you can think of any more anomalies in today’s super-fit game, let me know, because this list is hardly exhaustive – I was given a limit of 5, you see.
Oasisboy is a fanatical Liverpool fan. He loves beer, Fawlty Towers, Lord of the Rings and well Oasis.