International sports stars we should recruit for T20
With reports of sprint king Usain Bolt apparently set to enjoy some T20 cricket “Big Bash” style, it made me think about other sport stars from around the globe that could be a hit in the shortest form of the game.
If they want to make a mockery of the game, I can’t see why we can’t have a bit of fun with it. And seeing as though Usain is the reason for this article, let’s start with him.
Usain Bolt – Olympic Sprint Champion
Well, he’d certainly give a new meaning to the term “quick single”. But according to the man himself, his strength is with ball in hand. And you guessed it, he’s a fast bowler. Apparently he knocked Chris Gayle’s castle over in the nets once.
Even if ground speed doesn’t necessarily translate into bowling speed, something tells me this guy’s no pie chucker. Shane Warne has apparently asked the Olympic champ to have a run with his Melbourne Stars team.
I hope for Usain’s sake Warney doesn’t take him under his wing. Being caught on camera in a hotel room with a couple of models wearing only your undies probably isn’t what the sponsors are after.
Barry Bonds – Retired Major League Baseball Slugger
The home run record holder could be a sensation in T20. Yes he’s retired and yes he’d have to take a massive pay cut to play in the Big Bash, but he could put the likes of Chris Gayle and Travis Birt to shame when it came to the number of sixes hit. Not to mention how far they travel!
Bonds made a living by belting baseballs at least 130 metres over the heads of despairing outfielders. That was with a round bat, imagine how much damage he could do with a flat cricket bat.
The top tier of the Great Southern Stand at the MCG wouldn’t even be safe. We could even see The 12th Man’s vision of a cricket ball flying into the commentary box become a reality. I hope Mark Waugh still has the reflexes.
Chipper Jones – Major League Baseball All Star
The soon to be retired Chipper may not have hit as many home runs as Big Barry, but he can do something Bonds can’t. Switch hit. Chipper has been nailing them from both sides of the plate for twenty years in the Majors and unlike David Warner he actually takes his stance as either a left hander or a right hander before the pitch.
He would be so hard to set a field for as he would be a left and right handed partnership in the one player. Also with no “foul balls” in cricket, he could hit them all over the place.
Chipper would also be a reliable fielder as he has played third base all his MLB career. The loss of the glove may be a slight problem though. But in saying that, his attack with the bat would outweigh that small issue.
Christiano Ronaldo – Football Superstar
This is well and truly from the realms of fantasy, but imagine if Ronaldo was able to control a cricket ball the same way that he controls a soccer ball.
Using his hands the same way he uses his feet to make the ball swing right, swing left, seemingly hover then dip viciously. The ball then hitting the pitch and spinning and spitting away, into or straight through the batsman at will.
He’d be unplayable. Spinners have become a real key in T20 games and if any team contained a weapon like this, it would be invaluable. Chances are he’d be terrible in the field and would go down in absolute agony if hit anywhere while batting… Yeah forget the bowling, get him a bat and get him out there!
Martin Brodeur – Legendary NHL Goaltender
Many batsmen in T20 cricket either take their stance outside the crease and/or advance down the wicket to play a shot. A great way to reduce this and make the batsman play from the crease is to have a wicketkeeper stand up to the stumps.
Many do this to spinners and medium paced bowlers. Fast bowlers? Not so much.
Enter Martin Brodeur, the NHL’s premiere goaltender since 1993. Ice hockey is the fastest game in the world with shots for goal reaching 160km/h.
The French Canadian has a save percentage of 91.6% over a 16 year career. If anyone can keep wicket all game by standing up to the wicket, it’s Marty. He’d be able to crack a few around the park as well. If you’ve seen him play, you know he can handle the stick.
John Daly – Golf Bad Boy
Daly would put his hand up just to wear the colourful playing kits, but he would bring some colour of his own back into the game that hasn’t been seen for many years at first class level. Yet this scene seems to happen at every F grade game I’ve been to.
I imagine the big hitter casually sauntering out with his bat over the shoulder like it’s a Neanderthal man’s club, carrying a can of VB in the other, a ciggie hanging out of his gob and a big smile on his face. The crowd would love it.
When he eventually got to the crease, he’d carefully place the VB just behind the wicket for safe keeping and take guard. I guarantee he’d never get bowled.
Long John might be used to hitting a stationary ball off the ground but I reckon as soon as his beer or cigarette was in danger he’d spring to action pretty quickly.
He better not bat with Usain though, Daly doesn’t seem to be the quick single type.