‘I think they’re hostile at the best of times.’
Word games involving cricketers have long been a juvenile pleasure for myself and a handful of mates. Whole elevens have been selected and pitted in battle.
For example, the “Ancient Professions” – Archer, Butcher, Fletcher, Ironmonger, King, Knight, Laird, Slater, Taylor, Bishop and, of course, (Halford) Hooker – continually duel against the “Modern” – such as Nari Contractor, Faroukh Engineer and their colleagues.
So my email ran hot on Friday when it became obvious there was a new, and automatic selection for the “Edibles XI”, set out below.
For reasons of space, I’ve only put five players on the team sheet. So perhaps readers can help me round out the XI:
1. Graham Onions (c)
A sizzling debut for England over the weekend, which, characteristically, brought tears to the eye.
2. Phil Mustard
This English wicketkeeper-batsman has been compared, by Shane Warne no less, to Adam Gilchrist. I am not convinced. However, he also carries the delightful nickname “Colonel”, after the sometime Cluedo villain (candlestick in the drawing room, from memory).
3. Julian Wiener
The first (and to date, only) Jewish man to play Test cricket for Australia, this blond stalwart of the Melbourne grade cricket scene is also synonymous with a type of frankfurter. Which is odd, given Frankfurt and Wien aren’t even in the same country.
4. Allan Lamb
This pugnacious South African native comes highly recommended by Sam Kekovich, which normally would be an excellent reason not to pick him. However, he is rarely out of form and, let’s face it, is magnificent on Sundays.
5. Clive Rice
Dare I say it, adds starch to the middle order. Although first picked for his country in 1970, isolation – and the cancelled 1970 Australian tour – meant this former South African captain didn’t play an official international until 1991. We, therefore, thought it best he didn’t carry the drinks, as it could have been a long time between them.
Excuse all the awful puns.
Who else would you pick?
With thanks to Nicholas Gray, Bill Neild and Carl McCamish for their input.