Now that there are a few days, or strictly speaking – nights – before the next Test it seems that every man, his dog and Ronan O’Connell is picking some team or another from the past.
Lying on the couch watching the X-Factor with my bowl of party pies I thought I may as well get in on the act. But what theme could I use? My favourite performer was Big-T but he got booted off last week. Eureka! I had my hand on it all along – the party pies that is.
So thanks to Big-T and the party pies, the team I am putting forward will be made up of players who didn’t mind chowing down a little. I have called them the ‘Larger Than Life XI’, and although my brother wanted me to call them the Lardass Eleven, I refused to even contemplate putting that term in an article of mine.
The criteria is simply that the players have to be on the bulkier side as well as being excellent cricketers. It’s one of the great things about the sport – the fact that all body types can play.
From my spot on the couch, writing bios on the players seemed all too hard so why not get someone else to do it? All I had to do was figure out the players in batting order and use published sources to provide the commentary.
So without further ado I bring you 70s Mo’s
Lardass Larger Than Life Eleven!
1. WG Grace (ENG) “…in July 1898, Grace had developed a somewhat corpulent figure”.
2. Mark Taylor (AUS) “A heavily built left-hander”.
3. Mark Greatbatch (NZ) “…A beefy and charismatic left-hander“.
4. Arjuna Ranatunga (SL) “…Ranatunga’s weight was also notable for being considered excessive for a professional athlete”.
5. Mike Gatting (ENG) “squat and tubby, he never looked a sportsmen from a distance”.
6. Ian Botham (ENG) “remains well known by his nickname ‘Beefy’ “.
7. Rod Marsh (AUS) “Although he did not cut the perfect athletic figure”.
8. Gary Gilmour (AUS) “Gilmour’s weight led to him come in for criticism. He would later tell the story of Don Bradman informing him ‘If I was a selector you’d never play for Australia. You eat too many potatoes.’ ”
9. Intikhab Alam (PAK) “Intikhab Alam – although it was always ‘the burly Intikhab‘ ”.
10. Eddie Hemmings (ENG) “Small and stout, Hemmings was a unlikely looking professional cricketer”.
Notable is the absence of any West Indian, Indian or South African players but I am sure Viv Richards, Chris Gayle and Joel Garner would be shoe-ins for the Beefcake Eleven.
Jacques Kallis was considered, although really he is just a big man. I once saw a day’s play at the SCG and Jacques was fielding at fine leg during his bowling spell at the other end. After every over he bowled he would come down to the fence and drop and do 20 push-ups just like that – time and time again. Maybe Jacques might make the Beefcake Eleven as well.
The make up of the opposing team is not known, except that the captain for the Stringbean Eleven is Bruce Reid.
Of course you are wondering who is carrying the drinks, or in our case, the party-pies. It is the one and only Inzamam Al-Haq and I couldn’t have said it any better than our friends from Cricinfo.
12. Inzamam-ul-Haq – “In a 1997 Sahara Cup match against India in Toronto, Inzamam assaulted a member of the crowd, Shiv Kumar Thind, a Canadian-based Indian, who had been comparing Inzamam to several kinds of potato” Wikipedia