Over the years, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has had no dearth of extraordinary cricket and riveting drama. But what transpired in Brisbane on 19 January 2021 was in a different realm altogether.
Verbs are doing words. They’re words that just get in there and make it happen. And that, it seems, is what the Australian cricket team has been lacking this summer.
So, with that in mind, I thought I’d take a flying leap at an all-time go-getters eleven. An elite team of verbs, if you will.
(1) Alastair Cook. This may seem like a back-handed compliment – but he’s probably the greatest ever English batsman. In 2015 he finally surpassed Gooch to become their leading run-scorer, and in doing so, he rightfully instilled a verb ahead of the most unsavoury of nouns.
(2) Martin Love. Unlucky to play just the five Tests, he’s remembered fondly for his ton in the 94-95’ Shield final. And, as both a Queenslander and a transitive verb, what’s not to love?
(3) Ricky Ponting. He just had to make the team. But, since it turns out he’s not a word, I’ll have to improvise. Let’s make Ponting an eponymous verb – defined as the act of continuing to play beyond your used-by date.
(4) Mike Gatting. Best remembered for “that ball” and Ponting-on for most of his career (see above).
(5) Alan Border. Border, a verb; to touch the edge or boundary. As in, he took the baggy greens from a rabble to the brink of greatness. The current focus of a CSIRO cloning trial.
(6) Joe Root. Ok, I’m going to take the high road here – the American road. To root is to noisily applaud or encourage. So, in that respect, English fans will root for Root.
(7). BJ Watling. I needed a ‘keeper, but are you for real? That’s a pretty innuendo-heavy middle order with both a Root and a BJ.
(8) Mushtaq Ahmed. A bit left field but hear me out. Ahmed is the past participle of Ahm. Which, I’ll grant you, is nonsense. However, at the risk of attracting some heat, I’ve tried to make this team more diverse. So here’s a wrist spinner for all you PC thugs.
(9) Tim May. I’ve always read his name as an incomplete sentence. As in, Tim may what?
(10) Damien Fleming. The professor of modern swing. He took a hat trick on debut. It paid for Salim Maliks new boat.
(11) Michael Holding. Whispering death was a very scary customer. But he showed his lighter side by appearing as one half of the famous radio gaffe “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey”.
So what do you think? On paper they’re not too shabby. Anyone keen to knock up an all-time nouns eleven? We can start scratch match.