It was a slip of the tongue, but Ricky Ponting inadvertently summed up the mood as Andrew Symonds' family and mates, from the cricket…
The summer holidays are upon us and the cricket season is well underway; you know what that means. It’s time for broken windows, weepy juniors, and a hell of a lot of toxic masculinity from that remorseless uncle who just bowls heat. It’s backyard cricket time.
Here are the most unplayable backyard cricket balls to ensure your weekend fifer.
1. KFC Swing King
This half-rubber, half-tennis pill takes out top spot due to its unearthly ability to hoop around corners. If you think you can defend it confidently with the full face, you’re lying. Stop lying. Shine up the red, smooth side with some excess wicked-wing grease and not even Rahul Dravid himself could keep this jaffa out.
You’re a shoo-in for a haul if you’ve got one of these lying around. If not, there are even a few still going on eBay.
2. Half-taped tennis ball
Similar to the Swing King, this gem is all about hooping it between the gates of your poor younger relatives. If you want to generate insane movement, use electrical tape to cover exactly one side of the tennis ball, but add an extra layer down the middle to make a seam.
One pro tip is to use yellow electrical tape so the naïve batsman doesn’t know what’s coming or what way it’s going to swing. A close second because of the need to replenish the tape, but you should still secure the Michelle with ease.
3. Shane Warne Spin King
Ball of the century? Please. That delivery has nothing on the Spin King paired with an untamed lawn. You see, backyard cricket isn’t always about bowling pace. Sometimes you’ve got to use what the pitch has to offer.
Follow the labels on the ball to bowl the perfect flipper, wrong’un or leggy that rips metres. No ball is a no-ball with this thing. Pick up a few wickets with the Spin King and you’ll feel like Warnie himself, making the post-game pavlova taste all the sweeter.
4. The kid’s handball
You know the drill. Surround the batter and keep it short. Very short. Around the throat short. Whip this baby out when the Sunday cricket tragic is getting a bit too confident. Nothing gets a batsman playing off the back foot like a schoolbag Spalding.
Additionally, if you’re going by the rule that you can’t leave two deliveries in a row, a handball renders any backyard batter indefensible. Any. If you accidentally serve up a half-volley, however, prepare to pay the ultimate price; and for a new ball.
5. Heavy tennis ball
Remember these? The cheap, short-furred ones that feel like the rubber core has been replaced with concrete. This is probably the easiest to face out of the lot. However, the crippling fear of getting a toe-crunching delivery is ever-lingering.
It goes without saying, only bowl yorkers with this peach if you want to pick up a bag. On his toes and away he goes – limping, presumably. As a safety net, it also has a high probability of an LBW by mullygrubber if you miss your length short. For the love of God, don’t miss your length long. The ER is busy enough during the holiday season.
Look out for tomorrow’s Christmas edition of the five best backyard cricket bats.