It was a slip of the tongue, but Ricky Ponting inadvertently summed up the mood as Andrew Symonds' family and mates, from the cricket…
You’ve got all you need in your backyard cricket bowling arsenal. Now, you’re looking to impress with bat in hand to consolidate your alpha status.
People may forget by next holidays who dismissed the next-door neighbour’s kid on three separate occasions – I hope not – but they won’t forget an extraordinary Christmas day knock in a hurry.
Here’s just the equipment to make that happen.
1. Yellow Milo cricket bat
Now I know what you’re thinking. “This crack-ridden piece of PVC won’t help me punish the fruit mince pies my little nephew or niece has been serving up.” But I assure you, it’s the right tool for the job.
Unlike some of the other bats in this list, the appropriately thick middle prevents you from hitting too many six-and-outs; a backyard sloggers nightmare. It deserves the top spot on legend alone.
2. Professional beach cricket bat
This feels like cheating, especially when playing on a pitch as flat as a road. Or just a road. It feels wrong to use a bat in backyard cricket without some age on it. Still, it would be dishonest not to acknowledge its ton-worthiness.
Tack on to this category those foam bats and the ones with the tennis-racket strings. Caution: do not pair this behemoth with an overly-competitive parent who used to open for fourth grade. Unless you’ve preemptively boarded up your windows.
3. Kashmir-willow Kookaburra Kahuna
It’s a mouthful, but add a guaranteed extra 20 runs to your total if this is your weapon of choice. Keep in mind though that this only applies to the older lime-green Kahuna bats, none of this white-gripped rubbish. If you don’t know how to acquire one of these beauties, just check any of the team kits from your local junior club.
Channel your inner Punter and make this Christmas or Boxing Day one to remember.
4. Old faithful with a duct-taped splice
When did the splice break? No one knows. All we know is that it’s been taped ever since and it flexes each time you show the full face. Courtesy of another botched repair job, this timeless bit of wood brings new meaning to hitting it straight out of the screws.
But you know this bat. You know the grain. Does it have a grip? Course not; but it would be a shame to turf it. The only drawback is its tendency to scoop balls into the air when the mended splice provides too much leverage. However, if you’re playing on a biggish field, then to cow-corner it sails.
5. The weekend willow
This sounds like a great idea. It’s not. The only reason to bring out the freshly-oiled Gray-Nicolls is if you’ve just unwrapped it on Christmas morning or if you’re facing those dreaded heavy tennis balls – the cement-filled Satan rocks need something with enough meat on the bat to get it to the boundary.
Otherwise, please keep the English willow sleeved in your Saturday kit where it belongs.
Remember to read tomorrow’s final instalment on the toughest backyard cricket pitches to see out your Christmas holidays.