I have started a column at Desicritics called The Flipper.
The following is the inaugral issue of the same. Small parts of it are repeats of short posts earlier.
Corey Flintoff, son of Andrew Flintoff, was born just a few days ago. English cricket fans are already predicting the 2025 Ashes to be Corey’s Ashes (similar to Ian Botham’s Ashes in 1981.) Yeah right! Just like the 2005 Ashes were Liam Botham’s Ashes. Liam Botham, Ian Botham’s son, did play country cricket for Hampshire and took the wicket of Mike Gatting as part of his early exploits. But his true calling was rugby to the dismay of the millions of English fans.
For all we know, the sons of cricketing greats do not become greats. Cricinfo published an article on the subject. Does any one recall W.G. Grace junior, Richard Hutton, Eric Bedser, Mali Richards, Ron Headley or John Bradman? How many people for that matter will remember Rohan Gavaskar 20 years from now? Some cricketers, like Chris Cairns and Yuvraj Singh, have achieved more glory compared to their fathers. However, how many sons have even emulated a great cricketing father, let alone surpass his achievements? Mohinder Amarnath? Lala Amarnath was not a great player though he has been one of the most controversial cricketers in Indian cricket history.
It is near impossible to emulate a great father. This is why I squirm when I see photographs of junior Tendulkar or junior Inzamam in the papers. Let the kids be. It is a great injustice to the children of famous cricketers. John Bradman in fact changed his family name to Bradsen for a while when he was finding it impossible to lead his own life and create an identity for himself. Sadly, expectations and comparisons are part of the human psyche. This does not change the reality that the lives of the sons and daughters of famous people get affected adversely in more ways than we can imagine because of the unrealistic expectations of the fans and the media lapping up to this expectation. I feel extremely sorry for Corey Flintoff whenever I hear any one mention his name because of this.
One aspect of the English fans I do admire tremendously is their ability to laugh at themselves. Essex guys will make fun of Yorkshire guys, Yorkshire guys will make fun of the eccentricities of the Surrey guys and so on and so forth. The jokes never end. It is all in good spirit and creates a healthy sporting atmosphere. Individuals are hardly spared either. So Ricky Clarke and Ian Salisbury are quite popular as centre pieces in jokes because of their ordinary records.
The latest addition to this list is Ian ‘Pie Thrower’ Blackwell. With a first class average of above 38, the mysteries as to how he made the national squad mystified the fans. He was the butt of many a joke even before he delivered a ball in Test cricket. That Blackwell has played 28 one-day internationals shows more about the lack of quality spinners in English cricket over the past 15 years than about the talent Blackwell possesses. Hopefully the problems are now solved with the coming good of Monty Panesar. The jokes on Panesar will never end though despite what his achievements in the future might be. He is already a cult hero.
Speaking of cult heroes, the biggest among the spinners in the last 15 years (the competition is by no means easy considering England has seen Robert Croft, Shaun Udal, Ian Salisbury, Ashley Giles among others) is ‘Tuffers’, the great Phil Tufnell. Phil Tufnell is to English cult spinners in the past 15 years what Don Bradman is to batting. Apart from being a pie bowler, the requisite criteria for an English spinner, Phil Tufnell is also The Cat (title conferred because of his dressing room naps), was the bad boy of English cricket in the 90s, Aussie Basher, star of the the DVD Tuffers’ Duffers, winner of television show I’m a Celebrity and key spinner and no. 11 of the Awkward XI.
The great Tuffers has added one more chapter to his legacy. Tuffers will captain the English Celebrity XI to tour India to raise money for charity. Reports Cricinfo:
A celebrity cricket team - comprising such luminaries as Phil Tufnell, Jack Russell and Harry Judd, the drummer from the pop group, McFly - has set off for India to take on the stars of Bollywood and raise money for Sport Relief…. In 2004, Sport Relief raised £16.5m, and the team members will be able to witness at first hand how the money is being spent. This year’s event will take place on July 15.
When we mention cult heroes, how can we forget Kevin Pietersen? The guy is hated and despised in South Africa and is referred to as ‘The Skunk’ because of his hairstyle. There is a multitude of people who loathe the mention of Kevin Pietersen (KP). He has an even larger cult following. Girls go absolutely wild whenever they see or hear of KP. They absolutely loved his ’skunk’ hair style. KP recently shaved his head for the hot tour of India, sending shock waves all around the globe where the KP Cult exists. It would not deter the legion of KP fans from idolizing him or his past hairstyle. Schools have started a secret movement to tackle this growing concern. They are even willing to violate human rights in the process.
Rain during a match does not mean the action stops as far as English Cricket is concerned. There is a lot happening apart from the adventures of the Barmy Army.
I hope you enjoyed the first edition of The Flipper.