All the people you don’t want to be in Irish cricket.
Some years ago Frankie Furlong was subbed up from the fourths to the seconds on the same day as I agreed to drop down from the firsts. I was nearing 50 when he came out to bat and was for some reason off in dreamland when he called me for what should have been the easiest of singles.
What happened next still confuses me but I do know that I woke suddenly from a state of semi consciousness, saw Frankie running towards me, tried to get some words out and failed and then slowly turned and placed my bat back into my crease.
I still remember his plaintive cry - “Aw, Pete!!!” It was a shameful thing to do, truly inexcusable and that’s the first guy you don’t want to be, the guy who plays down a level and acts all Billy Bignuts, like it’s too much trouble to play properly, wanting everyone to know that he’s really too good for all this.
But this guy is only the beginning of the list……. For instance:
The bouncers in the nets, pies in the middle guy.
We all know this chap, don’t we? Every Thursday night he steams in off a long run and bounces the hell out of everyone from around 18 yards on a crappy nets surface and then appears completely bewildered the following Saturday when his first three long hops of the day are caned mercilessly to the boundary. And what does he do then? Dispirited by the unfairness of having to bowl from the regulation 22 yards he then drops his pace even further and chucks down a withering display of garbage before moping off to the outfield for the rest of the day.
Solution: Every time he bowls a no ball at nets, send him on a lap.
The guy who only runs his own runs.
Yes, that guy! If he hits it he’s up and down the pitch like a rabbit but he’s certainly not risking his wicket for anything that has come off your bat.
Solution: Well, you have to meet him half way for a single, turn and head for home, don’t you? If he questions it, just say you forgot who hit it the ball and got confused.
The strike stealer.
Ah yes, my old friend, Michael Rea. Not sure what sort of an accountant Michael was but by God could that man count to 6!
Solution: Same as above only with a different explanation. Sorry, I miscounted and thought it was the fifth ball.
The Bag kicker.
An interesting study. Almost always an all rounder (strangely) this guy has the game of a lifetime, runs and wickets, in a losing cause and then, once the dressing room is filling up after the match lets out an anguished roar and kicks his cricket bag. What message are his teammates meant to take from this playacting? That he is such a ferocious competitor and hasn’t he had a wonderful game? Funny how there’s none of this nonsense when he gets a duck and a tonking and maybe drops a couple of catches into the bargain…….
Solution: Well, some of his teammates need to help him out and start kicking his bag too. And I don’t mean a gentle kicking, I mean really booting the living shit out of it, all the better if you can get it out the door and down the corridor and out onto the playing area where you have space to really get stuck in and then when all his equipment is strewn across the grass, dented and destroyed, you turn to him and say, God, that was a tough defeat, wasn’t it?
The guy who always asks for last 6.
This clown is a real nuisance. Just last few there, lads. Actually no, get the hell out of the net, your time is up and if he’s still there there’s always the low flat beamer to the sternum, isn’t there? A couple of these and see how long he wants to stick around.
The guy who wants to hijack the captaincy in a tight situation.
Ex first team players who play down the sides are notorious for this and indeed it is with great embarrassment that I disclose that my closest friend in sport, Deryck Vincent, has been seriously guilty of this in the past. He puts it down to those competitive juices kicking in but really there’s no excuse. Shame on him!!! But then again I did barbecue Frankie Furlong so perhaps we’re even.
The guy who gets past 50 in a friendly match and won’t get out.
Let’s be clear here: in friendly cricket there is an unspoken rule that everyone must be given something to do what with folks having arranged an afternoon off work and all. So pretty much everyone gets themselves out once they reach 50, all except one a particular type of dickhead who hits a few in the air, sees each land safely and then begins to whack the ball around again. Always comes in with about 80 under his name, having wasted another 6 overs and says, Sorry lads, did my best…. Which is garbage. Immediately means within 5 balls, so get down the track so far that there’s no point in even trying to get back. It’s not hard!
Solution: A lengthy stint at short leg might do this guy a world of good and he certainly won’t be getting a bowl.
The guy who likes to remind you to have fun, that cricket is meant to be enjoyed.
My my, what a raging tool this guy is! Often pops up before a cup final or maybe if you are in the middle of a really bad run, reminding you that cricket is fun and hey, don’t forget to enjoy it. Enjoy it? I’ll enjoy it if I get 120 not out.
Let’s be clear here: the only time cricket is fun is when you are past 50 and cruising or maybe have taken three quick ones. Otherwise it is by and large a struggle against your own incompetence, something this clown seems to have conveniently forgotten in the intervening years since he played. And the beauty of this piece of advice; it is delivered as though it is the wisdom of the ages…. Jog on, pal!!
The guy who sulks all day when he doesn’t get runs.
This is a trick one. Every batsman is entitled to be devastated when dismissed; his day, previously full of hope and excitement has just turned to the purest dogshit so why wouldn’t he be upset? And he is perfectly entitled to mope, but only for 30 MINUTES. That is the cut off point. Mope around, go across the other side of the ground, whatever you like, but once that 30 minutes is up you rejoin the group, encourage your teammates and enjoy their company. I know it’s lousy but it’s not the end of the world and you’ll get over it.
The guy who bats his team into a corner, then increases his strike rate once game is all but over.
Another interesting study! If you need 6 an over you can always rely on this chap to get 2 of them and then he catches up on his own strike rate once his teammates have perished trying to win the match. Invariably ends up with a healthy batting average at the end of the season.
Solution: Down the order with you, laddie.
The ‘Catches win matches’ guy.
Also known as the ‘It’s a cruel game guy’ or ‘Cricket’s the winner guy’, a general spewer of cliches and by and large to be avoided. And let’s be clear here: delivering them in an ironic, slightly mocking tone is still delivering them so knock it off! Solution: If you do happen to have a wet mackerel to hand give him a sharp whack of it.
The guy who hawks over the scorer’s shoulder.
This chap appears in late afternoon and asks to flick back in the scorebook to see the first innings. Must be mightily irritating for the scorers.
Solution: CI could equip each regular scorer with a taser; first offender of the day receives a zap to the inside of the kneecap, after that it’s smack in the nuts for anyone who encroaches.
The guy who makes the TV review sign on a close run out while doing his umpiring stint.
Not as prevalent now but was going around like wildfire shortly after TV replays came in. Comes under the broad umbrella of ‘Wasn’t really funny the first time someone did it!’
Solution: If one of your teammates is able to turn umpiring into a comedy art form maybe it's best to leave him out there for the entire innings.
The bowler who causes a scene every time the captain tries to take him off.
Here the skipper needs to announce the bowling change, including the replacement bowler, at the top of his voice from at least 30 yards away. Chunter off into the outfield all you want, pal, no point in arguing if it’s already a done deal.
The non-walker when there are no official umpires.
Let’s be very clear about this: I have no issue whatsoever with non-walkers if there are official umpires present. Otherwise get the hell off the pitch if you nick it. You are putting your teammate in a horrible position and there is a chance that everyone’s afternoon is going to descend into bitterness and recrimination just because you can’t hit the ball properly. Go on, hoof it!!!
The guy who counts the fielders every time he faces up.
What’s all this about? 50 years now I’ve been involved in Dublin cricket, playing and watching, and never once have I witnessed a situation where the fielding side tries to slip an extra player onto the pitch. In my experience most fielders are looking to get off the field rather than the other way around. Yet here’s this pillock waving his index finger around…..
Solution: Just keep asking him how many are present each time he does it.
The guy who keeps asking for guard all the time.
Is that still middle there, Umps? No actually, the whole geometry of the ground has changed in the last 90 seconds and that’s now a foot outside off stump. What the hell do you think? As if the day isn’t already long enough…..
Solution: Must be damn irritating for the umpire so that’s where the solution lies: Every time he asks move him 2 inches to the leg side until eventually he can’t reach the ball and loses his off stump.
The bowler who swears at the top of his voice when someone drops a catch.
Let’s also be clear about this: sometimes a bowler can’t help but let an involuntary cry of anguish as the ball hits the ground and that is just fine. No problem there. My issue is with the guy who waits a few moments, slaps the ball to the ground as it comes back in and swears loudly enough for the whole ground to hear. What a drama queen! What a dick! This is not an involuntary reaction. This is a calculated ploy to draw attention to himself, to let everyone in the ground know what a wonderful competitor he is and how he has been let down. As if the fielder doesn’t already feel crappy enough…..
Solution: Captain needs to take him out of the attack on the grounds of emotional instability, tell him he can bowl again next week when he is in a calmer state of mind. That would soon put a stop to this nonsense!
Coaches who do nothing because Steve Smith has an idiosyncratic technique.
Also known as the “I like to keep it really simple” guy which is often just a euphemism for doing nothing. Yes Steve Smith has found his own way, as did Chanderpaul and Pietersen but guess what? Each had plenty in common with virtually every other elite player the world has produced – hands very close together on the bat and close to the body, eyes level, backlift somewhere between first slip and gully, back elbow kept in tight. These are things which make batting so much easier so perhaps everyone might be let in on the secret if it’s not too much trouble…..
The guy who wants everyone encouraging the bowler.
Another raging dickhead! There is nothing wrong with kicking up a bit of a ruckus in the field, if that’s your thing but there is a particular type of annoying tool who seems to want everyone to do the same. Get this! Years ago I was wandering disinterestedly from third man to my secondary spot at wide mid on when one of my teammates shouted, “Come on, Pete, we haven’t heard from you in a while.” And it was true; they hadn’t heard from me…… not for at least ten years. And they were pretty unlikely to for another ten.
Solution: Not really sure what to do with this moron. Shoot him maybe???
The worst player on the team who decides to be the loudest, even occasionally engaging in a bit of sledging.
Knock it off, buddy, you’re fooling no one. Just concentrate on not letting the ball through your legs.
The guy who is always giving out about the standard of umpiring.
My oh my, what a dull old conversation this one is!! Another thing there should be no doubt about: Standard of umpiring is commensurate with the standard of play. The reason you have dodgy umpires is because you can’t hit the ball 10 yards off the square. Be respectful! Some chap is willing to stand out there all day so you can have a game….. But while we’re on the topic of umpires…….
The umpire who doesn’t give a decision all day until, caught up in the excitement of a close finish, he springs into life with a flurry of lbws.
Not to be confused with the umpire who guns tailenders for the exact same delivery that was not out two hours earlier. None of this is justification however for the clown above to be grumbling about the standard of umpiring.
The po faced ‘spirit of cricket’ guy.
This chap is a real nuisance, prowling about the place on the lookout for even the slightest infraction of acceptable behaviour. His motive? Well, he loves a grumble, doesn’t he and a cricket match is as good a place as any….
Not to be confused, however, with the ex-first team player who comes barrelling in at the first sign of a breach of cricketing etiquette down the leagues. This guy is more your general purpose asshole but one with a very clear message: Not only was I a fine player but I really did play the game the right way too, didn’t I? Best keep your beaks out of it, lads and let the players sort it out themselves.
The guy who takes a catch then chucks the ball away aimlessly leaving the umpire to go fetch it.
This absolutely enrages me. How bad mannered can you be? Someone is good enough to stand there all day so you can enjoy a game of cricket and you are so far up your own arse that you won’t even take the time to roll the ball respectfully in his or her direction. Don’t get me started on this!!!
The guy who doesn’t properly appreciate someone else’s new bat.
A real bugbear of mine! Everyone who gets a new bat deserves to be told that it is an absolute beauty, that he or she is going to make loads of runs with it. It is basic cricket manners. And this applies doubly for kids. It is a really wonderful thing for a young boy or girl to receive a new bat and anyone who finds fault with it or damns it with faint praise is a complete dick.
Solution: Start the playing in process off the inside of his kneecap.
The guy who demands more intensity in the warm up.
Oh Jesus, this guy! And while we’re on the topic, the warm up. Why don’t we all run around the place, have balls wellied at us from all angles, hurt our hands taking a variety of steepling catches, stretch, jog, sprint, safe in the knowledge that most of us won’t be doing anything meaningful for at least another couple of hours…….
Alan McClean and I used to take a practice ball, stroll across the pristine Castle Avenue surface and chuck it straight into the hedge at the Stiles Road end. Then we’d pretend to look for it and discuss the events of the week.
The teammate who gets stuck straight into the cakes while you’re still working your way through the sandwiches.
Solution: To be honest I’m not really sure what to do about this guy. Maybe he just doesn’t like sandwiches.
The guy who is always in the captain’s ear with suggestions.
This comes under the umbrella of ‘Too much of a good thing’. Out to the boundary with you, laddie.
Guy who asks for a drink after batting for ten minutes.
Really??? You’ve only just gone out there!
Solution: Laxatives maybe
The guy who throws at the stumps when the batsman is home.
Another bugbear of mine when I was at wide mid on. It’s bad enough having to hurt your hands backing up on a run out chance without this clown pegging it at you when the batter is clearly home.
Solution: Just stand aside and let the ball whizz off to the boundary.
The wicketkeeper who smashes the stumps everywhere.
Is there really no tidier way to achieve the desired outcome here? To my knowledge the laws of the game require a single bail to be removed so why leave all three stumps splayed 20 yards from each other?
And, by the way, what about that other clown who keeps whipping the bails off every three balls or so? Perhaps a good 5 overs of keeping with no gloves on might spark a rethink here for everyone.
The coach with his head up the star player’s arse in an effort to promote his own career.
It’s not hard to spot this guy – there is usually a bowling machine and a whopping bag of balls, some crisp strokeplay and positive affirmation, all loud enough for any passerby to hear….. and if you look into an adjoining net you’ll catch another gang of youngsters bowling with the wonkiest of actions and holding the bat like it’s a frying pan or a banjo.
Was rambling around YM a couple of weeks back and I was interested to see Graeme Ford spend his entire evening with four young lads, throwing and advising. Two were members of the Fourth XI, I later found out, YMs lowest team, and the other two, well they weren’t playing for anyone yet but were hoping to improve to a point where they could be considered for selection. Maybe if it’s good enough for Graeme Ford………
Solution: Send him packing!!!
The angry pro.
Not much of a teammate this chap what with all the complaining but not to be confused with the flat out obnoxious pro, best known for his witless sledging and blatant attempts to intimidate the umpires.
What’s that, I’m shit? Well, I’m a weekend amateur playing a minority sport in a tiny country, what’s your excuse?
Irish cricketers have learned many lessons from overseas professionals through the years one of which is that a prize tool is a prize tool whichever side of the world he lands on.
The guy who taps a ball on the edge of a bat in the dressing room.
An absolute pest but not to be confused with the guy who wants to play in his new bat a couple of feet away from you. Here the best approach is to inspect the bat, admire the balance, pick up and grain structure as explained before, tell him it’s an absolute belter and then, after testing the ping, smack him on the head with the mallet and tell him to stop.
With the ball tapper guy you really need to wait until the ball bounces free and pop it out the dressing room window.
The pain in the arse alickadoo.
Oh Christ, here he comes, where can I dodge to? Statistically there are more injuries in Irish cricket from people trying to avoid this guy – hopping over walls or benches or diving head first into hedges - than actually occur on the field of play.
But he’s not to be confused with the ‘Why is there no slip?’ guy or the ‘Why is so and so not playing?’ guy.
I’m quickly moving towards alickadoo status myself and it seems a cracking deal – a day out, plenty of company and if you play your cards right there are some decent sandwiches on offer– but I’m not sure there’s anything in there about having a say in selection or field placing.
The guy who sits down for a chat when you are next in to bat.
Jog on, buddy!
The guy who sits down for a chat just after you’ve been out.
Fuck off, pal!
So there you have it – a list of all the people you need not to be in Irish cricket but it’s hardly exhaustive.
I’m sure there are others and if there are, please let me know. And please don’t be offended if you recognise yourself somewhere in there. We all do!