Cricket means many different things to many different people. While I can claim to love, it I understand the apprehension of billions of others who don’t understand the complexity of the game. For most on the planet it is a bi-word for dullness and most stereotypes involve stuck up over privileged posh players (especially my country England). The days of elitism in cricket are long gone though and the sport is now modern which can claim to be one of the most watched in the world. (Mainly India). Cricket may be dull to those who don’t understand it, but for those that do it is a passion that brings something out of us. Because of that passion the sport is blessed with eccentric characters who are anything but boring! Here is a selection of cricket’s craziest characters.
Freddie Flintoff breaks the mould of what an English cricketer is to people. The northern star was a fan favourite and showed not all cricketers from England are privately educated. This different background meant he was different on and off the pitch too which gained Flintoff quite the reputation. He was known for his ability to consume alcohol, and was famously pictured leaving 10 Downing Street after the 2005 Ashes win a little worse for wear. He also landed in hot water when he almost drowned in the West Indies during the 2007 World Cup after falling off a pedalo drunk! This lost him the vice captaincy of England, but not the admiration of his fans. In fact since retiring in 2009 he has built a successful media career further keeping him in the nations hearts. Oh, and he was also good at cricket.
Big Merv was the classic Aussie bruiser in the last part of the 20th Century. Armed with a powerful bowling arm and a terrifying moustache, Merv Hughes was just as capable of destroying teams with words than his balls! He was known for his brash competitive sledging which in some cases players deemed went too far. It also earned him the nickname “Australia’s National pest”. His moustache became synonymous with him and it was rumoured that it was insured for £200,000. Like Flintoff he also prided himself on his ability to drink, but also eat. This was one of the reasons for his downfall however as the extra weight is believed to have impacted his knees and ultimately his retirement in 2000.
The Pakistan talisman holds many records in cricket including having the most wickets in T20 internationals with 92 from 92 games. Although he considers himself a bowler its his aggressive form of batting that hits the headlines. His penchant for sixes has meant that he gained the nickname Boom Boom, which is often chanted by fans. His career, especially as captain, has been shrouded in controversy. He has been quoted talking about political issues in Pakistan as well as Kashmir which is a highly sensitive area. He seems to be forever feuding with the national cricket board too and was denied a final send off match this year. Don’t feel too sorry for him though as he has turned his term ‘Boom Boom’ into a successful cricket equipment company.
The giant from the West Indies was a character before he even did anything. His sheer size and demeanour already gave him an aura before he started steaming up to the wicket. He was known for his accuracy, repeatedly putting the ball on the right spot and plugging away until the brute force of the delivery would catch batsman out. He single handedly dismantled teams in the nineties and all in silence. That’s because for all his intimidation Ambrose was a silent man, rarely speaking on the pitch or even to the press, meaning he created a mysterious element to his character. Luke Michaels of Bookmakers TV told us ” The West Indies have been sorely missing a bowler of Ambrose’s calibre ever since he retired. They have had batsmen like Lara and Gayle, but never a world class bowler”. His fearsome partnership with Courtney Walsh may have scared batsman but the BFG image made him popular with everyone else. He is apparently now a bass player in a reggae band!