Smoking cricketers

I’ve mentioned before the number of readers of this blog who come here in seach of  “cricketers in their underwear”*.  Another surprisingly common search seems to be “cricketers smoking”.

Now, I’d like to think this is because they’d like a look at this magnificent sight-

Freddie Brown smoking a pipe

Freddie Brown smoking a pipe

but I suspect they have other motives.  What these are I frankly have no idea, unless this is how the modern coach tries to make sure his charges aren’t neglecting their fitness programmes.

However, in an effort to be helpful, I thought I’d share a long held theory of mine about the 2005 Ashes series, of blessed memory.

You may remember how vexed the Australians were by how often the English fast bowling quartet left the field for short periods of time.  The theory seemed to be that they were going off for a quick massage, or a rest or even a shower,  and that, furthermore, their absence allowed the English supersub Gary Pratt to take the field.

My theory has always been that they were nipping off for a quick smoke.

Flintoff, we know, enjoys the odd cigar. Harmison, I’d guess, enjoys a tab with his Newky Brown.  Hoggard I’d have down as a pipeman, in the tradition of Freddie Trueman.  An interview with Simon Jones in the Observer a couple of weeks ago supports my theory; he says of that series –

“I lost eight kilograms just from nerves. I was smoking at the time as well, puffing away quite a bit. Duncan Fletcher didn’t like smoking but it was personal choice and I needed a cigarette to relax.”

Mind you, what the current crop of England players have been smoking over the last couple of days is another question entirely.

* Prompted by this England cricketers Observed in their underwear   and, indeed, this Cricketers\’ underwear

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