Can’t be too long now before the start of the season, as this month’s Wisden Cricketer comes accompanied by the Equipment Supplement. In fact, it isn’t called that anymore, but – in homage to that puzzlingly popular motoring programme on the telly – the Good Gear Guide. It also features some character known as “The Don” – apparently a professional cricketer employed to test the bats, who wears a helmet to hide his identity and is introduced thus – “Some say he’s one ball short of an over … some say he bowls round the wicket … all we know is he’s called the Don“. For Heaven’s sakes …
I’m past the age now when I’m likely to be buying any new equipment, but I do like to keep up with the latest trends. The supplement also, I think, provides an explanation for the alarming slump in form of Craig Kieswetter – clearly down to having to play on through the enormous discomfort caused by having poured a pot of boiling hot tea down his chest. If only someone had explained to the poor colonial boy how to use a teacup, all of this could have been avoided.
The kit on offer seems reasonably restrained this year, with nothing that makes the players look – as most one day kit tends to – like the employees of a branch of Minnesota Fried Chicken. I can’t help but pine, though, for the days when England cricketers presented themselves to their public like this –
rather than this (strewth, there’s a bloke down there with no strides on etc.) –
But surely it must be possible to achieve a compromise of some sort – a synthesis, if you will – between elegance and practicality, style and function? Well, of course, one man did try – who else but Ted Dexter, a man never afraid to think outside the abdominal protector. Knock off an elegant cameo 65, back to the pavilion, off with the flannels and on with a pair of houndstooth Daks slacks and a floppy velvet bow tie and it’s look out ladies! Ding dong!