I resisted the temptation to entitle this post “But a tawdry cheapness shall outlast our days“. Apart from the fact that it would be howlingly pretentious – even by my standards – I am only too aware that the kind of cricket I prefer would have a hard time surviving without subsidy from Test and 20/20 cricket, and I’d be delighted if this year’s campaign were to bring in a bumper crop of loot for the counties.
I thought I’d have a look at how Leicestershire and Northants have gone about the business of attracting new custom. Northants have opted for this –
Chaminda Vaas, Andrew Hall and Jack Brooks prepare to, I suppose, terminate the Derbyshire Phantoms, with many thousands of CGI Northamptonshire members swarming in the background. The inspiration here is Northamptonshire’s one-day disguise as the Steelbacks, the name deriving from a nickname of an early version of the Northamptonshire Regiment, who were known “for their ability to show complete contempt when being flogged with the cat-o’-nine tails”. This must have seemed appropriate during the reign of terror imposed by Kepler Wessels, though I find I tend to translate it subconsciously into the Sticklebacks (a common fish in Northamptonshire’s rivers, as I remember from my childhood).
If Leicestershire (the Foxes) had chosen to go down this route of cinematically-inspired intimidation, they might have come up with something like this –
From left to right, Nixon, Taylor and Hoggard. But instead, they have – rather counterintuitively, in my view – opted for this –
A firm-jawed Josh Cobb, perhaps visualising a Maximum. I’m not quite sure about the slogan – perhaps “It’s not just cricket” might have better? – and I’m frankly agog to see how this Hawaiian theme is going to play out at Grace Road. At the very least, I expect palm trees in the Meet and returning batsmen being garlanded with flowers by the Friends of Grace Road, as they dance the traditional hula on the boundary in their grass skirts. Let’s hope the weather holds up, and that fancy dress is not compulsory.
I’ve been trying to think of any previous association between cricket and Hawaii, and there is this, from Bill Bowes’ autobiography. The touring party on the Fast Leg Theory tour returned home via a tour of the Pacific Islands (then across Canada and back across the Atlantic). They stopped off in Hawaii –
“Of course, it would be difficult to forget Honolulu beach. Honolulu is the only beach to compare with those around Sydney. There were met Laurel and Hardy, and had a great day with them. We left garlanded with flowers to the strains of guitars and that lovely song of farewell “Alloa O”.
Laurel and Hardy were there to film “Sons of the Desert”. It’s believed that Douglas Jardine filmed a cameo appearance, as “Angry Man”. The gag, apparently, involved Oliver Hardy sitting on his Harlequins cap, though, unfortunately, this scene did not make the final cut.