Posts Tagged sexiness
As a self-confessed Kiwi fan (I said it on Cricinfo, it’s now set in stone) I should be deliriously, breathlessly happy today. And I am, kind of. Even though the people that arrange these things had decided, in their infinite wisdom, that neither I nor just about anyone else outside the Tasman should be able to actually watch the Chappell-Hadlee series being contested (well, legally, anyway) I followed the 1st ODI via dodgy streaming video and ball-by-ball internet coverage right down to Scott Styris’s very last bludgeoned six. I went crazy with ALL CAPS! and profanity on Twitter when New Zealand won. I was more delighted than I can express that Australia had been beaten – and for the second time in a row! – thus wrecking their winning streak that oh-by-the-way happened largely against the West Indies. (Yeah, the side that were bowled out for 79 in the course of losing to Zimbabwe a few days ago. Those guys.)
It was glorious.
And then, because I love photography, and I wanted some visual connection to this fantastic match, I went to Getty and Daylife and Photosport NZ to check out their shots from Napier. As they usually do, they had some wonderful stuff: Martin Guptill flinging his bat in the last of the fading golden light; Ross Taylor joyously embracing the man who had given him a hard-fought win in his first match as captain; Mike Hussey captured mid-dive, catching out Peter Ingram; and Shane Bond.
(Ok, so that last one wasn’t from the match. But still: so pretty!)
Aaaaand then there was this.
Ok. So part of me is aware that cricket, despite being a game of boundless complexity requiring mental fortitude and no small amount of intelligence both to play and to appreciate, is still a sport. And the fact remains that, like all sports, a certain percentage of the fine athletes who play it will be, for lack of a better term, jocks.
So much claptrap has been written about ‘mental disintegration’ that it makes me tired to even think about it, let alone consider rehashing it here, but the impression I get is that the words and in-your-face confrontations are meant to be part of a finely-tuned mind game meant to unsettle and intimidate the opposition. Fine. I could maybe see this when, say, Allan Donald used to work on batsmen with fiery bowling interspersed with choice epithets as the gears turned and he tried to out-think and out-play them. That was a battle you could see unfold – even if he did cross the line, as he did on that one memorable occasion with Rahul Dravid, I could understand what he was up to.
With Mitchell Johnson (and, last time, Shaun Tait), and the dozens more like them that seem to be springing up like weeds all over? I have no idea.
This is not mental tactics. This is moronic chest-thumping by immature little boys trapped in the bodies of grown men who are meant to be professional sportsmen. What’s it meant to accomplish, boys? Are you hoping that the batsmen will be so distracted by laughing incredulously at your childish tomfoolery that they’ll make a mistake and get themselves out? That they’ll stop hitting your bowling for boundaries because you snarl at them in a manner that you fondly imagine to be menacing?
I find this so incredibly tiresome. You’re not 21 any more, fools. Grow the hell up and start behaving like adults, for the love of all that is holy. If I’m going to see a battle on a cricket field, I want it to be a real one, not two man-children engaging in a metaphorical dick-swinging contest to see who can demonstrate the most ludicrous display of idiot machismo.
Besides, face facts, boys, you’re not exactly hurling verbal grenades there, on account of you’re really not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I can just imagine the Johnson-Styris exchange now:
MJ: “You f**ker, you think you can just hit me for four like that whenever you want?”
SS: “Well, I just did, twice, so yes, actually.”
MJ: “F**K you! I’ll show you…you…you f**ker!”
SS: “Please, feel free. What have you been waiting for, by the way?”
MJ: “SHUT UP! DON’T YOU DARE F**ING HIT ME FOR FOUR AGAIN!”
SS: “No. Oh – wait, OK. I’ll just hit you for six then, shall I?”
MJ: “ARGH! THAT’S IT! I’m going to HEADBUTT you now, like this rhino I saw once on the Discovery Channel! Because I am an animal! I am a fighter! I am all raw, naked aggression! I will teach you to disrespect me and my crappy-ass wayward bowling that is still FAST which is all that matters! I will TAKE YOU DOW-” *clonk* “–OWWW! Son of a BITCH!”
SS: “Yep, that’s a helmet. I’ve been wearing it all evening. Hadn’t you noticed?”
Yeah. That’s some powerful stuff, right there. Indomitable spirit of man and the fighter eternal, and all that.
I should point out that I don’t think Scott Styris was nearly as blameless as this little imaginary dialogue makes him out to be. Engaging with the immature idiot makes you a bit of an idiot, too, Scott.
It can’t be easy being Hashim Amla.
He’s got to deal with tin-eared commentators calling him a terrorist; having his personality, batting skills and even other less singular aspects of his appearance (he’s got very nice eyes, for instance) largely ignored, and – even assuming heavy patronage of this place – what must surely be a real bitch of a grooming routine to undertake in the mornings. (Let’s not even start on the secret, bitter rivalry that I am certain would exist between him and Mohammad “MoYo” Yousuf for the title of Greatest Cricketing Beard were it not a totally imaginary award that I just made up right now.)
The beard, one might argue, seems to be far more trouble to Hashim than it’s worth, despite how important it is to him for a combination of religious and cultural reasons.
But Hashim isn’t the possessor of the only noteworthy beard in international cricket – the others might not be as spectacular, or luxuriant, but they’re attached to some pretty significant individuals. Kiwi Übermensch Daniel Vettori has sported one for a while now; ranging from ‘scruffy-librarian’ to ‘antisocial lumberjack’ in length and appearance depending, I assume, on his mood, the conjunctions of Mercury and Venus or possibly just whether or not he slept through the alarm that particular day. Mohammad Yousuf, as has already been mentioned, has a chin-shrub to rival Hashim’s. And Dutch-Australian Renaissance-man Dirk Nannes is usually seen with nifty European-style facial topiary.
The other thing these men have in common is the fact that they’re all, usually, pretty damn spectacular on the pitch (not always in the field, though. Sorry, MoYo, I calls it like I sees it.) I’m not saying that beards have the Samson-like ability to grant their wearers exceptional cricketing skill and/or matchwinning ability, but consider this: on his return from Achilles tendon surgery, the usually clean-shaven Kevin Pietersen and his natty Malevolent-18th-Century-Marquis-style goatee almost blasted England to a series win against Pakistan in Dubai.
Then, more recently, in the opening T20 of Australia’s New Zealand tour, the hosts were thumped by 6 wickets. This is what Daniel Vettori looked like at the toss, still cheerful despite the heightened risk of sunburn awaiting him in the field…
…and here’s Dirty Dirk Nannes, who took two wickets at 5.50 in a victorious cause.
Draw your own conclusions.
(Not to further bias anyone, but what other explanation could Wayne Parnell, a young man of more-than-average good looks, have for persisting with this? Ain’t because of any favours it’s doing him in the attractiveness stakes, that’s for damn sure.)
Some time ago on my old blog (and I believe also somewhere in the comments on Iain O’Brien’s blog) I came up with the hypothetical alternate-universe Kiwi superhero pairing of SuperDan and Guppy Two-Toes. SuperDan’s alter ego should be obvious; I figured he needed a sidekick, and who better than a man who somehow not only manages to remain upright but also plays cricket (rather well, I might add) with only seven toes in total? At the time Martin Guptill wasn’t in the best of form, so I reluctantly shelved the idea. Today, however, I am resurrecting it, in light of Guppy Two Toes’ fine maiden test century, which at the time of this writing, he has extended to 130 and is still going strong.
Brendon McCullum has, I should point out, also just scored a century – in less time and with arguably greater flair as well, having brought it up with a very pretty top-edged six – and is also still batting away, but his name isn’t nearly as catchy and he hasn’t overcome a bizarre deforming injury, so he misses out in the totally imaginary superhero stakes. I apologize, Brendon, truly. It was nothing personal.
So here’s to the Ongoing Adventures of SuperDan and Guppy Two-Toes. Long may they continue, and let us all hope that this doesn’t go to their heads to the point that they start showing up to matches wearing tights. (You’re both extremely attractive men – when you’re not conducting unfortunate experiments with your facial hair, anyway – but nobody needs to see that. Trust me.)
As a placeholder to satiate any readers that might be wondering why I haven’t posted anything in the last few days (ha! as if), I present a multiple-choice caption contest, inspired by Ms. Print’s post on Daniel Vettori’s latest captaincy appointment.
So, what is Daniel V. trying to convey here? Is it:
a) “I am a Kiwi ninja!” *piercing ninja shriek*
b) “I am driving a bus! A giant supermegabadass bus that will run you right over, Mr. Sehwag! Ahaha! VROOOM! Haha!”
c) “I am really excited about this wicket! So excited that my right hand is straying to a highly suggestive position! I must control myself, the match is not yet over.”
Ah HA! It would seem that Iain O’Brien has heeded the wishes of this blog and returned to the theme we all know and love (especially Jrod). Glad to see that you’re back to – hey, wait a minute. Something’s off about that picture…is that…
DAMMIT IAIN THAT’S CHEATING
That’s just not fair. To Jrod, to us – to yourself.
And don’t think rewriting classical mythology to make it exponentially more awesome is going to make up for it, either.
So yesterday, the cricketing world was set abuzz by the shock announcement of South African coach Mickey Arthur’s dethronement resignation firing departure from his official position, well before the end of his contract with Cricket South Africa. It’s been barely 24 hours since the news broke and already there are enough rumours, accusations, counter-accusations, denials and counter-denials flying around to make your head spin.
What’s the real story? We may never know (until Arthur’s autobiography comes out, in which case – no, we may still never know. Not to cast aspersions on the man’s integrity, but even Gandhi was economical with the truth when it suited him. It’s only human.) In any case, it’s always more fun to speculate, and by far the juiciest theory doing the rounds is that Mickey’s resignation/firing/dismissal/whatever it’s being called now was engineered and executed at the behest of Graeme Smith. What the newspapers are citing as an “irreparable breakdown in [their] relationship,” which could also be interpreted as Graeme doing a Klusener on his erstwhile coach. But still, even if that’s the case (let’s assume for the sake of argument that it is) the question remains: why? And why now?
The answer could lie in one of the other two major captain-coach conflicts we’ve seen in the past year or so. One involved Kevin Pietersen, and he didn’t exactly emerge from it covered in glory, so we can probably assume it’s not that one. (Besides, I imagine Graeme would rather perform impromptu abdominal surgery on himself with a rusty sword than allow himself to be inspired in any way by the actions of Kevin ‘traitorous faux-Pommie bastard’ Pietersen.) So that only leaves…Daniel Vettori and Andy Moles.
Graeme Smith looking to New Zealand for inspiration is only slightly less unlikely than him looking to England for the same thing, but Daniel Vettori is no ordinary New Zealander. He’s no ordinary cricketer. He’s basically transformed himself into Superfly (note to Vettori supporters: I am not in any way implying that “the aim of his role/ is to move a lot of blow” so you can just calm down right now.) But the man of the hour, with an air of great power? Someone whom “the dudes” have envied for so long? Sounds about right to me. He’s also ice-cool, notoriously intelligent, and, not incidentally, a total fox (although I’m less than enamoured with the new skinhead thing he’s got going. Not A Good Look, Daniel. Do not hide the light of your hotness under a bushel in this unfortunate way.)
Anyway, it’s simple. Graeme wants to be Superfly (because, really, what man doesn’t?) Daniel Vettori is the (white, bespectacled) incarnation thereof. Ergo, Graeme is trying to be Daniel Vettori.
I mean, it was a good try. But you, Graeme, are no Daniel Vettori. Sorry, but I think you need to come up with a new plan.