While the match between New Zealand and Afghanistan saw the cricket fans getting to see Brian, the resident feline of the Somerset Cricket Ground, Taunton, for the first time in this year’s World Cup, cricket fans had to wait for some time to see the famous cat during the Australia-Pakistan match.
The whiskers, who has been given membership of the club, and also has a twitter handle, was seen walking on the advertising boards in the New Zealand-Afghanistan match and fans were seen cheering for the cat. The feline, who was first spotted at the stadium in 2013, was named after Brian Lee, one of the club’s employees who was on leave at that time and the club officials named the cat Brian on him having a same hairstyle like his human namesake. Brian the cat also spent some time watching Pakistan practice during one of their practice sessions on Tuesday. The cat has currently 1,737 followers on twitter. What are you waiting for? Follow the cat to know what has been happening at the stadium.
Tricky Kiwi Nicks
In January this year, when ICC named its Test team, the Auckland-based popular rock music station, Radio Hauraki, like everybody on the sports-mad tiny Island, got excited. It was an expected reaction. Imagine three from a country with a population that’s one-fourth of Delhi had made it to this elite group of eleven cricketers. Though what wasn’t puzzling — at least for neutrals — was the headline on the website of the radio station that goes by the motto “It’s different. World famous, Radio Hauraki”. The header said: Steady The Ship, Dave Franco & Hairy Nipples named in ICC Test Team.
Things became clear once on reaching the second para of the story: “Captain Kane Williamson was joined by ‘debutants’ Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls in the team selected by an international panel of commentators and cricket writers.” It also revealed the rather odd nicknames of New Zealand’s three Test mainstays. Steady The Ship is so popular among fans that it has inspired T-shirts and hats. In every day conversations, Williamson gets referred as Steady The Ship, or just Ship. No one raises eyebrows or even smirks, they remain steady as ship. It’s an apt name for a captain who has a habit of anchoring New Zealand’s frequently rocking ship. Latham’s looks have seen him getting compared to the famous movie star David Franco and as for Henry Nicholls’s nickname, it’s self explanatory.
Ganguly, the early bird
Sourav Ganguly the cricketer might not have been the kinds who’ll be the first to hop on to the team bus. But Ganguly the commentator is turning out to be a different breed, at least at this World Cup. The former India captain, who is a part of the official commentary team, has been reaching the stadium two hours before the first ball is bowled to get a feel of the conditions and ‘get into the zone.’ That also makes sure he escapes the selfie-hunting fans at the grounds.
Talking to The Analyst podcast, Ganguly said: “I make sure I come early, reach at 8.25 in the morning to get away from crowd, get into the zone and be at peace.” Ganguly recalled the 2011 World Cup match between India and South Africa in Nagpur, where he couldn’t see out of the commentary box because everyone was watching him commentate instead of watching the match unfolding in front of them.
Ganguly goes on to talk about the India-Pakistan match, albeit very briefly, describing the Green Shirts as a ‘dangerous side’ and drawing multiple references to the 2017 Champions Trophy final, where they beat India, who were the favourites. One tongue-in-cheek remark, though, stood out: “The broadcasters will go berserk,” he said. And going by the manner in which channels from both countries have been hyping up the match, he isn’t far off the mark.
20 years back
@NZCricketMuseum assiduously maintains the important dates associated with New Zealand cricket, and match-eve at Trent Bridge is the 20-year anniversary of Black Caps’ 5-wkt win over India in the 1999WC, led by Matt Horne’s 74 & Roger Twose’s 60*. #OnThisDay over the last few months has some delectable entries refusing to forget the milestones and overwhelming moments for cricket’s underdogs at the World Cup: Jun 10 – John Bracewell’s ODI debut in their win over Pakistan at the 1983 World Cup; Jun 8 – Warren Stott, Jeremy Coney & Warren Lees’ ODI debuts in 1979’s Prudential World Cup win over Sri Lanka; Jun 6 – Glenn Turner bats through for 171* at 1975 WC vs East Africa; May 20 1999 — NZ defeat Aus by 5 wickets in Cardiff, 1999 CWC, with the hard-nosed Twose hitting 80; Mar 10 – Shane Bond’s 6 for 23 in the Super Sixes match v Australia. “Sadly, it wasn’t enough” it rues. And finally, Mar 10 – CZ Harris (130) & LK Germon (89) launch one of the great rescue missions in the @BLACKCAPS’ 1996 #CWC quarter final v Australia and Mar 7 — Mark Greatbatch charges at Ambrose & Marshall in the win vs West Indies in 1992.
The online museum is a treasure trove, with regular entries on Martin Crowe’s heroics, but three other little-known events make it a quaint chronology to scroll through. Feb 20 – anti-apartheid supporters attempt to damage the pitch before the @BLACKCAPS & South Africa start their 1964 Test at Wellington. January 31 — an infamous day in Australian & New Zealand cultural & sporting history: Chappell bowls underarm to McKechnie in 1981. And a gem of an acquisition: home video footage of the @WHITE_FERNS playing @englandcricket at Cornwall Park in 1969, where the accomplished women’s team back then played in gear similar to what might be seen at Wimbledon – skirts with long socks, striking the ball cleanly through the covers. For a proud cricketing nation, the 20-year-old-win against India though spells a good omen.