No other cricket series lends itself to so much history than the Ashes. And Kevin Pietersen, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann’s (are there going to be any more names?) antics that included urinating on The Oval pitch after the fifth Test on Sunday, will make the history books all right.
Over the years there have been several piss-related anecdotes that are worth sharing. So here goes…
Spot on at the good length spot
In the 1980s, two consecutive prestigious inter-office tournament games of a particular firm were disrupted because a miscreant decided to urinate on the good length spot at both ends on a pitch at Shivaji Park. The second incident happened after the second day of the match at one of the Gymkhanas in south Mumbai.
According to a player, who was part of both those games, the miscreant happened to be from his own team. While the first game at Shivaji Park resumed after a few hours, the second one was continued at the same score after more than a week because it involved a thorough repair job since the pitch was dug up before being ‘sprayed.’
Wet, wet, wet in Windies
MiD DAY columnist Ian Chappell related in his autobiography Cricket in Our Blood (the book was also titled Chappelli) how famous radio commentator Alan McGilvray was making his way to the lunch room from the commentary box on Australia’s 1973 tour of the West Indies and got himself wet as some spectator decided to relieve himself at the back of the pavilion.
The Jamaican atop the pylon
On the same tour, Chappell was surprised to hear that each pylon which was used for night football at Sabina Park in Kingston Jamaica had a capacity of 500 people. On one of the Test match days Chappell noticed a spectator standing right up on the 200-feet pylon on a metal ledge, “clinging for dear life to the pylon with one hand and clutching the ever-present bottle of West Indian rum with the other.”
Chappell couldn’t get his eyes off the spectator, who finally finished his bottle of rum at 2 pm, but still held on to the bottle. When Chappell asked one of the opposition players as to why he didn’t abandon the empty bottle, he was told, “keep watching.”
Over to Chappell in his book: “I did (kept watching) and soon enough I had my answer. I think I can say on behalf of the couple of hundred people on the pylon below him -- and especially Alan McGilvray if he was one of them -- that they were eventually grateful he kept the bottle for the reason he did.”
No Sunny side for Sandy
Sandeep Patil was watching his captain Sunil Gavaskar work his way to a hundred in the Faisalabad Test of the 1982-83 series against Pakistan.
Patil wanted to visit the loo when the batting genius reached the 90s but team manager Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad refused to allow anyone to move no matter how full Patil’s bladder was, till Gavaskar reached his hundred.
In his book of anecdotes published in 2007, Patil wrote: “Though I was desperate to go to the rest room, I obeyed my manager, and sat there. When Sunil finally reached his hundred, the deed was already done – in my pants!” Patil will not forget this Test for this reason and also for his first innings’ 84 off 99 balls against Imran Khan & Co. Gavaskar batted for more than 7 hours for his 26th Test hundred.
Roger to the rescue
Satish Viswanathan, who went on to become a journalist, relates a scary story in the book Caught and Told (published by Roli Books in 2007):
“In 1989, as part of the Brijesh Patel Cricket Clinic team, we visited the Amboselli National Park in Kenya. Our vehicle had veterans such as Brijesh and Roger Binny apart from juniors.
“A second vehicle with others from the team got stuck on a damp patch. This prompted drivers of both vehicles to exhort all the team members to get out of the bus and push the stuck vehicle out of the patch.
“Now we had just been shown a gruesome video by our host Atul Patel about how a Japanese tourist was eaten alive by a pride of lions when he made the mistake of getting out of his vehicle.
“However, we reluctantly got out. Just then one of us spotted a huge lion. The drivers immediately yelled at us to get back into the respective vans. We ran faster than we ever ran between the wickets, got back inside, and locked the doors. All, that is, except one. Roger saw one of the under-13 lads near the rocks, attending to nature’s call.
“He yelled out, prompting the lad, who went by the name of Valmik Buch, to sprint back in. Buch went on to play for Karnataka and Baroda, but never forgot the roaring time we had at the safari.”
‘More edges than...’
Greg Chappell was doing a county stint with Somerset when he had to confront an international cricket-retired, but still sharp Fred Trueman in 1968. A good part of the first over was spent failing to get an edge off Trueman’s outswingers.
The next over Chappell missed a few more before getting a thick edge to third man, a shot which got him his first run of the innings.
According to Adrian McGregor in the book Greg Chappell, an exasperated Trueman then yelled, “you’ve got more edges than a broken piss pot.”
And an inside edge a little later caused Trueman to utter, “I’ll bet I know where thee learnt cricket, lud, bludy Edg-baston.”