It’s a road out there: England pay homage to Tufty Fluffytail with opening win

The squirrel Tufty Fluffytail was created for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) in 1953, but it was not until the mid-1960’s that a young @tonybishop1 proudly received his Tufty Club badge and certificate. As a testament to the genius of Tufty and the memorably simple Kerb Drill, I’m still here and haven’t been flattened like so many of Tufty’s unfortunate cousins.

Tufty was to be superseded by The Green Cross Man, portrayed by body builder turned actor Dave Prowse, who equally famously went on to play Darth Vader. Long post Darth, Dave couldn’t resist donning his green cape one more time in a Green Cross comeback.

A fair few cricketers have found the temptation to slip back into their flannels impossible to resist too, finding they fit rather more snuggly than before, but still searching within themselves to find the spark that lit their former glories. Some never retire like Darren Stevens (44). A portly WG Grace was 66 when he played his last match and might have played more were it not for the First World War.

Right now, a collection of yesterday’s cricketing heroes are battling in India for the T20 Road Safety Awareness World Series. Not the snappiest of titles but a terrifically worthy cause, the series features notable retired players from India, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa and Bangladesh. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar is the commissioner of the series, while Sachin Tendulkar is the brand ambassador. Ravi Gaikwad is the series founder.

The series commenced in 2020, but was only partially completed before the pandemic brought it to a halt, but has now restarted in Raipur, minus only the ageing Aussies.

It was the Indian legends Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar that rolled back the years in the first encounter, making an unbeaten match-winning opening stand of 114-runs against Bangladesh.

While Sehwag finished with an unbeaten 80 runs off 35 balls, Tendulkar scored a brisk 33 from 26 deliveries. They do say form is temporary but class is permanent, although displaying that class may well have left both feeling a little stiffer than in their pomp.

After the match, Sehwag revealed: “Sachin told me to finish quickly, and that’s why I was in a hurry. Yesterday I had a five-minute nets session; that’s it. My batting was simple, see the ball and hit the ball. Just keep it simple

Today, England have started in fine style, strolling to a seven-wicket win, also against Bangladesh. Recent Guerilla guest Monty Panesar was frugal and effective with one for 15 off his four overs before Phil Mustard, Darren Maddy and Kevin Pieterson saw England comfortably home to a warm bath, a mug of cocoa and an early night.

There is plenty more entertainment to come with the likes of Lara, Best, Dilshan, Herath, Ntini, Rafiq, Rahman, Peterson and Panesar, raising awareness of safety on the roads and showing they’ve still got it with bat and ball, rather than bath chair and blanket.

India Legends: Sachin Tendulkar (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Yusuf Pathan, Naman Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Noel David, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Manpreet Gony

Sri Lanka Legends: Tillakaratne Dilshan (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Chinthaka Jayasinghe, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Russel Arnold, Ajantha Mendis, Farveez Maharoof, Sanath Jayasuriya, Manjula Prasad, Malinda Warnapura, Dammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Chamara Kapugedra, Dulanjana Wijesinghe

South Africa Legends: Jonty Rhodes (Captain), Morne Van Wyk, Alviro Petersen, Nicky Boje, Andrew Puttick, Thandi Tshabalala, Loots Bosman, Llyod Norris Jones, Zander de Bruyn, Monde Zondeki, Garnett Kruger, Roger Telemachus, Makhaya Ntini, Justin Kemp

Bangladesh Legends: Mohammad Rafique (Captain), Khaled Mahmud, Mohammed Sharif, Mushfiqur Rahman, A N M Mamun Ur Rashed, Nafees Iqbal, Abdur Razzak, Khaled Mashud, Hannan Sarker, Javed Omar, Rajin Saleh, Mehrab Hossain, Aftab Ahmed, Alamgir Kabir

West Indies Legends: Brian Lara (Captain), Dinanath Ramnarine, Adam Sanford, Carl Hooper, Dwayne Smith, Ryan Austin, William Perkins, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Pedro Collins, Ridley Jacobs, Narsingh Deonarine, Tino Best, Sulieman Benn

England Legends: Kevin Pietersen (Captain), Owais Shah, Philip Mustard, Monty Panesar, Nick Compton, Kabir Ali, Usman Afzaal, Matthew Hoggard, James Tindall, Chris Tremlett, Sajid Mahmood, James Tredwell, Chris Schoefield, Johnathan Trott, Ryan Sidebottom0

Jingle by Guerilla

Broadcast Schedule

India v England 2024 Test Series
IND v ENG 5th Test, Dharamsala
7th March to 11th March
Start time: 4:00 am GMT