Guerilla Cricket lockdown special: presenting the inaugural Dickwella-Broad Owzat Trophy!
Stuck indoors in lockdown, burnt your Amazon Prime Firestick to a frazzle and wondering if you can make the final chocolate hobnob last until your next online delivery? Then why not roll back the years and fill a couple of those countless hours in the day in the company of Guerilla Cricket as we launch the Dickwella-Broad Owzat Trophy? Based on the classic dice game of the 1970s, and named in honour of two of cricket's finest celebrappealers, the tournament sees eight Guerillas each taking the reins of a team as they seek to battle through a group stage, semis and an all-singing and dancing finale – a plethora of new jingles have been prepared by our award-winning composers for your listening delectation – and, like "proper" Guerilla cricket, you can take part in real time via Twitter and the YouTube chat function. It'll be quick, crazy and almost certainly more fun than the Hundred (God rest its soul), and a helluva lot cheaper.
Rules: Eight teams divided into two groups of four will battle for the four places in the semis. Matches are one innings each with no limit on overs and with three points for a win, 2pts for a tie and a bonus point for victories of more than 100 runs or by more than eight wickets. Best batter and bowler of the day will take temporary custody of the Mother Cricket cable-knit jersey.
The teams are Grubby's Weave O'Shaughnessy XI, Hendo's Fat Lot Of Use XI, Nakul's One-Test Wonders, Rog's Beardy Bastards, NotFred's How The Fuck Did They Play for England XI, Tony's Making A Spectacle Of Themselves XI, Tim's Ginger Dread Men and Aatif's Naughty Boy Nets XI.
Match referee and dice controller: It's the heaviest roller of them all as the Bear steps into a rare official post as arbiter of all that is good and proper. Watch for some fantastic wrist work as the fastest (and some would say fattest) fingers in the West get play under way.
The Guerillas introduce their 16-player squads
Tim Part (The Ginger Dread Men): "Pass the factor 50 and call me a Weasley: we're ready to win"
Squad: Martin Guptill, Chris Rogers, Hamish Marshall, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Eoin Morgan (capt), Paul Collingwood, Kevin O'Brien, Jonty Rhodes, Neil Fairbrother, Andrew McDonald, Graeme Welch, Ollie Pope, Shaun Pollock, Craig McDermott, Ryan Sidebottom, Lloyd Pope.
Coach's analysis: Trying to be an elite sportsperson involves sacrifice, pain and hurt for perhaps only a fleeting moment in the limelight. Now imagine if you had to do that with red hair. Schoolyard bullying is compounded by a Dracula-like aversion to sunlight and in requiring two recessive genes, we ginges have already lost life's lottery. So it's time to roll the dice and get some karmic compensation.
Thus I have assembled a crack cohort of carrot-tops combining vintage reds such as Craig McDermott, Neil Fairbrother and Shaun Pollock with modern freckle-faces Morgan, Guptill and O'Brien (Kevin). Add in rusty young upstarts like The Two Popes and it's a winning – if cancer-prone – formula.
So, pass the factor 50 and call me a Weasley, because this is an outfit ready to compete as furiously as star player Johnny Bairstow's perma-scowl would suggest.
Rog 'Pineapple' McCann (The Beardy Bastards): "A winning brand of elite hairy destruction"
Squad: JM "Ayatollah" Brearley (capt), WG Grace (the skinny years), Moeen Ali, Mohammad Yousuf, Paul Stirling, Hashim Amla, Sir Ian Botham (the glory years), George Bonnor, Vic Marks, Malcolm Marshall, Mike Hendrick, Jack Blackham (wk), Jason Gillespie, Ricky Ponting (the early years), Anton Devcich, Monty Panesar .
Coach's analysis: When a beard can anger an opposing nation so much it draws comparison with a fundamentalist dictator, you know you have the ideal skipper to form a winning brand of elite hairy destruction. Impactful chinstraps form the lustrous, ornery bedrock of this XI that contains the full gamut of rugged characteristics: there are icons, scribes, thinkers, backwoodsmen and roisterers principally drawn from the two golden ages of beard cricket, Victoriana and post-hippiedom. And bringing the hammer in the middle order we're delighted to include the king of beards – the skethrop – in the name of religious devotion to pure, shimmering, paradisal run-gathering. And we got Paul Stirling. Natch.
Our bench strength shows hirsute variety and there's a reprieve for the mid-90s monstrosity, the goatee, repurposed here for its Mephistophelian properties. Conspicuous in its absence is the current Indian side who miss out due to over-sculpting and uniformity, anathemas to these wild, ideological pogonophiles who are ready to serve up their own brand of chin music.
Tony Bishop (Making A Spectacle Of Themselves XI) "Whichever way the dice fall, this lot won't roll over"
Squad: Geoffrey Boycott, Eddie Barlow, Zaheer Abbas, Clive Lloyd, Anshuman Gaekwad, MJK Smith (capt), Dick Young (wk), Daniel Vettori, Paul Allott, Devon Malcolm, Alf Valentine, Percy Fender, David Steele, Jack Leach, Narendra Hirwani, Walter Hadlee.
Coach's analysis: Wearing see-through face furniture didn't do any harm for Winston Churchill, Buddy Holly, Elton John or Roy Orbison and let's not forget that the glasses-wearing Clarke Kent was pretty indestructible as long as he avoided large doses of Sydnemite! Likewise my myopic maestros. They might need a white stick to get to the wicket and it helps if the ball has a bell in it, but their collective magnificence speaks for itself. The first time Percy Fender (yes, he of the Guerilla theme tune) wore specs he smashed 185 in 130 minutes in 1922 against Hampshire (Mason Crane's great grandad may have been bowling at the time); Jack Leach's glasses cloth has its own Twitter account; and there's a reason "blind as a bat" is an expression with its origins in cricket folklore.
Don't think for a moment a side containing Sir Clive Lloyd (who famously dumped the glasses for a blindfold to survive the terrors of the Bear's driving during last year's World Cup), supported by the sheer blinking brilliance of the likes of Geoff Boycott, Devon Malcolm and Alf Valentine, will be easy to beat. Whichever way the dice roll, this lot won't roll over.
Hendo (The Fat Lot of Use XI): "Power packed and certainly the most well-rounded"
Squad: Mohammad Shahzad (wk), WG Grace, Mark Cosgrove, Warwick Armstrong (capt), Arjuna Ranatunga, Samit Patel, Ian Botham (the wasted years), Rakheem Cornwall, Ian Austin, Dwayne Leverock, Merv Hughes, Inazmam ul Haq, Mike Gatting, Colin Milburn, Ravi Rampaul, Akram Khan.
Coach's analysis: Don Bradman honed his skills by hitting a hanging golf ball with a stump in downtown Bowral; Dwayne Leverock prepared for a future as an international cricketer by living above an Indian restaurant in Bermuda. Who's to say that one was more effective than the other? Ok, most pundits will look to the Don's Test average of 99.94 and rub it up against Leverock's 71 wickets in the Intercontinental Cup – but did Bradman ever plunge to his right to take an iconic World Cup catch in the manner of a man possessed of a terror that a large tub of takeout tandoori was about to be spilled on the floor? As Shakespeare may have noted, some men are born fat, others achieve fatness and others have fatness thrust upon them. Take Mike Gatting, for example: as a young international he was chunky, no more; as his career progressed his outline turned more ovoid but it was not until later in life that retirement, the MCC presidency and too many Long Room lunches took their toll and turned him into a mathematician's perfect circle.
Gatt can't quite make my starting XI, formed as it as around such weighty personas as Warwick Armstrong and WG, whose Test careers almost overlapped, superior bits and pieces players such as Samit and Ian Austin, decaying talents like Botham (who makes two sides in different guises) and one, Rakheem Cornwall, on the way up (in many senses). The Big Ship may have lost his crown to the West Indian as the heaviest international cricketer of all time, but he remains at the helm in a side that, whatever its cardio-vascular challenges, reverberates with power and is certainly the most well-rounded.
Grubby (The Weave O'Shaughnessy XI): "We may lack hair, but we'll brush aside the oppo"
Squad: Graham Gooch, Virender Sehwag, Jacques Kallis, Martin Crowe (capt), Sourav Ganguly, AB De Villiers (wk), Ben Stokes, Shane Warne, Darren Gough, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Dougie Bollinger, Gautam Gambhir, Michael Vaughan, Ravi Bopara, Ravi Shastri, (Chris Balderstone missed the cut).
Coach's analysis: Rugs 'n' Plugs 'n' Vanity may sound like the best Pogues album you've never heard; it's also the Weave O'Shaughnessy motto – and God knows these boys have known their share of Irish jigs over the years. They may lack hair, but they don't lack style. This is a squad of historical, if not tonsorial, distinction: the starting XI top six – all sweeps and cuts – have 143 Test centuries between them, the bowling attack 1,400 Test victims*. Exactly 1,000 of them are the property of all-round shinehead Jacques Kallis, and Shane Keith Warne, a man as greedy for wickets as for artificial physical enhancements. The build up to the tournament was blighted by an ugly rumour of a power struggle between Ganguly and Crowe, but just like the box in which Ben Stokes once stored his hairbrush, there was nothing in it.
Fresh from our training camp on a pair of clippers off Antigua, we're raring to go. In fact, the fellas have pulled together like the meagre strands of Mo Matthews' over-exposed scalp during his revolutionary trichological treatment. As they embark on their quest for Dickwella-Broad glory, my plucky lads are supremely confident of brushing aside their opponents, if not their long-since-departed fringes.
(*All stats from Wigipedia)
Aatif Nawaz (The Naughty Boy Nets XI): "I expect us to do very well … one way or another"
Squad: Salman Butt, David Warner, Herschelle Gibbs, Cameron Bancroft, Hansie Cronje, Mohammad Azharuddin, Shakib Al-Hasan, Lou Vincent, Salim Malik, Ajay Jadeja, Allan Lamb, Umar Akmal, Marlon Samuels, Chris Lewis, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif
Coach's analysis: Cricket has had more than its fair share of naughtiness; I suppose all sport has. But for some reason it's more jarring in cricket. Perhaps it's because one thinks of it as the ultimate gentleman's game. Perhaps it's just a case of ill-advised emotional investment.
In selecting my team, I was very much spoilt for choice. From petty tomfoolery to full blown criminal behaviour...cricket offers so many options. I've opted for a healthy blend of (alleged) fixers, (alleged) cheaters, as well as those who simply engaged in harmless tomfoolery and foolish skylarkings. On paper, it makes for quite the formidable 16.
Needless to say, I expect the Naughty XI to do very well...one way or another.
Nakul M Pande (The One-Test Wonders XI) "This squad is built to entertain – and win"
Squad: Rodney Redmond, Andy Ganteaume, Naveed Nawaz, Vic Stollmeyer, Stuart Law, Chamani Seneviratna, Zulqarnain Haider, Isobel Joyce, Charles Aubrey-Smith, Gobo Ashley, Charles Marriott, Buddy Oldfield, Mignon Du Preez, V Rajindernath, Shute Banerjee, Douglas Carr
Coach's analysis: They say cricket gives you what you deserve; this is obviously nonsense and my squad testifies to that. These are careers frozen at the one-cap mark because of the menacing (war, racism, death threats), the unfortunate (a surfeit of talented players, the near-total abandonment of women's Tests) and the bizarre (Gold Rush prospecting and dodgy contact lenses). Balancing statistical excellence and the ability to compete in all conditions, it contains the two men to score hundreds in their only Test, the highest average of a one-Test player, a wicketkeeper who never batted or took a catch but claimed four stumpings and the only international cricketer to star in a film with Elizabeth Taylor. With star power, righteous indignation and bucketloads of first-class wickets and runs, this is a squad built to entertain – and to win.
Not Fred Titmus (How The Fuck Did They Play For England XI): "We're not remotely good enough"
Squad: John Stephenson, Ed Smith, Joe Denly, Bill Athey, Chris Cowdrey (capt), Gavin Hamilton, Warren Hegg (wk), Ashley Giles, Ian Salisbury, Amjad Khan, Ed Giddins, Jason Roy, Boyd Rankin, Darren Pattinson, Mason Crane, Simon Kerrigan
Coach's analysis: A squad with such variety and yet offering so little. Stephenson got one Test on the 1989 Australia tour of England, Scotland, the Netherlands and Denmark. Not sure he was good enough for Scotland, the Netherlands or Denmark. Ed Smith's three Tests yielded an average of 17 but his real claim to being in this team is his unfathomable selection of Joe Denly, ordinary batsman, rank bowler, executor of the worst drop in cricket history. As the old saying goes: when Yorkshire are shit, England are shit, hence Bill Athey. Chris Cowdrey was the provider of the shortest-lived new era in English cricket history, but naturally wins the captaincy courtesy of a father with famous initials. Gavin Hamilton has more Test caps than Test runs, wickets and catches combined. Not even remotely English. There are many good wicketkeepers never given an England chance, and then there's Warren Hegg. Ashley Giles was just rubbish. Ian Salisbury: 20 wickets at 77. Christ on a bike. Amjad Khan was good enough for Denmark, but not as good as Hamlet, Kierkegaard or Brigitte Nielsen. Ed Giddins: banned for taking drugs, banned for betting on his own team to lose, banned for chucking. First name on teamsheet.
Who's your money on? Guerilla Cricket asked a top bookmaker to rate the teams' chances
The One Test Wonders: Great pedigree, great yarns and a lot of players you've probably never heard of. Used to performing under the pressure of never being selected again, don't expect them to ease up on the intensity under a forceful coach like Nakul. 8-11 favs
The How The Fuck Did They Play For Eng XI: The weakest team on paper and, to be fair, on the pitch. Low expectations could make them the surprise package under a coach in Not Fred who will mercilessly ring the changes should players not come up to scratch (which they won't). Evens
Naughty Boy Nets XI: Bad boys, George Michael sang in 1983, stick together, and if coach Aatif can harness the individuality in this squad for the team good, he could be on to a winner. If not, they have enough dirty tricks up their sleeves to remain in the frame. 2-1
The Making A Spectacle Of Themselves XI: Four eyes are better than two and under a coach wedded as strongly to research and stats as Tony, they will have covered all eventualities. Questions, though, persist over the selection panel's choice of captain and a couple of poor showings by MJK Smith could see him rapidly replaced by proven winner Clive Lloyd. 5-2
Ginger Dread Men: Personal humiliation can be a massive motivating force, so expect coach Tim, a former/current ginge himself, to fire up his flame-haired rebels with indignation and a willingness to die for the cause. In truth, with authentic gingerness thinly spread through this squad, they may, more literally, be forced to dye for the cause. 3-1
Weave O'Shaughnessy XI: If being ginge is a motivating force, imagine the repressed rage of those forced to visit the hair transplant clinic. If that isn't enough for coach Grubby, a Cheltenham Festival regular, to put a big fat wad on his boys, he can fall back on the strongest squad in the paddock. But talent doesn't always equate to success and, with ABdV in the ranks, could they be the RCBs of this tourney? 16-1
The Beardy Bastards XI: They have the best captain by a country mile but the wanton disregard of Indian talent solely on design grounds suggests the selection panel are biting off their noses to spite their furry faces. With coach Rog having of late eschewed his own bushy covering, punters might be right to ask if he is favouring style over substance. 33-1
The Fat Lot Of Use XI: Never mind the quality, feel the width. Though, to be fair, there is a more than a smattering of quality here too. Where this team might fall down is that they might fall down, as too much belly ballast forces them to overbalance in the hunt for the quick single. They hit a long ball but a lack of athleticism in the field will make it hard for them to defend the sizeable totals they could well rack up. That said, if coach Hendo can sharpen their fitness in his own buff image, they might force a couple of victories. 5000-1
Group A Weave O'Shaughnessy XI; The Ginger Dread Men; The Beardy Bastards XI; The One-Test Wonders
Group B The Fat Lot Of Use XI; Making A Spectacle Of Themselves; Naughty Boy Nets XI; How The Fuck Did They Play For England XI
Please note the variable start times.
|Wed May 6||
|Fri May 8||Group B||
|Mon May 11||Group B||
|Thu May 14||Group A||
|Sun May 17||Group B||Naughty Boy Nets XI v Making A Spectacle Of Themselves XI – Postponed due to global Zoom outage, new date and time TBA||3pm|
|Wed May 20||Group B||
|Sat May 23||Group A||
Tue May 26
|Sun May 31||Group A||Weave O'Shaughnessy XI v Ginger Dread Men XI||11am|
|Wed Jun 3||Group B||Fat Lot Of Use XI v Making A Spectacle Of Themselves XI||3pm|
|Sat Jun 6||Group A||Beardy Bastards XI v One-Test Wonders XI||11am|
|Tue Jun 9||Group B||Naughty Boy Nets v How The Fuck Did They Play For England XI||3pm|
|Sat Jun 13||Semi-final||Winner Group A v 2nd Place Group B||TBC|
|Sun Jun 14||Semi-final||Winner Group B v 2nd Place Group A||TBC|
|Wed Jun 17||Third place playoff||TBC||TBC|
|Fri Jun 19||Final||TBC||TBC|
|Weave O'Shaughnessy XI||2||2||0||0||6|
|Ginger Dread Men XI||2||1||1||0||3|
|Beardy Bastards XI||2||1||1||0||3|
|One-Test Wonders XI||2||0||2||0||0|
|Fat Lot Of Use XI||2||1||1||0||4|
|Making A Spectacle Of Themselves XI||1||1||0||0||3|
|Naughty Boy Nets XI||1||1||0||0||3|
|How The Fuck Did They Play For England XI||2||0||2||0||0|