Shhhh.…Don't remind Kepler
I have seen some pretty silly things happen in cricket over the years. I am just not sure I have seen anything more bizarre on a personal level than Denesh Ramdin’s totally ridiculous century-inspired petulant display that was directed at Viv Richards over the weekend.
For goodness sake it was Viv Richards, not some second rate unqualified analyst who made the comments that hit a raw nerve! He is arguably the best batsman ever and, after spending a few years with him in the Caribbean, I can tell you he would have been absolutely livid.
Viv hates people taking cheap shots and that was a disgracefully low blow from someone who couldn’t tie Viv’s shoelaces. What a pity that Ramdin has sullied his own glory moment with a mindless expression of immaturity.
This regrettable incident jogged my memory banks for others of comparable stupidity.
Dean Jones will always be remembered for his foolishness in insisting that Curtly Ambrose remove his white sweatbands during an international day-night final in 1993. An enraged Ambrose then proceeded to charge in and destroy Australia with an inspired, rage-laced spell of 5-32. During that ferocious barrage Mark Taylor informed Dean that if Ambrose killed him he would never speak to him again!
I was playing in a match at the SCG when a prickly Steve Rixon exchanged heated words with an equally animated Joel Garner while doing night-watchman duties. That didn’t work out well for Stumper. The next ball resulted in a brand new gold-embossed kookaburra logo being embedded in his temple.
The very same Steve Rixon made a huge error in the mid 1980s when I was standing next to him at second slip during a game in Durban. He took it upon himself to sledge the legendary Graeme Pollock just after he played and missed at a delivery soon after his arrival at the crease. I remember turning away thinking, “Don’t do it Stumper!” But it was too late. Jeeps was instantly infuriated. He bristled, stepped up a gear, and proceeded to cart our attack to all parts in a flawless exhibition that wielded 140 supreme runs in no time.
My crowning moment of glory was one I would like to forget. After my team, South Australia, defeated a star-studded Western Australian line-up in the premier one-day cup final in Australia in the early 80s, I decided to propose a champagne toast post-game. My timing was impeccable. As I was toasting ‘Dennis Lillee and the Easybeats’ while holding court with beer in hand and standing on a centre room table, in walked Lillee! That guaranteed the odd interesting mid-pitch confrontation for the next few seasons!
Terrence Lazard amused me one night after a day’s play in Port Elizabeth when he confided that he had worked out a way to play a rampant Tertius Bosch. Lazard, who was not out overnight, told me that he had the ideal way to play a Bosch bouncer. I listened as he astonishingly informed me that he was going to play his short deliveries off the front foot! As Bosch’s captain, I was impelled to tell him of this remarkable strategy the opposition opening batsman was intending to employ against him. The normally affable Bosch’s eye’s started spinning as his grin grew wider. Lazard was pole-axed first up next morning!
While I was on the staff at Leicestershire in the early 80s I witnessed an extraordinary act of revenge at Grace Road. Zimbabwean Brian Davison was skipper of the county at the time and gradually but purposefully moved himself to an uncharacteristic position at long on. None of us knew the motivation for such until the end of the over was called. Davo, who was not to be messed with, jumped the fence and decked a spectator who had been heckling him incessantly, and was back in the field of play for the start of the next over. There was always only going to be one winner there.
The very same Brian Davison once grabbed a surgeon by the throat demanding an immediate operation to correct a severely depressed fracture of the cheek bone after a Carl Rackemann thunderbolt rearranged his face. The urgency was to get the surgery completed so he could continue batting in the Sheffield Shield Final the very next morning!
Robin Jackman regales a story in his book ‘Jackers’ that tells the most preposterous cricketing story I have ever heard. The late Oliver Reed, playing in a benefit game for Robin, asked Jackers to get the lethal Sylvester Clarke to bowl him a bouncer at full tilt. Remarkably, he wanted to see what it was like facing that hostility! A resultant sickening thud in the midriff sent Ollie slumping to the turf gasping for air claiming, “That was great!”
My best silly moment on the field was one memorable late afternoon at SuperSport Park when Kepler Wessels was batting effortlessly towards the sanctuary of stumps. Our spinner was toiling away and I was at silly point. I engaged my keeper and slip in some seriously smutty conversation that reached memorable lows. Kepler broke his concentration and smiled following one particularly lewd comment. Kepler knicked the next delivery and was caught behind!
Shhhh … don’t remind him.