Seven ways to impress blokes at your new cricket club
You can change cricket clubs for many different reasons. Maybe because you’ve moved house. Because you want to play with a different group of mates. Because you want to fire-up your run-making (see Klinger, Bevan, or Ronchi). Or maybe you slept with the coach’s daughter… I find lingering resentment never manifests itself more clearly than at the selection table.
If you’re a cricketer who has decided that a “change is as good as a holiday”, stay reading, because we’ve got all the tips you need to make sure your new cricket club holiday is more “Caribbean cruise” than “extended family trip to Ararat with your weird uncle.”
And it all begins on arrival:
#1. Breeze in to training in a freakin’ sweet ride
If you want a smooth ride to the first XI – literally and figuratively – then you need to invest in the right vehicle.
Do you think first XI players rock up to training in a Hyundai Excel? Nope. They’re rocking up in their shit-hot work utes or brand-spanking Commodores. So, borrow your dad’s Jeep, or your work Ford Falcon, or your sister’s boyfriend’s turbo-charged Subaru Impreza, and send the right message.
Trust me, the last thing you want to do is show up to training at a new club in Gippsland in your white 1996 Toyota Corolla Hatchback*. You need to think creatively; and speaking of which:
#2. Flaunt a sports singlet/rep top
Did you ever play for an under-fifteens rep team? Do you have a mate who played first XI for school? Or did your brother ever play for the Inner-East Emus?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you should seriously consider asking yourself: does their singlet/rep top fit you?
Blokes respect other blokes who they perceive as having talent. Literal runs and wickets aren’t important; it’s implied runs and wickets that carry weight.
If you rock up in a rep top of some kind, and everyone will assume they’re dealing with a legitimate Big Deal – not a past-it forty-year-old whose eldest son once sub-fielded for their local rep team in the nineteen nineties.
Speaking of being a Big Deal…
#3. Play it cool
This one took me ages to figure out. Being one of the cool lads at a cricket club requires one key skill: the ability seem like you don’t give a shit about what other people think, and then offering an air of indifference when they are asked to be involved with the club.
Don’t ASK for a bat; allow it to be thrust upon you begrudgingly. Don’t bowl every time you’ve got the opportunity to; trundle in every-so-often, like eye-rolling waves in a disinterested tide. And save all your energy for one or two deliveries, then announce loudly that you “don’t want to overdo it”, whilst knowing full-well that you have nothing left in the tank*.
Avoid catching practice. Always get throw-downs. And wear sunnies. Sunnies are definitely cool. Oh, and when you’re speaking to other people…
#4. Select your stories carefully
Here’s a quick note for the older blokes: anything before the time of MyCricket is fair play.
What was your average playing for Binjiwunyawunya in 1997? 14.3? Add a zero in there. And how many wickets did you take playing for Narrogin in the late eighties? Six? Or six hundred? And – what’s that? – you taught Brad Hogg everything he knows?! Strewth, that is impressive! You’re definitely playing ones in round one.
With a couple of well-placed, carefully-selected anecdotes, you’ll have everyone hoping that you pass on your expertise to the rest of the club. So…
#5. Take a bloke under your wing
It doesn’t matter if it’s a batsman or a bowler, you need to be seen giving advice to SOMEONE. Pick the club’s prodigy, then – as they’re walking back to their bowling mark, or after you’ve sent down a delivery at them – take some time to deliver some expert advice.
For example, for batsmen: “Move your feet more / don’t go walkabout!” “You’ve gotta move your head / keep your head still!” “Don’t play with hard hands / you should’ve played that with soft hands.”
It doesn’t matter what you’re saying. The point is that everyone sees you giving advice, and start spreading rumors that you “really know [your] shit.” But will you show it on the park? Not if you can help it…
#6. Don’t commit to playing any actual cricket
At your first session, the last thing you want to do is to pencil yourself in for a full season.
People who are good at cricket don’t want to play. Only rubbish players are keen for the new season. So, play this to your advantage, and when you’re asked, “how often can you play?”, insist that it’s a week-by-week proposition – “yeah, nah, gotta see how long the missus lets me off the chain for, hahahaha.”
Hell, if your first training session goes well, you don’t even need to train again. Whispers of, “I haven’t seen X at training for a while, but jeez, he looked good in his first session” are all the currency you need. Don’t lose the buzz by rocking up too often and getting castled by full-tosses.
Mystique is key. Remember that when you…
#7. Give yourself an outrageous nickname
Do you want to lock yourself in for a breezy run at the bar, selection, and on social occasions? Lock in a ripping nickname of your own devising. There’s heaps of ways to make this happen:
- Give your number to a team-mate.
- Them: “What’s your name?”
- You: “Just chuck it in under ‘Pants’.”
- Them: “What?”
- You: “Short for ‘Pantsman.’ Oh, jeez louise – I forgot that you wouldn’t’ve heard me called that before! I got that nick-name at my old club. It was after this one time that I…”
- Answer your phone in front of the team.
- You: “I’m sorry lads, gotta take this. Hello? Yeah, this is The Iceman. Yeah mate. Nah mate. Yeah mate… Look, I gotta go, I’m at cricket training. That’s right – The Iceman’s back this season! Getting ready for a few poles this season. Icy-poles. Because I’m The Iceman!”
- Make sure they respect your sweet car’s name (see point 1).
- Team-mate: “Man, that’s a cool car.”
- You: “Thanks mate, I call it the ‘Shred-Mobile’.”
- Team-mate: “What? Why?”
- You: “Because of my nick-na… oh. Oh, I forgot that you probably wouldn’t know that my nickname is ‘Shredder‘.”
Nicknames are power. You don’t get called “Tank” or “D-Man” and then get disrespected – that’s now how it works. Last year, one bloke at our club went to great lengths to get people to call him “The Big Dog”.* Pity he’s actually a real tosser.
Have we missed anything? Is there something you’ve done to have a cruisy run at the selection table, or your new club? Let us know in the comments below.
* This was me.
* This was me.
* This was also, umm, me.