February 3, 2009

England cricket

Panthers sighted in Middlesex

Martin Williamson

Middlesex’s decision to ditch their existing nickname – the Crusaders – in favour of a more paletable Panthers has not gone down well in certain quarters, mainly because Vinny Codrington, Middlesex’s CEO, let slip that one of the reasons was that a he had had objections from a handful of Muslim and Jewish people to the Crusaders connotation. The political-correctness-gone-mad lobby were out in force, and the county were forced into a rushed statement which hinted that they had been caught on the hop.

No explanation was given as to why Panthers had been chosen. Usually the nickname had some link to the county, however tenuous, but few Middlesex residents can recall ever seeing panthers roaming the streets of Edgware. It is possible that some marketing wag has decided that the pink kit sported by the county in one-day matches ties in with the Pink Panther films and will appeal to sponsors.

And another name change might be on the cards if Codrington is bombarded with complaints that associating a graceful and powerful big cat with an underperforming county side amounts to animal cruelty.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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