September 25, 2009

The good, the bad, the hairy

 
28


Jesse does the seventies © Getty Images
 

Let there be no doubt, cricket is men’s work. Women may be able to bat, bowl and field as well as the lesser sex, but there is one cricket skill in which, by and large, men remain pre-eminent: the rapid production of facial hair. And one man in particular, one selfless hero, has just raised cricket’s masculinity bar a notch higher. That’s right. Jesse Ryder has grown a moustache.

At the moment, it is hard to tell which way Jesse’s ‘tache will go. It’s something of a mini-Boon, but by the time the Champions Trophy comes to an end, he may be walking around with a full Zapata under his nose. Or perhaps he might go in for the waxed Hercule Poirot, or possibly even a Salvador Dali. I’ll keep you posted.

Of course, as we all know, the moustache is the nuclear option when it comes to demonstrating one’s masculinity and it brings its own particular dangers. Admirable though it is, this extra infusion of hairy-lipped testosterone into the New Zealand squad could have repercussions. Indeed, I’ve suspected for a long time that we may be approaching a fashion black hole. Consider, if you will, Jacob Oram’s hair. At what point does deliberately messy become just plain scruffy? Before you know it, people will be sprouting sideburns, shirts will remain unfastened and we will be back in the dark, hairy, and above all ugly, seventies; a decade when even attractive cricketers looked like they’d spent their close season living in a ditch.

It was precisely in order to uphold the aesthetic purity of the modern game that I recently launched my latest campaign. I am proposing that tattoos are made illegal under Level 4 of the ICC Code of Conduct. We all know that there are only three kinds of people on whom tattoos look good: Maoris, Bronze Age tribesmen and 19th century sailors. On everyone else they look like the scribblings of someone who tried to cheat in their maths exam, failed and then forgot to wash off the evidence. It can surely be no coincidence that the two biggest troublemakers in international cricket - Andrew Flintoff and Brendon McCullum - are covered in inky dribble

If we don’t make a stand then commentators will be next, and before we know where we are, Nasser Hussain’s pitch report will end with him rolling up his trouser leg to show us something deeply personal. Someone needed to draw an imaginary line in the metaphorical sand. That person was me.

The ICC tend not to answer my emails these days, so I decided to go to the top. The modern globetrotting cricketer is a surly sort of cove and not easy to bring to heel. I needed the help of the only man they would listen to. I needed Lalit Modi.

As you might imagine, His Modiness is a tricky man to get hold of, but I find that if you grab him firmly by the BlackBerry, he eventually stops struggling. He was sympathetic to my request, but replied that he was in no position to take a firm stance on body art. To my mounting horror, he then began to slowly remove his shirt to reveal an enormous, slightly hairy, chest-size Lalit Modi portrait in ink and flesh.

I haven’t been able to sleep ever since.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Florence on September 6, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Now I feel stupid. That's cleread it up for me

  • a-unit on October 15, 2009, 2:44 GMT

    Brendon Mccullum is part Maori, so according to your article he looks good with a tattoo.

  • Mo Stach on September 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Bohemian masculinity is here again..... There is so much of an androgynous Stuart Broad that one can digest. And as for some suggestions that one should be well-groomed while representing the country, well, there are always beauty pageants to care of that.

  • Scoob on September 26, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    who cares what they look like, just enjoy the cricket

  • Alastor on September 26, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    Clive, with Ricky Ponting you get the 2 day growth AND the chewing with the mouth open, with a bonus of the delightful habit of spitting on one's hands four times an over (or is it every ball?). I actually don't have a problem with chewing gum, but I don't want to SEE the gum! Why is his gum alway hanging out of his mouth? I am a little concerned that someone is slowly trying to return us to 70's fashions, the shirts do seem to be gradually getting tighter... lets hope the pants do not follow. Jesse has obviously seen this return to the 70's coming and wants to be ready to clean your pool.

  • Campbell on September 26, 2009, 0:07 GMT

    Since when was Brendon McCullum a trouble maker? I don't think I've ever seen him do anything wrong, let alone the only thing he troubles is bowlers who enjoy bowling short and wide, because 99% of the time they are crushed for fat sixes.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with tattoos as long as they hold some significance to the player who has them, say a special date etc.

  • Brat on September 25, 2009, 23:40 GMT

    Jesse Ryder's mo looks like a dead hamster. It is just WRONG. Seriously, if that's an example of kiwi masculinity, I'm almost tempted to become a lesbian.

  • Tim on September 25, 2009, 22:39 GMT

    How could we forget Obi-Wan Vettori with his Jedi-esque beard. Over the course of a Test match, he starts clean shaven, then by day 5, looks like a he's just emerged from the deserts of Tatooine! His nickname should really be the Bearded Warrior.

  • Jay on September 25, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    why does Jesse think so highly of his nose that he needs it underlined? making a point to the opposition or the doorman on duty in a loo?

  • Andrew Hughes on September 25, 2009, 20:27 GMT

    Thank you all for your comments. First of all, apologies for implying that Mr McCullum was some kind of dangerous hoodlum. The troublemaking I had in mind was of a contractual nature - I did not mean to imply that he is the type to get all liqoured-up at a nightclub and start throwing his weight around. That is certainly not the sort of behaviour one associates with the gentlemen who inhabit the Land of the Long White Cloud.

    Rob, you have pierced right to the heart of the matter. I was a mere child during the seventies, indeed, lived a fair portion of it with neither cultural awareness nor adequate bowel control. I have, however, seen cricket videos from the era and they are not pretty.

    Martin - you have uncovered the truth. My entire article is revealed as an utter fraud, a lie, a contrived and fanciful piece of nonsense. I would be indebted to you if you would continue to carefully scrutinise my offerings and keep me honest over the weeks ahead.

  • Florence on September 6, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Now I feel stupid. That's cleread it up for me

  • a-unit on October 15, 2009, 2:44 GMT

    Brendon Mccullum is part Maori, so according to your article he looks good with a tattoo.

  • Mo Stach on September 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Bohemian masculinity is here again..... There is so much of an androgynous Stuart Broad that one can digest. And as for some suggestions that one should be well-groomed while representing the country, well, there are always beauty pageants to care of that.

  • Scoob on September 26, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    who cares what they look like, just enjoy the cricket

  • Alastor on September 26, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    Clive, with Ricky Ponting you get the 2 day growth AND the chewing with the mouth open, with a bonus of the delightful habit of spitting on one's hands four times an over (or is it every ball?). I actually don't have a problem with chewing gum, but I don't want to SEE the gum! Why is his gum alway hanging out of his mouth? I am a little concerned that someone is slowly trying to return us to 70's fashions, the shirts do seem to be gradually getting tighter... lets hope the pants do not follow. Jesse has obviously seen this return to the 70's coming and wants to be ready to clean your pool.

  • Campbell on September 26, 2009, 0:07 GMT

    Since when was Brendon McCullum a trouble maker? I don't think I've ever seen him do anything wrong, let alone the only thing he troubles is bowlers who enjoy bowling short and wide, because 99% of the time they are crushed for fat sixes.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with tattoos as long as they hold some significance to the player who has them, say a special date etc.

  • Brat on September 25, 2009, 23:40 GMT

    Jesse Ryder's mo looks like a dead hamster. It is just WRONG. Seriously, if that's an example of kiwi masculinity, I'm almost tempted to become a lesbian.

  • Tim on September 25, 2009, 22:39 GMT

    How could we forget Obi-Wan Vettori with his Jedi-esque beard. Over the course of a Test match, he starts clean shaven, then by day 5, looks like a he's just emerged from the deserts of Tatooine! His nickname should really be the Bearded Warrior.

  • Jay on September 25, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    why does Jesse think so highly of his nose that he needs it underlined? making a point to the opposition or the doorman on duty in a loo?

  • Andrew Hughes on September 25, 2009, 20:27 GMT

    Thank you all for your comments. First of all, apologies for implying that Mr McCullum was some kind of dangerous hoodlum. The troublemaking I had in mind was of a contractual nature - I did not mean to imply that he is the type to get all liqoured-up at a nightclub and start throwing his weight around. That is certainly not the sort of behaviour one associates with the gentlemen who inhabit the Land of the Long White Cloud.

    Rob, you have pierced right to the heart of the matter. I was a mere child during the seventies, indeed, lived a fair portion of it with neither cultural awareness nor adequate bowel control. I have, however, seen cricket videos from the era and they are not pretty.

    Martin - you have uncovered the truth. My entire article is revealed as an utter fraud, a lie, a contrived and fanciful piece of nonsense. I would be indebted to you if you would continue to carefully scrutinise my offerings and keep me honest over the weeks ahead.

  • Tristram Lee on September 25, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    Your hairy hits the nail on the head! Parnell's sideburns could well join the list. You could possibly extend your thesis into a research of the top gum chewers, spitters, groin and bum scratchers and nose pickers.

  • Martin on September 25, 2009, 18:05 GMT

    Just raised cricket’s masculinity? What are you talking about? This is the 21st century. The only people to wear a mustache are Bulgarian women shot putters or 'gentlemen of the lavender persuasion.

  • Alex on September 25, 2009, 12:41 GMT

    I loved the story during the IPL of Brendon McCullum's tattoos that show his best scores in roman numerals - after another duck, Chris Gayle asked him whether there was a roman numeral for '0'. The story may be a complete fabrication, but you can imagine the conversation.

  • Mykuhl on September 25, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    So does that mean that the tattoo ban would be lifted for Ryder, Tuffey and any other Maori cricketers? Or for Ryan Sidebottom (due to his looking like a nineteenth century sailor?)

    Certainly BMac's ink is starting to make him look like the rhythm guitarist from a pop-punk band with inexorably long song titles such as "Lets charge our glasses to the pharmacists" or "I sat at a word processor putting in words randomly."

  • Clive on September 25, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Heaven forbid that I would ever be sufficiently intimate with any of the mentioned gentlemen to so accurately describe their tattoos.

    The facial hair is another matter entirely. I have no objection to a player sporting a cultivated underline or frame, but what rankles me is players sporting a one-or-two day growth, on day one of a match.

    There is something old fashioned and romantic in me that requires anyone wearing national colours to be groomed. Perhaps it's just a foolish old fashioned belief that when your are picked as the best, you should be at your best... and a five o'clock shadow at 10:00 in the morning, while singing the anthem, is like chewing with your mouth open.

  • Jambo on September 25, 2009, 12:16 GMT

    Don't forget Guptill's feeble attempt in Sri Lanka. With that angular face of his, it made him look like a sergeant in the British Army, circa 1850. At least he looked in the mirror and shaved it off before exposing himself to the world in this tournament. Jesse's has potential - he could be the Boon of the new millennium.

  • Maniac on September 25, 2009, 12:13 GMT

    hehehehe rob heinen you rock. You simply put my thoughts in words. Ditto if someone wants a Tattoo its his life. Good they have hair to sport a retro hairstyle. Look at Sehwag now and already bald Prior and loads of other who might tear their hair out reading this article.

  • Ed on September 25, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    Trying to keep one's moustache in tip top condition might lead to trouble though, for as all readers of 'The Chap' magazine know, only specially formulated moustache wax is suitable for maintaining shape and lustre - but can anyone from the ICC answer me this: Does the inadvertent application of moustache wax to a cricket ball during play contravene ICC regulations?

  • Karthik Venkatesh on September 25, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    I think Ryder is growing a mustache so that he will seem at home when he plays for royal challengers!

    Visit Bangalore you will know why

  • Sal on September 25, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Could it be that Jesse and co are growing super seventies facial hair in support of Movember (www.movember.com), which does a very fine job of raising money for prostate cancer research? If so, leave them alone and concentrate instead on the creepy chin hair horror, now referred to in these parts as "The Siddle". Ghastly, pointless and looks like the wearer has a gap in the middle of their shaving mirror.

  • DAG on September 25, 2009, 10:53 GMT

    Brilliant mo Jesse, i look forward to the end product. If someone wants a tattoo, let them have it. Theres enough ettiquette and ass kissing of the authorities as it is, so if someone wants to represent something on their body in the form of ink, so be it!! By the way, i don't have a tatoo, so im neutral. And i'm a kiwi, and even though we can't win a cricket match, we always manage to make waves somehow!! Go the boys in Black!!

  • Peter on September 25, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    Brendon Mccullam a trouble maker? wow you are desperate for evidence..

    if the guts want to grow hair or have tattoos I honestly dont care. but, if they keep getting low scores or getting smacked around then it makes a mockery the "statement" they are trying to make. sideburns and moustaches are for hard people, so if you play like a p**** then sorry mate, you and your moustached are fired!

  • sjk on September 25, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    trevor i completely agree. oram is no longer a force (was he ever?) sure aint no cairnsy (least when he WAS fit he played like a genius. oram´s either unfit, or out of form....

  • Trevor on September 25, 2009, 9:19 GMT

    Jesse Ryder..... terrible terrible fashion statement, call the cricketing fashion police. Leave Oram with the messy hair at least the focus will be on his hair and not his underachievements for about the last 2 years or so. As long as NZ persist with Oram and live in the past their cricket will remain sub-standard.

  • rob heinen on September 25, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    Very funny article. So much so that I tried to find your credentials on the internet. It appears that you have chosen your name well, for there are about twenty writers named andrew hughes. Very clever. Now why would you want to see my credentials, you might wonder. I was curious as to the date when you were born. Did you really live through the seventies or are you just ventilating your trauma being born from parents from the seventies? One or the other puts a different perspective on your article. Hence.

  • Kirk on September 25, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    It can surely be no coincidence that the two biggest troublemakers in international cricket - Andrew Flintoff and Brendon McCullum - are covered in inky dribble

    BMac a troublemaker? Never!

  • Sulli001 on September 25, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    If they put as much time and effort into growing their mow's then maybe there cricket would improve...its apparent that after yesterday proformance they are more focused on grow facial hair and having a laugh than doing there jobs.

  • Stuart on September 25, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Look I'm all for outrageous moustaches, sideburns and other potentially comical/farcical (certainly in Jesse-the-lip-Ryder's case) facial hair.

    However, I think you're spot-on regarding tattoos on players. Yes, clearly BB McCullum is from NZ but that tattoo ought to come with a prison story attached. Or should that be prison term perhaps? Ditto with Freddie Flintoff's "body art".

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  • Stuart on September 25, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    Look I'm all for outrageous moustaches, sideburns and other potentially comical/farcical (certainly in Jesse-the-lip-Ryder's case) facial hair.

    However, I think you're spot-on regarding tattoos on players. Yes, clearly BB McCullum is from NZ but that tattoo ought to come with a prison story attached. Or should that be prison term perhaps? Ditto with Freddie Flintoff's "body art".

  • Sulli001 on September 25, 2009, 8:06 GMT

    If they put as much time and effort into growing their mow's then maybe there cricket would improve...its apparent that after yesterday proformance they are more focused on grow facial hair and having a laugh than doing there jobs.

  • Kirk on September 25, 2009, 8:11 GMT

    It can surely be no coincidence that the two biggest troublemakers in international cricket - Andrew Flintoff and Brendon McCullum - are covered in inky dribble

    BMac a troublemaker? Never!

  • rob heinen on September 25, 2009, 8:34 GMT

    Very funny article. So much so that I tried to find your credentials on the internet. It appears that you have chosen your name well, for there are about twenty writers named andrew hughes. Very clever. Now why would you want to see my credentials, you might wonder. I was curious as to the date when you were born. Did you really live through the seventies or are you just ventilating your trauma being born from parents from the seventies? One or the other puts a different perspective on your article. Hence.

  • Trevor on September 25, 2009, 9:19 GMT

    Jesse Ryder..... terrible terrible fashion statement, call the cricketing fashion police. Leave Oram with the messy hair at least the focus will be on his hair and not his underachievements for about the last 2 years or so. As long as NZ persist with Oram and live in the past their cricket will remain sub-standard.

  • sjk on September 25, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    trevor i completely agree. oram is no longer a force (was he ever?) sure aint no cairnsy (least when he WAS fit he played like a genius. oram´s either unfit, or out of form....

  • Peter on September 25, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    Brendon Mccullam a trouble maker? wow you are desperate for evidence..

    if the guts want to grow hair or have tattoos I honestly dont care. but, if they keep getting low scores or getting smacked around then it makes a mockery the "statement" they are trying to make. sideburns and moustaches are for hard people, so if you play like a p**** then sorry mate, you and your moustached are fired!

  • DAG on September 25, 2009, 10:53 GMT

    Brilliant mo Jesse, i look forward to the end product. If someone wants a tattoo, let them have it. Theres enough ettiquette and ass kissing of the authorities as it is, so if someone wants to represent something on their body in the form of ink, so be it!! By the way, i don't have a tatoo, so im neutral. And i'm a kiwi, and even though we can't win a cricket match, we always manage to make waves somehow!! Go the boys in Black!!

  • Sal on September 25, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    Could it be that Jesse and co are growing super seventies facial hair in support of Movember (www.movember.com), which does a very fine job of raising money for prostate cancer research? If so, leave them alone and concentrate instead on the creepy chin hair horror, now referred to in these parts as "The Siddle". Ghastly, pointless and looks like the wearer has a gap in the middle of their shaving mirror.

  • Karthik Venkatesh on September 25, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    I think Ryder is growing a mustache so that he will seem at home when he plays for royal challengers!

    Visit Bangalore you will know why