November 24, 2010

Ashes 2010-11

Trumpeter wins over the Fun Police

Andrew Miller

The intimidating cauldron atmosphere of the Gabba will have a soothingly familiar accompaniment for England's cricketers this week, after it was confirmed that the Barmy Army trumpeter, Billy Cooper, has been given permission to play his instrument throughout the five-Test series.

Four years ago, Cooper lasted for barely a session on the opening day of the series before being hauled out of the Gabba for breaching the ground regulations. That was just one of a number of incidents in the match that soured the atmosphere for the visiting supporters, who complained of scattered ticket allocation and over-zealous officialdom from the so-called "Fun Police". At one stage the Barmy Army organiser, Paul Burnham, threatened to call the whole tour off.

Now, however, the classically trained Cooper has applied for special dispensation through official Cricket Australia channels, and is expected to be part of the official entertainment package for the Test series. Happily for those who prefer their atmosphere to be buzzing in the non-literal sense, vuvuzelas remain on CA's banned list.

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Andrew Miller is the former UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and now editor of The Cricketer magazine

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