January 17, 2012

Offbeat

Cricket at the South Pole

Abhishek Purohit

Andrew Strauss recently said England needed to start winning cricket matches in all conditions, all over the world. A group of British explorers have taken that rather literally, and have beaten a Rest of the World side at the South Pole, in temperatures as low as -35 degrees Celsius.

The match was organised as a tribute to Robert Falcon Scott, a navy officer who led Britain’s first expedition to the South Pole in 1910-13, which ultimately resulted in his death and the death of the members of his team. Neil Laughton, a Special Air Service officer, who led a group of adventurers to the Pole, told the BBC he organised the match in honour of Scott because cricket was “quintessentially British and I wanted to do something that does not happen down here very often, if at all.”

In sub-zero temperatures, the players had to bat, bowl and field in the kind of gear Jonathan Trott would take a few hours to adjust. “Obviously it was very cold and difficult with all the bulky clothing to bat and bowl and slide around in the field to catch the ball but we managed it fine,” Laughton said.

The good news is that any time a cricketer complains he’s got cramps because of the humidity or that his fingers are numb because of the cold, he can be asked to stop whining and have a look at Laughton and his men. The bad news is that if ever you want to send a particular player to the South Pole, the teams are already full.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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