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July 6, 2004
Tino Best zipped through Marcus Trescothick's defences with a ripper in his second over at Lord's today, and followed up with an appropriate sendoff. He gestured at the back of his shirt and pointed to the fact that he was the "Best" in the business. Now there may be bowlers around the world who can replicate that delivery, but how many of them can enact the same celebration? Well, looking back over the years there's quite a handy XI of cricketers who could have used their names to good effect.
Imagine David Boon pointing to his surname every time a fielder grassed a chance, or David Hookes turning around after heaving one over midwicket. Unfortunately for Mark Butcher, his Headingley heroics against Australia came in a Test match, otherwise Adam Gilchrist and co. might have had a constant reminder of his name ... and his trade that day.
Sanjay Bangar, for all his dour defensive mindset, has a mighty name to live up to, while Paul Wiseman would definitely be expected to come up with some shrewd field changes and crafty spin variations. Bruce French could have easily exasperated bowlers all around the world with his streaky cut, and then driven them to despair by pointing to his back. But French has some competition when it comes to the wicketkeeping slot - Kiran More runs him close.
And how can we leave out the original Close fielder? Brian Close could have repeated this shirt-tapping act many times in a day - when the ball just missed the edge of the bat, at the end of the day's play, or even when boasting of his ability at short leg. Dwayne Bravo doesn't need to do too much congratulating - just a reminder of his surname would do, although it was England who were applauding his none-for-80 bowling today - but Brad Hogg will have to realise that there is some merit in rotating the strike.
Sadly for the grand old doctor, WG Grace, he played in an era when names were restricted to the scoreboard, and couldn't turn around after every beautiful cover-drive.
My Aptly Named XI
1 David Boon, 2 WG Grace, 3 Mark Butcher, 4 Brian Close, 5 David Hookes, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Sanjay Bangar, 8 Bruce French, 9 Brad Hogg, 10 Paul Wiseman, 11 Tino Best.
Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth
Plays of the Day from the third ODI between India and West Indies, in Kanpur