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They're playing our song

An XI of tunes that are - unbeknownst to us - actually about cricket and cricketers

Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle of the Who, 1965
The Who: they're Neil Harvey's favourite band, you know © Getty Images

"When I'm 64", The Beatles
The great Geoffrey Boycott adopted this one as his theme tune early, realising how perceptive it was about his approach at the crease. As in, "When I'm 64, you better be on your guard, miserable non-striker fellow. I'm only 36 away from that hundred, and don't you be doing anything to put me wicket at risk, like calling for a foolish run or owt."

"(Hit Me) Baby One More Time", Britney Spears
What does a bowler who's just been hit for a six, a four and then some need most? Why, to be hit, hit and hit again. This universal truth, beloved of masochistic pie chuckers everywhere, was rendered tunefully (or not) in song by Britney Spears. And years later, along came Mick Lewis to translate it perfectly in the most unambiguous cricket terms, bleeding 113 runs off 10 overs against South Africa in that game.

"Ebony and Ivory", Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
So moved was Darren Lehmann by this saccharine treat from 1982 that he was moved to - jestingly, you understand - call a Sri Lankan player an obnoxious name. Just to prove that the races can indeed live together in perfect harmony. So much so that they can even get all postmodern and pretend not to. Like.

"My Generation", The Who
If Neil Harvey has told us once that things were better back in his day, he's told us 805 times. He's not trying to cause a big sensation, you know, just talking about his g-g-g-generation.

"Rudie Can't Fail", The Clash
In 1979 a learned and wise old sage told the members of punk band The Clash of a cricket umpire years in the future who would be respected, admired and feared for his infallible decision-making skill, whereupon the band duly wrote a song in praise of said umpire. The learned and wise old sage was then exposed as an escapee from a mental institution.

"Every Breath You Take", The Police
Sting and Co wrote this one for the zealous lads at WADA. "Every move you make, I'll be watching you"? Sound familiar? And what about the even more telling, commonly misheard line "Oh can't you pee, you belong to me"? Case closed.

"Everybody's Got Something To Hide (Except For Me and My Monkey)", The Beatles
So you thought Harbhajan Singh and his best Aussie pal were the agents provocateur behind Sydneygate? Well, you're wrong, and this song proves it. It was the hypocritical world around them that was at fault, wasn't it? Bhajji and his mate were blameless, you hear? Innocent as lambs. They were a-ok, all above board. Nothing to hide.

"Hello", Lionel Richie
There's a World Cup coming up. Is it VVS Laxman you're looking for, Mr Selector? Come now, I can see it in your eyes, and furthermore, in your bloody smile. No? Oh well.

"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" Culture Club
Thus warbled pop tartlet Boy George, fetchingly dressed in a skirt or some such, back in the early 80s. From darkest Sydney came the answer to his plaintive query. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, you perfumed ponce, yelled Jeff Thomson, the veins bulging in his forehead as he gnashed his teeth and started on his run-up.

"Heartache Tonight", The Eagles
Put South Africa in a major tournament final and what do you have a recipe for? Don Henley and the boys knew. "Somebody's gonna come undone. There's nothin' we can do." Amen brother.

"Living in a Box", Living in a Box
It's pretty obvious who this modest synth-pop band, who cleverly wrote a song named after themselves, were referring to, isn't it? Why, the suckers for punishment who batted on all five days of a Test and thus had their guards on for pretty much the duration, innit? Duh.

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