Cricketers and their music January 23, 2004

Songs in the key of cricket

You could always buy a Gray Nicholls and swish it like Greg Chappell did

Murali Kartik: so this is how he spins around!
© Getty Images

You could always buy a Gray-Nicolls and swish it like Greg Chappell did. You could slick your hair back with Brylcreem and pretend to be as suave as Farokh Engineer. For a close shave there was Kapil Dev's Palmolive. You could drink Boost and be as strong as Sachin Tendulkar. Hell, if you're the sort, you can even slim like Shane Warne, though we wouldn't advise that. Now, with the VB Series playing itself out in a day-in and day-out jamboree, you can even listen to the songs your favourite cricketer chose.

Every time a batsman walks out to bat, or heads back in to the dressing-room, and that happens with monotonous regularity if you're a Zimbabwean, the megawatt speakers at each Australian ground come alive with all the energy they're worth. Each cricketer playing in this VB series was asked to choose a song he would like played when he made the march in or out. Unfortunately, though, the selection offered up was rather like most of the bowling on offer in this series - no classics, no all-time greats, merely a typically cliched list of chart-toppers.

Michael Bevan, with 64 runs from five matches, must be wondering if "Final Countdown" was the wisest choice of song. Surely he was thinking more of his batting at the crease, counting down the runs in a tight chase, rather than the fact that a continued run like this might have the selectors counting down his days in international cricket. Especially with whippersnappers like Michael Clarke, hot on his heels, proclaiming his comings and goings with Bon Jovi straining at "It's My Life." Jason Gillespie and his mullet, attempting to revive a tradition best left buried, win the award for irony, choosing the song "Gel" by Collective Soul.

Virender Sehwag, always happy to get the party going, gives Jennifer Lopez the thumbs-up for her song, "Let's Get Loud", while Sanjay Bangar, nicknamed the Buddha for hardly ever saying anything, stays in character and shows his age by choosing "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley. VVS Laxman, just back in the one-day side, sends a subtle hint to the selectors by walking out to Robbie Williams's "Let Me Entertain You". In a bid to placate the local talent, and advertise his skills, Murali Kartik is "Spinning Around" with Kylie Minogue. Lakshmipathy Balaji earns points for sincerity, that last-over six conceded to Brett Lee notwithstanding, when he goes with Delta Goodrem's "Born to Try".

Vusimuzi Sibanda, the man with the most lyrical first name, thinks that "Life's Like a Rollercoaster," but Grant Flower, who has seen it all and yet not quite done it all, goes with Propella Heads's "History Repeating" when the Zimbabwe wickets come tumbling down. Heath Streak, playing out of his skin in a perennially struggling team, in the background of a country in turmoil, keeps his chin up with U2's "Beautiful Day". Well, he's not totally wrong, it must be a beautiful day somewhere.

The most poignant choices, however, come from the two stalwarts in the Indian team. Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble took a long, hard look at the choices in front of them, and decided they would make their own music. Against their names are the evocative choices, "No Song" by "No Artist". In this case, given the selection of songs put before the players, and unlike at press conferences, as the players sometimes believe, silence really is golden.

The full list
Ricky Ponting - Chemical Heart by Grinspoon
Adam Gilchrist - On My Mind by Powderfinger
Michael Bevan - Final Countdown by Europe
Andy Bichel - Holy Grail by Hunters and Collectors
Nathan Bracken - Addicted to Bass
Michael Clarke - It's My Life by Bon Jovi
Jason Gillespie - Gel by Collective Soul
Ian Harvey - Leaps and bounds
Matthew Hayden - Get Set by Taxi Ride
Brad Hogg - Thunderstruck by AC/DC
Brett Lee - Locomotion by Kylie Minogue
Damien Martyn - Bad Boyz II (Soundtrack)
Andrew Symonds - Waltzing Matilda by John Williamson
Brad Williams - Are You Gonna Be My Girl? by Jet

Rahul Dravid - Forever Young by Alphavane/Rod Stewart
Sourav Ganguly - I'm a believer by Smash Mouth
Virender Sehwag - Let's get loud by Jennifer Lopez
VVS Laxman - Let me entertain you by Robbie Williams
Murali Kartik - Spinning around by Kylie Minogue
Ajit Agarkar - Beautiful Day by U2
Parthiv Patel - Get what you give by New Radical
Irfan Pathan - It's my life by Bon Jovi
Sachin Tendulkar - No Song by No Artist
Lakshmipathy Balaji - Born to try by Delta Goodrem
Sanjay Bangar - A Little less conversation by Elvis Presley
Anil Kumble - No Song by No Artist
Yuvraj Singh - You really got me - The Kinks
Hemang Badani - Are you gonna go my way by Lenny Kravitz

Heath Streak - Beautiful Day by U2
Tatenda Taibu - Shake your body by Shy FX
Andy Blignaut - Freestyler by Bomfunk
Stuart Carlisle - Elevation by U2
Sean Ervine - Let me entertain you by Robbie Williams
Grant Flower - History repeating by Propella Heads
Travis Friend - It's my life by Bon Jovi
Douglas Hondo - Where's your head at by Basement Jaxx
Stuart Matsikenyeri - Better Man by Robbie Williams
Blessing Mahwire - I'm a believer by Smash Mouth
Ray Price - Can't get you out of my head by Kylie Minogue
Vusi Sibanda- Life's like a rollercoaster by Ronan Keating
Mark Vermeulen - A Little less conversation by Elvis Presley
Craig Wishart - Let's get loud by Jennifer Lopez

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo.