November 24, 2008

Bringing back the mo

Cricinfo staff
The mush, the strip, the film, the burger

According to Brett Geeves, Max Walker's moustache was one of the most impressive of its time © Martin Williamson

Geeves wants mo' money
There was a time when you couldn't get a spot in Australia's fast-bowling line-up without a decent moustache. Alas, trends have changed in the past 30 years. But the now hairy Brett Geeves is doing his part to bring back the look through the "Movember" campaign, where men are encouraged to grow moustaches throughout November to raise money for men's health charities. On Cricket Australia's website, Geeves is counting down the best moustaches in Australian cricket history. He says of Max Walker: "I have great memories as a youngster watching icicles form on Max's mo while he was hosting the Wide World of Sports Wild Winter Weekend Dash for Cash alongside Kenny Sutcliffe." Don Bradman was on the list for his brief flirt with facial hair in the 1980s, although Geeves said 99.94 was probably the number of times per day Lady Jessie asked the Don to shave the thing off. But who will be No. 1? David Boon? Dennis Lillee? The smart money is on Merv Hughes.

While on charity, Katie-Ann Lamb, former England batsman Allan Lamb's daughter, and friends are raising money to fight breast cancer - by posing nude for a calendar. Katie-Ann is 21, studies at Newcastle University, and is going ahead with the plan with her college mates. She said she decided to do the calendar after Jane McGrath, wife of Australian cricketer Glenn, died earlier this year, aged 42, after battling bone cancer. For the souls curious about this cheeky scheme, we, being a family site, can neither publish nor link to the pictures. But hey, Google search never harmed anybody.

From Manchester to Miami
When Peter Marron quit as the head groundsman at Old Trafford in October, he said he needed a new challenge, and wanted to use his knowledge in a different capacity. Mission accomplished. Marron is currently sunning himself on the luxury cruise-liner, the Celebrity Solstice, in the Caribbean - in his role as the curator of the world's first cruise-ship lawn. Marron looks after the 1300-square-metre area that is used by the ship's 2850 passengers to play bowls and golf, while on cruises from Florida to the West Indies. It was such a ludicrous sounding position that Marron said he genuinely thought it was a wind-up when he got the job offer. "It's really been a dream job," Marron said. "I'm led to believe it's raining in Manchester - I'm heartbroken."

Post-retirement plans
The morning after retirement from Test cricket must be such a vacuum. For how the hell does somebody, who has spent all his adult life playing cricket at the highest level, adjust all of a sudden to not doing anything - to not planning dismissals, to not training, to just being any other man? If you are a legspinner who has retired as India's leading wicket-taker, there are no such issues. Barely has Anil Kumble retired, and we are seeing promos of a Bollywood movie featuring Kumble in a cameo appearance. Meerabai Not Out features star presenter Mandira Bedi in the lead role, and madly in love - as a fan - with Kumble, who plays himself.

What's up with other retirees?
Well, they are giving pep talks: Sourav Ganguly to I-League soccer team Chirag United, and Justin Langer to basketball team Perth Wildcats. Ganguly spoke to Chirag United players about his days of struggle when he was dropped from the Indian team, and gave a general lesson in resilience. It seemed to have immediate effect as Chirag went on to hold favourites Mumbai FC for a 1-1 draw. Langer likened some of the basketball skills to cricket skills, although his basketball knowledge is limited. "What stood out for me was him talking about hitting a cricket ball," Shawn Redhage, a Wildcats player wrote in Perth Now. "He likened it to dribbling a basketball, and said it was about as easy as walking and talking - until you take your eye off it. He proceeded to show us how tough it was to hit a cricket ball with your eyes closed." Henceforth we shall not comment on Langer's basketball skills, or motivational skills for that matter.

Fingerlickin' good
If you have a punch line like that, and you are looking to break ground in subcontinental markets, there's one cricketer tailormade to endorse you. In one of the smartest advertising moves, KFC have got Muttiah Muralitharan to feature in their advertisements being aired in the subcontinent. The advertisement has Murali, just about to start his run-up, get into his routine of licking his fingers. But that's when he goes into a blissful trance, and relishes the memory of having eaten the "fingerlickin' good" KFC burger. Wonder if Abdul Qadir is next on KFC's wishlist.

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