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Baz's tattoos, Ramiz's articles

Lots of one, very little of the other

S Aga

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Brendon McCullum swivels, New Zealand v South Africa, ICC World Twenty20, Lord's, June 9, 2009
McCullum sports an ingenious tattoo that reads "This is a tattoo" in a Polynesian language © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20

Brendon McCullum has a lot of tattoos. What's up with that? asked Nash P from South Africa
How many tattoos does a man need to sport before you can call him a man? One of the great questions of our age, to rank alongside "How many seas must a white dove sail before she can rest her head in the sand?" (Which conveniently overlooks the point that such a dove would in all likelihood be a bloody ostrich and not a dove, in fact, but that's another matter. Who would expect any good out of a folk singer Bob Willis was named after, anyway?)

If you're a cricketer, you need more tattoos than the average sportsman because you need to overcompensate to quell people's suspicions that cricket isn't all that cool. Our Baz has taken this task seriously. As seriously as he takes his gum-chewing on the field - in which effort he comes second only to the great Vivian Richards in the all-time rankings.

It helps that he's from New Zealand, whose cricket team have a bit of a bad-boy thing going, with their black uniforms, stubbly sullenness, excessive drinking (well, one of them anyway), and tradition of vicious dibbly-dobbly bowling.

Baz isn't from the weedy David Beckham school, and so wouldn't dream of inking a loved one's name on in a foreign language. And really, what's the point of having tattoos all over you if they're going to say the name of some girl in Sanskrit or "Mom 4 Ever"? Tattoos are for jackboot-wearing tough guys, not weedy mama's boys.

Baz, knowing full well that mathematicians get the girls, has roman numbers inscribed on his arms. (This also serves as a tribute to the noble civilisation that gave birth to cricket by creating the vital concept of the centurion before the game itself existed.) Rumour has it these are his cap numbers, but really, who other than your class six teacher really knows what CXXVI XLII CCXXIV really stands for? Could be Aramaic for "I used to have tattoos in English but got bored", for all you know. Or cryptic strategy notes John Buchanan had inked on to him during the IPL. Or shopping list reminders: "Mustn't forget the dye this time. Roots looking awful."

Has anyone ever noticed the absence of articles in Ramiz Raja's commentary till now? He leaves out the "the's" and the "a's" in a sentence quite frequently asked Sreenath Janakiraman from India
Now this is serious. You mean to say that in our senseless hurry to find fault with other aspects of Ramiz Raja's commentary we have all overlooked the vital fact that he misses the odd article here and there? Irresponsible us. Bit like failing to find fault with the alignment of the hood ornament on a car that has plummeted down a cliff, burst into flames and then been trampled by a herd of wild elephants, wot wot. A curse on our households.

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