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This, that and the other. Mostly the other
Subcontinent cricketers have long been considered the rock stars of the international game. Most Asian teams of the last decade seem to be burdened to the brim with a bevy of positively boisterous personalities, all vying for the rampant adulation of the masses.
There's the chronically hyperactive turban-wielding vortex that is Harbhajan. Then there's the Mick Jagger of the cricketing world: Sanath Jayasuriya. Slashing and pulling just as hard as in his heyday, but not having produced anything of note… well, for a while now. And of course there is Mr Akhtar, whose rock-star antics and enthusiasm for fine legs and attractive strokeplay have landed him an unrivalled place in the annals of groin-burning infamy. In addition to this there is Sreesanth, pelvic thruster extraordinaire; Lasith Malinga, lord of planet Slingon; and Boom Boom Afridi, the walking nuclear barrage with - and it cannot be mentioned enough - a head of hair thicker than a rugby league team after game day.
But it seems the days when players from the subcontinent claimed a monopoly on cricket stardom are numbered. There is a whole host of larger-than-life cricketers hailing from all over the place. Jesse Ryder, the Kiwi party boy, certainly knows how to throw his weight around both on and off the field. The England team should really give in to advertisers' demands and rename themselves "The Freddie and KP Show". And most recently, the Aussies have cunningly hired a popular hip-hop artist to pose as their back-up wicketkeeper - to appeal to a younger generation of cricket lovers, I can only assume. I am talking, of course, about one Mr Tim Paine. Or should that be multi-platinum selling, Grammy award-winning R&B star T-Pain?
On the surface, Tim Paine and T-Pain have very little in common. But upon further investigation it becomes clear that they are in fact the same person. Don't believe me? Let's look at the facts.
T-Pain and T Paine have names that are almost identical.
"But surely," I hear you say, "if the Aussies are really trying to pull the wool over our eyes by playing a hip-hop superstar as their No. 2 keeper, they would have chosen a name that is at least a little different from the original." That's true. But do Ponting and Co really strike you as people who have the intellectual capacity to pull off a convincing conspiracy? Didn't think so.
T-Pain rolls with a crew and is always attired in several pieces of bling. Every time I've seen T Paine, both he and his posse have been decked out in gold. Coincidence?
T-Pain is also known in the hip-hop community as "nappy boy". With that cherubic baby face most toddlers can only dream of… T Paine… nappies… you get it.
Still not convinced? Here's the smoking gun.
T-Pain is renowned for making hits by collaborating with other artists. T Paine is known for collaborating with other players to bring about dismissals. Perhaps the next Australian scorecard should read "Joe Bloggs b B Lee feat T Paine".
The similarities are far too numerous for this theory not to be true. It's hard to tell how the Australian authorities will react to this damning exposé. If you never hear from me again, it's probably because I have been sledged to death by a gaggle of Cricket Australia's hitmen (also known as Aussie domestic players who are competing for places in the national team - don't think I won't be looking out for you, Shaun Tait.)
I've done my part. It's up to you now. Spread the word. Don't believe the lies!
Andrew Fernando is a student at Auckland University and a well respected cricket conspiracy theorist who frowns on self-deprecating humour in Cricinfo bios
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