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Girl trouble

Cricketers don't get the chicks - or not the glamorous ones at least. Sad but true

Andrew Fernando

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Jessica Taylor and Kevin Pietersen at the launch of Howzart, London, July 10, 2006
Kev and Jess: not the new Becks and Posh, alas © Getty Images
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It's always annoyed me that cricket is somehow not as glamorous as other sports. Football (both the American and the proper variety), tennis, basketball, motorsport and athletics all seem to amass more international media attention than our humble old "gentleman's game". It's difficult to discover the reason for this.

There are more people worldwide who watch cricket over, say, basketball. But how many Hollywood hits have starred the ever-electrifying Rahul Dravid? None. Michael Jordan, on the other hand, has not only had Space Jam but a whole volley of other equally terrible attempts at being a bonafide thespian. This ageless conundrum of why cricket is so quick to shy away from the limelight needs to be solved.

Perhaps it's because cricketers themselves don't do much to enhance their star factor. Case in point: wives (and girlfriends). Where are cricket's celebrity glamour couples? I suppose Kevin Pietersen is dating that popstar-who's-in-that-band-that-had-one-good-song-eight-years-ago. Hardly Posh Spice, though, is she? Graeme Smith goes out with some van der Westhuizen model whom no one outside of South Africa has heard of. Nice. Good going, Graeme! And Michael Clarke's fiancée, Lara Bingle (that girl from the Aussie tourism ads), seems to be a decent contender until you realise that it would be entirely tiresome to have her ringing you incessantly on a night out with the lads, simply to ask, "So where the bloody hell are ya?"

Why exactly is it that cricketers don't land themselves the ultra-glamorous ladies? Maybe it's an attitude thing. British playwright Harold Pinter once claimed, "Cricket is the greatest thing God ever created - certainly better than sex." Perhaps this sort of mindset is the problem. Cricketers spend too much time working on their game and not enough working on their game. Instead of hitting the celebrity social scene in the hopes of procuring a trophy wife, they are probably hard at work in their attempts to acquire actual trophies.

Take the recent Indian sex dossier for example. The compilers go into such incredible depth on all things sex, labouring the most obvious of points, that one has to wonder whether they were addressing a group of adult men or a sex-ed class from the Dark Ages. Are the Indian players really so out of touch with their libidinal functions that they have to be told the advantages of "going solo"?

Cricketers' lack of form in courting wealthy starlets is particularly confounding when you consider that many former and current players possess the skills that are necessary to succeed in the modern dating game. The ICC might consider it worthwhile to create a scheduling window for international cricketers to attend a Dating Boot Camp, where they would be taught by the more experienced among them about how to get the girl.

Shane Warne could be Officer in Charge of Textual Relations, sharing valuable expertise on how to best utilise various modern technologies. He could even throw in a lesson on giving unattractive girls the incorrect phone number, "Slipping 'em the wrong'un". Twinkletoes Ramprakash would be Choreographer in-Chief: women love a man who can dance. Shoaib Akhtar could guide his students through the more hands-on, practical aspects of relationships. No explanation needed there. And if Shoaib's moves aren't so warmly received, Sreesanth could certainly tutor cricketers on how to take a good slapping. Although whether he'd teach them how take it like a man is less certain.

Something has to be done glam up cricket's image. Our glorious sport deserves more star quality. The time has come for cricketers to spend less time on those overused cricket pitches and more time in women's magazines. I for one could do without yet another cover story about Mrs Beckham's new pillowcase stuffing or which tennis player's toddler was caught picking her nose on camera

Andrew Fernando is a student at Auckland University

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