All the world's cricketers walked into a bar. The LOLs, the chatter, and the occasional mini-brawls, they were endless. And the news cycle was never the same again! Welcome to ESPNcricinfo's Social Buzz, your go-to destination for all the bantz, the jousts, and little bit of eavesdropping from the social media playground and beyond.
Over the summer, David Warner and Steven Smith have copped a lot of stick from England crowds for their part in last year's ball-tampering scandal. While Smith has mostly won them over with his incandescent batting, Warner's batting woes - six single-figure scores in seven innings - have given fans more material to work with. At Old Trafford, he found a way to get the crowd on his side. When the Australian players were walking down the stairs to take the field after a session break, a spectator yelled out, "You f*****g cheat" to Warner, who responded by turning around, raising two thumbs, and shouting "Wooo!" The crowd cheered and, at least for a brief while, he was villain no more.
Putting out rubbish bins to get to the Ashes
Twelve-year-old Max Waight was among the good number of Australian supporters watching Steven Smith pile up a double century at Old Trafford. But his story was a bit different to most.
Four years ago, Max said how he dreamed of travelling to England for the Ashes - so he was given the challenge of saving up for the trip of a lifetime, the target being $1500 which his dad, Damien, said they would match if he could do it.
How did he earn the money? For four years he has taken out his neighbours' rubbish bins for $1 per house.
"Some people paid $50 for the whole year and some put a dollar coin on the bin with sticky tape," Max explained to Channel 9. "I got help from Mum and Dad to remind me and it wasn't too hard as it only took about 20 minutes of my week."
This INCREDIBLE #Ashes story is a must-watch!— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) September 6, 2019
12-year-old Max Waight saved up 4 years worth of pocket money to go to the Ashes @_jamespattinson and @cricketaus had a big surprise for Max #9WWOS #Cricket pic.twitter.com/xny0LXX9lK
"He's done very well," said Damien Waight, "there were a few weeks when he wasn't very keen but we pushed him back out and four years later we are here!"
Such was Max's diligence that he exceeded the $1500 target and the whole family have made the trip to Old Trafford.
One morning Max got to travel to the ground in the Australian team coach and was presented with a signed shirt by James Pattinson.
The £55,000 beer
You know that feeling when you reckon that beer you've just bought was a touch over-priced?
Well, imagine realising you've been charged £55,000 for a bottle (which should have been £5.50) . That happened to Australian cricket writer (and beer editor) Peter Lalor at a Manchester hotel.
He documented the full story on Twitter…
See this beer? That is the most expensive beer in history.— Peter Lalor (@plalor) September 5, 2019
I paid $99,983.64 for it in the Malmaison Hotel, Manchester the other night.
"It's a good beer," Lalor posed. "The original version of it won a heap of awards, including the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain, but if you are thinking that no beer is worth the best part of $100,000, then I am inclined to agree with you."
The hotel has promised a refund.
Move over, Dravid. There's a new Wall in town
His 17-ball resistance at Headingley has earned England's bespectacled No.11 what took years of hard graft and thousands of Test runs from one of the world's most prolific No. 3 batsmen. Move over Rahul Dravid, Jack Leach, having helped keep the Ashes alive, is the new Wall, at least in the eyes of these fans at Old Trafford.
Spot the cricketer
Irfan Pathan went all #ThrowbackThursday on a Wednesday. The fast bowler posted a picture of India's Under-19 team in 2003 and we count at least seven currently active cricketers in the snap - thanks, of course, to one of em making a retirement U-turn all the while saying that it definitely was not a retirement U-turn. How many have you got?
PS: If you're keen on more baby-faced cricketers, check out this The Cricket Monthly gallery.
Jimmy Neesham bags a pair… of earphones
Well, among the many misfortunes that seem to befall the nice guys of NZ, the Neesh, who's in the Caribbean for the CPL, accidentally turned his AirPods into fish food while getting off a boat yesterday, and was understandably crushed.
Haha you know what's funny is when you jump off a boat with your backpack on and feel something slip out then turn around to see your AirPods hit the water under the jetty and sink ha ha ha ha ha fuck my life— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) September 2, 2019
But this tale of tragedy and loss had the kind of happy ending only seen in Hallmark movies: when Neesh turned up for training the next morning for Trinbago Knight Riders, they had this surprise waiting for him.
Let it never be said that nice things don't happen to nice guys. Maybe next time they could drop the World Cup in there. Too soon?
If you want to win at Old Trafford, whom do you ask?
Australia might have felt hard done by after that loss in Headingley, and the return of Steve Waugh back into the dressing room can only be a major boost as they look to win an Ashes series for the first time on English soil since 2001. But where are Australia's coaching staff and mentors to go look for inspiration themselves? Since they are playing at Old Trafford this week, there was plenty of it was on offer from one of the greatest football managers in history.
Waugh, though, thought he'd met a certain "Allan" Ferguson, before correcting his Instagram post. That's worth a dose of Sir Alex's fabled hairdryer treatment, Steve. Not many teams came to Old Trafford fancying themselves to beat the home side, but not many had Ferguson's counsel either.
What happened to hotel intercoms and direct messages, Ashwin?
Are you up jinx?? Coffee??— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) September 3, 2019
We know we are living in 2019, the world has gone upside down and things don't always happen exactly they should. But one thing people - not least international cricketers - aren't short on are modes of communication. And so when Ajinkya Rahane put up an obligatory post to mark the end of a productive Test series, R Ashwin was among those lurking in the replies, asking his team-mate and fellow hotel resident if he wanted to join him for coffee. They went to have a coffee together, and exchanged emoji-filled posts when it could all have been done with a couple of direct messages on their platform of choice.
It wasn't the last we saw of Ashwin for the day as he posted live updates from his badminton game with Cheteshwar Pujara, calling him out for clever editing. You can't blame Ashwin, though. As the team's frontline spinner with over 300 Test wickets, team combinations and conditions have had him warm the bench over the past few weeks. Some way to keep yourself occupied, we'll grant him that!
Missed all the chatter last week? Catch up on it here