Cricket’s fun, initially speaking – Guest Column by Kersi Meher-Homji
Kersi Meher-Homji is fascinated by cricketers’ meaningful initials
Anindya Dutta’s column The A to Z of the Australian attack… in yesterday’s The Roar is the inspiration behind this story. It involved Australian spinners Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa (A to Z).
It made me rummage through many books to find other apt initials. And below are my quirky findings.
Did the parents of former New Zealand wicket-keeper WK (Warren Kenneth) Lees have a premonition that their son would one day keep wickets for his country in 21 Tests?
Warren (WK) Lees – born to be a wicketkeeper
By the same token, the parents of Douglas Robert Jardine, Dayle Robert Hadlee, Geoff Philip Howarth and Malcolm D Marshall must have been disappointed. They probably wanted a Doctor in the house; DRJardine, DR Hadlee, GP Howarth and Marshall MD.
DR Jardine probably wounded more souls than he healed
But instead of syringes and stethoscopes they ended up with gloves, pads and a pill (ball) too large to swallow! Anyway, DR initials can explain Jardine’s clinical case histories of famous batsmen’s malaise and morbidity!
BAG (Bruce Alexander Grenfell) Murray snared catches 21 catches for New Zealand and A (Andy) Flower blossomed for Zimbabwe in 63 Tests.
RU Serious played minor cricket for an English county. I can imagine a lively dialogue between Ian (IM) Chappell and RU Serious:
Chappell: “Hi, IM Chappell.”
Serious (introducing himself): “RU Serious.”
An annoyed Chappell: “What do you mean. Of course, I’m serious.”
One of the best wicket-keepers in the history of cricket was England’s Les Ethelbert George Ames. Thus his initials were LEG and on the field his legs were always padded – behind or in front of wickets.
Les Ames whose ‘LEG’ was always padded
Another English wicket-keeper also had meaningful initials! Ever wondered why Alan Knott did his on-field stretching and gymnastics? His initials are Alan Philip Eric, APE for short. No racism intended!
Stodgy English batsman Douglas had four initials JWHT (John William Henry Tyler). He is remembered as Johnny Won’t Hit Today.
JWHT Douglas hit more when he was Boxing than Batting
Now from meaningful to lengthy initials:
Sri Lankan cricketers are known for their lengthy initials. In Test cricket, UWMBCA (Uda Walawee Mahim Bandaralage Chanaka Asanga) Welegedera perhaps holds a record in having most initials.
But at first-class level, this “record” pales into insignificance. A Sri Lankan cricketer Amunugama has 10 initials, ARRAPWRRKB, according to Wisden 2004. Here is the full name of our quirky record-holder: Amunugama Rajapakse Rajakaruna Abeykoon Panditha Wasalamudiyanse Ralahamilage Ranjith Krishantha Bandara.
Friends and scorers called him Ranjith. In 1990-91, Wisden reported him taking 12 for 91 for Tamil Union v. Sebastianites. But then he had only three initials. Every year he seemed to add an initial. Not that the weight of initials blunted his off-spin. Ranjith represented Kurunegala Youth at FTZ Sports Complex, Katunayake in Sri Lanka on 14 and 15 February 2003 and captured 4 for 39 and 4 for 34 against Antonians as his team won by an innings.
Second on the list of most initials on the first-class scene is – you guessed it – also a Sri Lankan, AKTDGLAS deSilva, only eight initials!
Learned readers of Cricket Writer are welcome to add to my list.