Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Nightmares In Baggy Green

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One of the few indisputable facts of this summer’s Ashes is that the salty sweat stains on Ricky Ponting’s cap are a bit rank. One might suggest that he should think about flinging it into the dustbin – you can probably get nice shiny new one on ebay – but of course we all know that he would never do that. And it’s not because he no longer needs to hide his bald patch.

The baggy green has come to be the sartorial representation of the honour that is bestowed on any cricketer playing for Australia. The symbol of a long tradition that should be cherished and nurtured and caressed like a beloved spaniel. Certainly never to be replaced.

In actuality the esteem that is held for the cap is a relatively new invention. Ian Chappell not only lost his first cap, he lost all of them. He owned jockstraps that he had more love for. Bill Ponsford wore his to protect his hair while whitewashing the ceiling, Bill Lawrie as a cover from bombardment from his pet pigeons, and Don Bradman used his when he ran out of toilet roll. Okay, that last one isn’t true.

Steve Waugh was the prophet of baggy green worship, seeing it as a tool to promote teamwork and venerating the cap as if it possessed some kind of supernatural properties. Maybe he and his brother Mark sought to emulate that other famous Australian family, the Twists, in that classic episode of Round The Twist, when Pete Twist gains magical powers from a tight pair of underpants.

Waugh’s cap became famously dilapidated, leading Neil Harvey to rant that it looked ‘bloody terrible’. Although in fairness to Waugh, Harvey almost certainly thinks that everything is ‘bloody terrible’.

I think I have to agree with the inveterate old bugger on this one. When I play for England, my cap will be blue and well-fitting. And if I tear it or it gets dirty, I’ll buy a new one.

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Written by harrisharrison

August 4, 2009 at 8:05 pm

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