There have been some strange teams in the history of cricket. In 1867 a team of one-legged cricketers played a team of one-armed cricketers (the match was drawn), and in 1892 a team of married men played a team of single men (the single men won). But cricket fans can always think of new teams to pick. People have even picked teams of philosophers and literary figures. The current England one-day opening bats are Cook and Mustard. What, then, could be more natural for a cricket fan than to pick a team of food-related cricketers?
But what exactly counts as food-related? Norm suggested Graeme Fowler as a candidate for selection. No doubt fowlers play a role in providing food, but they are, it seems to me, quite a long way from the dining table (about as far as millers). I have to include Cook since he is half of the inspiration for picking the team, but otherwise I propose to limit myself to items of food and drink. Here are the results of my deliberations.
Alastair Cook. A good opening bat, and what is food without a cook?
Phil Mustard. As far as I am aware, the only edible wicketkeeper. Gilchrist, Knott, Oldfield, and Evans are all quite useless from this point of view.
Graeme Pollock. Possibly the best left-handed batsman ever, and apparently Pollock is 'consumed as an economic and versatile alternative to cod and haddock in the West Country'. So we have a fish course.
Phil Mead. A good left-handed bat, who might have played more Tests, and something to drink. (Thanks to my son for this one.)
Alan Lamb. A good middle-order bat and one of three meat options.
Clive Rice. A fine all-rounder who supplies some carbohydrates.
Shaun Pollock. A fine all-rounder and more fish.
Peter Pollock. An excellent opening bowler and even more fish.
Rodney Hogg. A good opening bowler, who gives us a choice of meat. (Thanks to Norm.)
Graham Onions. A useful medium-fast bowler, who ensures that we have one vegetable.
Joe Partridge. A useful fast-medium bowler who provides us with some game.
12th man - Cec Pepper. A 'rumbustious' all-rounder and some extra seasoning.
There we have it. Not a bad team, with some useful batting and lots of good quick bowling, but a shortage of spin bowling and vegetables. I hope none of them is out for a duck! (Bob Borsley)
[Postcript from the editor. Here are a few players who failed to make Bob's team: George Bean, Cecil Parkin and Fred Root (for when you're really hungry); and, assisting in the dressing room, Mervyn Kitchen, Michael Kettle and Dominic Cork. - NG.]