What is it about cricket and nicknames? I was honoured to be invited to play with the Johnny Mullagh XI at the recent Willowfest Cricket Carnival in Mildura but as an invited player I didn’t escape the power dynamics of being ‘named’…
1. Custard: I have always liked to think it’s because of the ‘cus’ at the end of Marcus but really it has more to do with my throwing arm… or lack thereof…
2. Curdle: Apparently this is what happens to Custard when its been in the sun too long! 5 games of cricket in 4 days in 35 degree heat and my team mates could tell I was wilting!
3. Colonel : I’m not sure about this one. Perhaps a KFC reference as they are a major sponsor of Victorian Bushrangers (see next nickname below). Or was it because I was the white guy from down South?
4. Cricket Victoria/ CV: It’s not news that some of the Johnny Mullagh XI have had a few differences of opinion with the cricket authorities over the years. Given my current contract with Cricket Victoria this one was heard as an ironic jeer whenever I did something ordinary…like a mis-field… ‘Good pickup CV!”
5. Digger: This was by far the most embarrassing! In the first game we were playing on a pitch that was sub-standard. I hit one short, but wide of mid wicket and took off for a quick single but was turned back by the non-striker. Attempting to get back into my ground my spikes got stuck in a hole just centimetres outside my crease. I was aware of mid wicket approaching the ball out of the corner of my eye but, as he was a long way away, instead of just dropping my bat inside the crease, I once again attempted to place my foot behind the line in front of me. Once again my spikes got stuck in the same hole. Realising I was stuck I went to place my bat down behind the crease. Unfortunately I was unaware that mid wicket had ambitiously launched a full blown kick at the ball and had managed to “Bend one like Beckham” from outside the box. The ball cannoned into the stumps from nowhere the moment before I touched my bat inside the crease… much to the joy of the fielding side who celebrated like they he just scored at Wembley! Shirt over the head and everything. Walking off I was a mix of perplexed, embarrassed and angry. My less than sensitive team mates called me ‘Digger’ for the rest of the tournament… because I never made it out of the trench!