Middle & Leg: Geoff's lei, Peter's suit & Sachin's resumé

From Harry: The Chris Harris Story (published 1999)
From Harry: The Chris Harris Story (published 1999)

Gees I love a bit of retro Mastermind - and the upcoming cricket nuffie contestant who is going to be peppered with Mr Unobtrusive Peter Williams' questions about "Cricket World Cups from 1992 onwards".

In Greg Bruce's profile of Williams, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the smorgasbord of sartorial efforts the consummate professional has donned over the years, and specifically his inexplicable penchant for a brown and tan suit/shirt/tie combo. He should bring them back on Sunday nights.

But what got my masterless-mind going was the caption which referred to "Peter on The Story of NZ Cricket Team (Men In White) - this sounds like a bloody important documentary that needs to be unearthed and rediscovered.

Obscure cricket-related Mastermind fact: Hamish McDouall won Mastermind 1990 (Steve Braunias' searing review of it is pants-wettingly unforgettable: "The theme music on the opening credits features an attack of the killer synths and an ominous drum sound that signals the end of the world...") - and he also penned Chris Cairns' 2002 biography, entitled Chris Cairns.


I was a bit freaked out when I saw the Trade Me listing for Chris Harris's Black Cap - a unique, money-shouldn't-be-able-to-buy-until-you're-dead item, I was momentarily excited then just felt sad and wondered what the hell had gone on here. It conjured up memories of Scribe's milestone music memorabilia being sold by a pawnbroker via the online marketplace back in 2011.

But in Harry's case it all worked out in the end - except presumably for the pawnbroker seller - as the cap was swiftly removed from sale, and returned to him after it emerged that it been flogged from his home in a burglary a decade ago. Order restored and now he can get on with his infertility awareness efforts with his pango kiapa safe and sound.

In other pawnbroker cricket news, check out this bloke wandering into the pawn shop in Australia, with none other than a signed Don Bradman bat wrapped in a towel. He gets it valued and then tries to sell it.


Nice to see the lords of Lord's absolutely fizzing at the bung about the arrival of a very stern, quasi-hacked off Brendon Barrie McCullum in June. Human headline Baz will also be delivering the 2016 edition of the fantastic Lord Cowdrey of Tonbridge Lecture on 6 June - and it will be streamed live via Lord's YouTube channel.

Martin Crowe is the only other Kiwi to have done this gig, back in 2006 . "It is exactly 23 years today since I experienced that amazing feeling of scoring my first-ever 100 for my country - right here at Lord's, on July 11th, 1983," he began. "I remember been inspired by a NZ tennis player, Chris Lewis, who just days before had reached the Men's singles final at Wimbledon..."


This from Rico: "Hey team, just looking that the ICC world ranking and it has come to my attention we are on top of the world as the overall best-performing team. Well, first equal. Taking the total number of the positions the team is ranked in each form our aggregate is 8 (T20, #1; ODI, #2; Test #5). Unfortunately both India and Australia have a total of 8 as well. Anyway, we are now the third axis of evil in the cricketing world, taking the place of England."


"I started playing season ball cricket at the age of 11 yrs" is the opening line of Sachin Tendulkar's 28-year-old cricketing CV, published on the The Ring Side View .

Then aged 15, it's a gem of a document to pore over with details of fifties and centuries and that lazy 664-run partnership with "my school teammate Mr. Vinod Kambli" - Tendulkar made 326* that day, Kambli 349*.


PEDANT'S CORNER (and to be clear I don't mind a good handful of pedantry): "Regarding your 22 April edition of Middle and Leg, the Lazer bat referred to is an old South African brand. It is not a Gray Nicolls - though they did do a model called the Lazer, the bat pictured is not one. That is all. I enjoyed reading your newsletter. Kind regards, Owen."

Cheers Owen. It's weird that it is possibly South Africa's most famous cricket bat, and unfortunately it's one wielded by a murderous Paralympian and not an elegant left-hander or top order colossus.


READ: German cricket is being boosted by an influx of cricket-mad immigrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan: "They had been offered volleyball or football, but most just want to play cricket."

KUDOS: To all the folks involved in selling a filling from the well-used mouth of former legspinner Mark Richardson. A Trade Me legend bought it off the Beige Brigade on Tuesday night for a very tidy $565, with every cent heading to the amazing team at IHC New Zealand. Best comment: "At least the filling is more mercurial than his run rate..."

WATCH: Hawk-Eye technology could be coming to your crappy local club cricket or Last Man Stands team - the democratisation comes as Hawk-Eye releases a coin-sized sensor that is attached to the bat, and linked to a phone app in the umpire's hand. "More and more batsmen try and get away with not walking. But we experimented in the nets and found that even the smallest edge is detected."

READ: Jeetan Patel on his life and times - this dichotomy stood out: Q: What one piece of advice would you give to a young spinner? "Practise, practise, practise." Q: Who is the laziest trainer? "Easy one - me."

WATCH: Shane Watson on guitar with AB de Villers' wife banging out a bit of Titanium on stage in India? Warning: it's not quite David Guetta and Sia but it's not as terrible as it looks in print either.

Middle & Leg is a cricket newsletter for New Zealand cricket fans who like a dose of optimism and a tablespoon of take the piss with their weekly cricket informational. It is tapped out by Paul Ford, co-founder of the Beige Brigade, and one-seventh of The Alternative Commentary Collective . You can email him here beigehq@beigebrigade.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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