Great Cricket Drinking Episodes: 2013 round-up

For some reason, the internet at large has been very taken by our re-tellings of the escapades of international cricketers when it comes to booze. For instance, if you Google ‘David Boon’, we come up on the first page. Now, cricketers and alcohol have been back in the news quite a bit recently, so we thought we’d give you a brief update on all things leather, willow and ethanol:

1. David Warner assaults man wearing beard. If you’ve missed this, you’re not really paying attention now, are you? The nation’s current favourite pantomime villain was deported (well, not really, not by the border agency or anything) for assault. Not to Australia, like in the old days, but to Zimbabwe, to spend a few weeks rotting on the ‘A’ tour. What he found in southern Africa was a land of unbridled riches, furnished as it was with a pitch so flat it could probably be used for an attempt on the land speed record. However, we’re more interested in the lead-up to Warner’s banishment.
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Great Cricket Drinking Episodes – No. 3: The Ashes 2005

So far in our series on cricket’s great boozing incidents, we’ve seen Ian Botham and chums have a massive Ashes piss-up and David Boon enjoy a relaxing flight to the UK.

The man, the legend…

With the rise of sports nutritionists and central contracts, we’ve seen a slight thinning out of cricketers who were also notable pissants. Then along came a big lad from Preston (who was genuinely pretty large at the start of his career). We’re not talking about Fredalo here (although we could do an entire article on that), nor the time when Mr Flintoff turned up to training drunk – we’re going back to the piss-up which began it all for Fred – the Ashes in 2005.

It was quite understandable that they should want to celebrate – after all, if we’d just won one of the greatest prizes in sport after 18 years of trying and dismally failing, during which time it was a notable achievement to have won a single match in a series, we’d probably have a few beers as well. However, enter Freddie Flintoff, Ashes hero, destroyer of Antipodean dreams, a man who in days of animal skins and spiked clubs would have walked around wearing a necklace made of the teeth of his conquered enemies, and possibly a skull-cap made of Adam Gilchrist’s scalp. These were the days when (for our younger readership) Freddie was at the peak of his powers, before injury, depression and an apparent addiction to Red Bull took their toll.
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Great cricket drinking episodes, No 2 – David Boon smashes 52 not out in a session

A fine example to all aspiring binge drinkers.

I am indebted to Peter Lalor’s article in The Weekend Australian Magazine December 20-21, 2003, which was the main source of information for this post. It’s well worth a read.

You knew, dear reader, that it wouldn’t be too long into a series of articles on drinking in sport before an Australian popped up. This, after all, is the country that felt the need to limit motor-racing spectators at the Bathurst 1000 to a paltry 24 cans of full strength beer per person per day (36 for lower strength stuff). Maybe I’m just a lightweight, but I’d be pretty well potted after less than half of that.

For those of you keeping score at home, let’s just be clear. One ‘beer’ in the context of all that is about to follow is the Australian standard ‘tinny’ or ‘stubby’ of 375ml, rather than the rather larger 500ml cans we get here. Each one is around 2/3 of a pint.
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Great cricket drinking episodes, No. 1 – Headingley 1981

When searching around for a new topic for posts for this humble blog, we remembered the long association of cricket and alcohol. Being more sedentary than many sports, cricket has allowed many of its top players over the years to indulge heavily in the ‘sauce’, some more successfully than others. Perhaps only darts amongst the televised sporting panoply has a greater reputation for boozing, although the England rugby team have made a brave recent attempt to sneak onto the radar (dwarf tossing and all). So, in that spirit (no pun intended), we thought we’d look at some of the great moments in cricketing imbibing.
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