Just about my favourite cricket story features Lennie Pascoe, whom I watched as a young boy at the SCG and adored. Sputnik had the honour of shaking his hand last year at a cricket coaching clinic. I was too shy myself.
Anyway Lennie Pascoe was on the 1980 Centenary Test tour of England and in a game at Trent Bridge Pascoe let fly at Nottingham’s Roy Dexter, managing to hit him a couple of times. Pascoe was that sort of bowler.
But having been hit Dexter did not flinch. He held his ground and Pascoe moseyed up to him at the batting crease, leaned forward, caught his eye and whispered: “Top guts mate, top guts.”
Something about the ongoing England vs Australia 2010-2011 summer brought this moment of anti-sledge back to me as I watched the one dayer on Sunday. Something about the way England lost that game summoned up in me the same kind of admiration for this England cohort that Pascoe had for Dexter.
They can be ordinary but they play with top guts. Not neccessarily something that can always be said about the Australians this summer.