Given the day it is – to be clear for anyone living under a rock, the day New Zealand take on Australia in our first Cricket World Cup Final ever – it would be remiss of me to blog about anything but cricket. But, I have already blogged about how exciting this tournament has been so far here and how I became a cricket fan – and Black Caps fan through thick and thin – here. So what is there left to say? Well, how about combining my appreciation for good looking (and smart and articulate) members of the opposite sex with my cricket fandom? I can definitely do that. So here goes – my Sexiest Man Alive list – the cricket edition!
5. Tim Southee: I have to say, Tim almost lost his place on this list when he blew the biggest pile of snot out of his nose and onto the pitch during the quarter final. Not cool Tim! Cricket is the gentleman’s sport after all, and surely gentlemen can carry handkerchiefs? But, that aside, I can’t not include Tim. Not only is he a fantastic fast bowler, but he is also just super hot. I am not being very deep with this assessment, but he’s a tall drink of water. And sometimes, that’s what you need part way through a cricket match 😉
4. Brendon McCullum: Ah, Baz. Captain extraordinaire, he has been a steady hand at the helm throughout the World Cup, and through his entire captaincy to be honest. Sure, he gets black marks for having tattoos (I know, I am such a judgemental wee thing), but more than makes up for it by being a lovely guy who can articulate this thoughts well (rare in a kiwi sportsman these days). For evidence, click on his name to see a great open letter he penned to kiwis ahead of today’s match. Dare you not to well up a little bit reading that (oh, you didn’t? So I am just really soft? Ah, good to know…). And then there are those sparkling blue eyes. Baz, you are the man to lead us to victory. I don’t doubt it.
3. Daniel Vettori: I remember on Tuesday night as Dan Vettori wandered onto the pitch to – hopefully – help Grant Elliot get us into the final, feeling a sense of calm come over me. Why? Because Daniel is a seasoned veteran – an ‘old man’ as the media keeps calling him (much to my chagrin being a year older than him) – and knows how to handle high pressure situations. And handle it he did. Also loved his nonchalant little reaction after taking that amazing catch in the quarters. So combine that maturity with his slightly skinny/geeky/weedy look, and it’s catnip to me. As an aside, just discovered his middle name is Luca and my brother recently named their black lap puppy Luca – so our family is hard out #backingtheblackcaps (without even knowing it).
2. Nathan Astle: Just to be clear, I am talking the ‘in his hey day of being a Black Cap’ Nathan Astle as opposed to the ‘needed some cash so made some terrible heat pump ads with my mate Stephen’ Nathan Astle of today. In his day, Nathan was the man. Not only one of our most accomplished batsmen of all time, he was also a handy middle pacer, and performed consistently well in the field. Plus, those boyish good looks and his modest and media shy personality. Yes, the one time I enlisted my friends to make a banner for the cricket it was all about Nathan. And I have to say, despite how terrible those heat pump ads are, he has aged well 😉
1. Jonty Rhodes: I know, I could be hung, drawn and quartered for not having a kiwi at the top of this list, especially today. But to not have former South African fielder extraordinaire Jonty at the top of this list would be inconceivable. As a teenager, when my friends had pictures of boy bands and actors on their walls, I had pictures of Jonty. Why? Not only was he without doubt the greatest fielder cricket has ever seen (my favourite headline from that time was ‘two thirds of the earth is covered by water – the other third is covered by Jonty’). And it was almost true – he took the best catches and made the most unbelievable run outs I have ever seen. Add to that his incredibly upbeat attitude and consistently mischievous personality – and he really did bring something special to the game. Of course it didn’t hurt that he was super cute and looked like the kind of guy your mum would fall in love with if you ever took him home. So, as unpatriotic as it may be to not back black on this list on today of all days, I can’t lie. Jonty will always be the one.
But, that is really quite academic since, this afternoon, I could not be more firmly team New Zealand. Whether we win or lose, the Black Caps have performed – and behaved – incredibly well during this World Cup. Hopefully, as a result, next time the tournament rolls around Kiwis will give it the same degree of attention and hype as they do for it’s rugby equivalent. And hopefully we see heaps of future Black Caps enrolling in kiddie cricket, as they are inspired by the likes of Baz, Dan and Tim. But for today, GO THE BLACK CAPS! Do us proud.