Ashes 2015 - Outside Edge: David Warner’s moustache lacks dashing look of great tradition

Diary of a cricket obsessive

Click to follow
The Independent Online

People in the public eye occasionally do things which make you wonder if they’re for real or simply responding to a dare.

Ed Miliband’s electoral gravestone springs to mind. Take That giving a lead vocal to the now-departed Jason Orange is another example.

David Warner’s moustache falls into the same category: one of the great grotesqueries of our age, it is the product either of resolute Aussie bravado or of an unbelievably self-deprecating form of humour.

Australian cricketers in days past were the greatest of all standard-bearers for the ’tache. A long line of top players crafted their facial art under the light of the Southern Cross and, each in their own way, proved a hairy top lip can, against all the odds, be a thing of beauty. Ian Chappell, Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh, Allan Border, David Boon and the rest could have been the cast of a 1970s cop show, let alone a cricketing line-up.

Merv Hughes’ moustache was so important to his image, and perhaps to the team’s performance, that it was once insured for more than £200,000. Among the current crop of Aussie bruisers, Mitchell Johnson proves that it is still possible to rock the Village People look with meaning.

And then there’s Warner. Two years ago he punched Joe Root because he thought the Englishman’s fake beard was a means of poking fun at Hashim Amla, which suggests he takes the matter of facial locks rather seriously. And yet, the brutal truth is that since sprouting his own ’tache, Warner looks like a strange cross between Keith Lemon of Celebrity Juice fame and Grange Hill’s Mr Bronson. It is, perhaps, a daring style but one that ought to leave any reasonable person bristling.

Stokes provides an all-round reminder of 2005 era Flintoff

In the dark days of the 1990s English cricket spent much of its time desperately casting around for an individual who would give the team balance: an all-rounder to replace the seemingly irreplaceable Ian Botham.

Any number of candidates had their moment in the sun. Chris Lewis, David Capel, Dermot Reeve, Ronnie Irani, Craig White: the list is almost endless and generally ignored the point that the obvious answer to a balanced team was Alec Stewart.

It wasn’t until the golden years of Andrew Flintoff that England had a true batting and bowling all-rounder again. Thankfully, the search for the next man to fill the classical all-rounder boots may not take as long, because if recent performances are anything to go by, Ben Stokes can do the business.

The bowling may have a little way to go, but Stokes’ half-century in Cardiff on Wednesday was most definitely reminiscent of Flintoff in his pomp. Coming down the wicket to hit Nathan Lyon over the top forced the off-spinner to bowl shorter, resulting in a back-foot punch through extra cover for four. In that moment, it was easy to imagine it was 2005 all over again. Here’s hoping. 

Twitter: @willjgore