Cricketer's Diary: Cheers from booze

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The Independent Online
BOOZE and cricket go together like a horse and carriage. Many a fast bowler would have heeded the ethic 'a pint a day keeps the doctor away' and a few batsmen too. And despite the indulgence of a number of players in obscure concoctions, beer is still the favourite. So it is entirely suitable that the England team are sponsored by Tetley bitter (as are Yorkshire) while the varied products of Allied Breweries support four other counties. Durham kit is emblazoned with the luminous blue star of Newcastle Breweries, Sussex carry the Merrydown Cider logo while Middlesex have taken the healthy option, stoking up on sponsored Lucozade before the game.

But there is a difference between what individuals really want to drink, and products they are required to hold up for the cameras. Here's a checklist of the liquid that various leading players might choose if they were given a last wish:

Mike Gatting - Kahlua and milk.

Courtney Walsh - coke.

Jack Russell - pot of tea.

Wayne Larkins - pint of hand- drawn Tetley's.

Robin Smith - pint of any lager.

Allan Lamb - champagne.

Dean Jones - banana daiquiri.

Ian Botham - 1961 Chateau- Lafite.

Geoff Cook - malt whisky and ice.

Bill Athey - strawberry milk- shake.

IT has been a topsy-turvy few weeks for Bobby Parks. Out of the Hampshire side for most of the season enabling him to concentrate on the various benefit year events, he must have pondered retiring with a tidy sum but six catches short of Hampshire's all- time wicketkeeping record held by Neil McCorkell. Adrian Aymes was the man in possession behind the timbers and wicketkeepers are rarely dropped. But an injury to Aymes let in Parks and not only has he now clinched the record but is also favourite to appear for his county in the Benson and Hedges final on Saturday. More importantly he has maintained the Parks clan's extraordinary record. There have been only five years since the First World War that one of the family has not taken part in first- class cricket.

Carl Hooper caught Parks bowled Marshall 0 will obviously be Hampshire's most sought-after scoreline, as the two West Indians appear in their first English one- day final. And despite having just claimed his 1,500th first-class victim, Marshall is still able to hone his game. He has straightened his approach to the wicket, abandoning that familiar curve and altered his grip on the ball keeping his right thumb out of the way rather than traditionally on the seam. His outswing has returned and his desire is maintained.

MARSHALL is one of the most successful overseas signings ever, whereas Surrey's South African pace-bowler Rudi Bryson's County Championship figures so far read five wickets for 581 runs. County coach Geoff Arnold spent some time in the Republic searching for a substitute for Waqar Younis, and came up with Bryson, assuming he had never played in England before. Until he was informed by Fred Titmus that Bryson had been on trial in the Northamptonshire second team last year. His figures - 30-1-109-1.

IT ALL happens in Redcar. The West Indian, Clayton Lambert, has already launched 1,300 runs in a dozen league outings for the town that boasts the oldest lifeboat in the world. And the club forbids supporters with dogs entry unless they bring a pooper-scooper. This is much to the chagrin of Durham's nomadic supporter Tony Day, nicknamed Jesus because of his wispy beard, who actually slept by the river at one away match because there were no lodgings. Day has followed north-eastern cricket for at least 30 years but will not be returning to Redcar with his hounds.

Simon Hughes, the Durham bowler, composed his column during an over from Andy Babington at Stockton yesterday.