Magnifique or Sacre Bleu? Prince Philip leads our Euro XI

The below first appeared on the http://www.thefulltoss.com in June 2013.

Following England’s humiliation at the Eurovision Sing Song, we’re quickly becoming a right-wing lot here at TFT HQ (especially that Maxie Allen). Consequently, we do not believe either Britain or Ireland’s long term future lies in the EU. When UKIP and Nigel Farage inevitably win the next general election, Britain’s exit from the EUSSR will shortly follow. This will finally prevent the European Commissar for Cricket from regulating the number of fielders we are allowed on the leg side.

However, what would this mean for the future of European cricket? If it ends the continent’s association with a game we invented simply to bamboozle The Frogs, at least the following legacy would be left ….

Here’s our greatest ever EU XI (according to us):

Paul Terry (Germany)

Paul Terry was born in Osnabruck, Germany, in 1959 and was given the rather unfortunate first name: Vivian. It is uncertain whether this first name was a contributing factor in his awful Test Batting average, which was a Chris Martin-esque 5.33. It’s our view that that feared West Indian bowling attack of the 1980s was probably more of a factor, particularly given the broken arm Terry sustained from a rising Winston Davis delivery. Terry retired hurt, but bravely returned to the crease late in the innings to enable Allan Lamb to score the two additional runs needed for his century. Paul Terry scored more than 16,000 runs in First-class cricket, mostly for Hampshire.

Michael Di Venuto (Italy)

Lolstralya’s new Batting coach is of Italian descent, and an Italian passport holder. Indeed, it was this Italian passport which enabled him to play county cricket for Durham without being classed as an overseas player. He has played for both Italy and Australia (in ODIs). Di Venuto was prolific at first class level, scoring more than 24,000 runs at 46.43. A better opener than Rogers or Hughes, Di Venuto is one of many Australian bats unlucky not to have been born a few years later.

CB Fry (Germany)

Charles Burgess Fry was one of those individuals you really disliked at school: brilliant at cricket, football (he played for Southampton and England), athletics (he equalled the world record for the long jump), and indeed everything else he turned his hand to! There is a famous story about Fry being offered the throne of Albania at a meeting of the League of Nations in 1920, however this seems to have been practical joke on the part of Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji (a Sussex cricketer and at the time India’s delegate to the League).

In any event, as the Europhiles amongst you will be quick to point out, Albania is not part of the European superstate, and so Fry could not qualify for this XI via that route. Instead, due to his Nazi sympathies (and my being very short of batsmen!), he qualifies for Germany. In 1934, as reported in his 1939 autobiography, he visited Germany with the idea of forging stronger links between the Boy Scouts and the Hitler Youth. Fry met Hitler and greeted him with a Nazi salute.  He also tried to persuade “von” Ribbentrop that Nazi Germany should take up cricket to Test level. Regardless of his politics, Fry was a fine cricketer, averaging over 50 at First-class level.  He played for, and captained England. He is related to Stephen Fry, according to television show QI.

Ryan Ten Doeschate (Netherlands)

On discovering that he needed a 2 week break from county cricket to recover from the rigours of the IPL’s comedy cricket, we debated dropping Ten Doeschate from this XI. However, we are very light on batting and the South African of Dutch ancestry somehow manages an average of 67 in ODIs (from 33 matches). Holland must play Australia a lot.

Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark
Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark

HRH Prince Philip, captain (Greece/Denmark)

Born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on the island of Corfu, Cheam educated Prince Philip was (and perhaps still is?) a keen sportsman and dashing middle order bat. A useful medium pacer, he once managed figures of 9-0-25-1 against a Hampshire XI, footage of which is available here. Given his strong opinions and famous wit, TFT suspect the Prince Consort would also make a first-rate sledger!

Bruce French, wkt (France)

Given his surname, TFT are confident Bruce French has Gallic ancestry. Probably Huguenot, but possibly dating back to an invasion by William the Bar Steward;  we’ve not thoroughly researched this one however, so please do not quote us on it. French was a fine wicketkeeper, who would have played many times for England had it not been for the great Jack Russell. He coaches Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper.

Moises Henriques (Portugal)

Funchal born Moises Constantino Henriques, the greatest Portugese cricketer of all time, plays for Australia. His father, a professional footballer, moved Down Under when Moises was one. An allrounder, Henriques averages an impressive 30.66 with the bat and 28.33 with the ball in First-class cricket. Trevor Bayliss says he is as good as Mark Waugh. Trevor Bayliss is wrong.

Ashey Giles (Spain)

Always an ambitious man, the full extent of the Warwickshire tweaker’s aspirations were revealed in 2004 when his county issued mugs detailing Ashley Giles’ claim to the thrown (sic) of Spain. When the coup d’état failed, El Gilo claimed it was a misprint – apparently the mugs should have read “King Of Spin”. Neither TFT, or Juan Carlos I of Spain, believed him.

Dirk Nannes (Netherlands)

A superb skier, who narrowly missed out on selection for Australia’s Winter Olympic squad, Nannes describes himself as an “accidental cricketer”. A genuinely quick left arm pace bowler, he made his first class debut at 29 in 2005, picking up 93 wickets at 25 in less than three years of first class cricket. After impressing for The Netherlands in Twenty20 cricket (Nannes has Dutch parents and carries a Dutch passport) he was picked for Australia and played both Twenty20s and an ODI.

Ole Mortensen (Denmark)

I remember seeing Mortensen bowl for Derbyshire against my beloved Worcestershire in the early 90s, and would like to stress that he was a lot better than that Dane who played for England: Amjad Khan. A first class bowling average of 23 (compared to Khan’s 31) would seem to back this up. I recall “Stan” Mortensen being a quick who managed that strange combination of tirelessness and visible exhaustion that Angus Fraser was famous for. I’d be interested in any Derbyshire fans’ memories of him?

Jon Traicos (Greece)

Athanasios John Traicos was born in Egypt, in the superbly named Zagazig. However, as his first name suggests, he is of Greek decent, his father having been born in Lemnos, Greece.  He was raised in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and learned his cricket there. While still a student at the University of Natal, Traicos was selected for South Africa, playing three Tests before South Africa were banned from international cricket. Traicos represented Zimbabwe at the 1983 World Cup, and when Zimbabwe were granted Test status in 1992, was selected for that country’s inaugural match. This appearance came a record 22 years and 222 days after his previous Test appearance. John Traicos was an Off spin bowler with a bowling average of 34.6 in First-class cricket. His best Test bowling figures were 5/86.

Have we missed anyone out? All suggestions welcome.

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