What does Lloyd Pope’s hair say about his leg-spin?

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Lloyd Pope took 8-35 to knock England out of the Under-19 World Cup and he’s done a bunch more eye-catching stuff since.

This is Lloyd Pope’s hair. You may also notice something hanging off the bottom of it. That thing is Lloyd Pope.

Lloyd Pope’s hair (ICC)

You may feel that a man’s hair cannot possibly say anything meaningful about his leg-spin. We are here to tell you otherwise.

Look at Stuart MacGill with his ‘ruffled-yet-effective understudy’ cut. Look at the 20-something Shane Warne and his attention-seeking frosted mop.

Look at Anil Kumble with a haircut you could set your watch by, or Imran Tahir with his ever-changing locks betraying his unquenchable lust for experimentation.

Look at BS Chandrasekhar and tell us that haircut didn’t say ‘watch out for the googly’.

And so to Lloyd Pope.

That is not hair that just happens. You don’t just inch your way towards that hair without being fully conscious of precisely what you’re doing.

Lloyd Pope’s hair says: “I am my own man, ploughing my own furrow and I will not be easily swayed by others’ advice. I will face down your slings and arrows and rise above it all.

“Block me and I will rip it. Attack me and I will only rip it harder. I am central, I am here to be noticed and I am here for the duration.

“Leg-spin is my art and my craft and my calling and I am not here to keep things tight. Watch yourself, batsman, watch yourself – for I am here to take your wicket. Also, I am slapping back a little.”


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  1. KC – I hate to criticise your postings, but this one really seems to miss the main point and state the bleeding obvious with another point.

    The point you have missed is that “The Pope’s Barnett” should quite simply not be allowed. I’m not sure which law or playing condition it is breaking…perhaps the one about distracting the batsman at the moment of delivery…or perhaps the general one about the spirit of the game…anyway, point is, THE LINE has quite clearly been crossed by THAT HAIR.

    The point you have overstated is the fellow’s general demeanour as his own man, with a variety of styles, tricks, talents and taste. To be frank, you spent 270+ words telling us, in effect, that “The Pope” is Catholic.

  2. Bald by 23 (as you basically pointed out).

    And by that time he’ll have almost 100 Test wickets – most of them English because we’re awful against legspin and there are 18 Ashes scheduled between now and The Pope’s 23rd birthday.

  3. Interesting piece on T20 stats over at Cricinfo, especially for Afghanistan fans and followers of England prospects:

    Career strike rates in T20 cricket are dependent on when a player bats and bowls. A bowler who goes at 8.5 an over and only bowls death and Powerplay is good. Bowling in the middle overs and returning 7.7 is bad.

    A way around this is to use true economy and strike rates. Every single over in T20 cricket has its own economy rate. In this BBL season, the first over is worth 5.7 on average; the 15th is worth 8.5. So let’s say you bowl the 10th over, and over the course of your league, that over goes for seven runs an over. But when you bowl it, eight runs come from it. That means you are +1 run for that over. One run worse than the average. We can do that for all the overs in T20.

    In the BBL over the last three years (not counting the last game), Rashid Khan is worth -2.1 runs. In a four-over spell, he has been worth eight saved runs for the Strikers. Of regular bowlers that’s the best. Peter Siddle is the second best, with -1.84. There are eleven bowlers who are worth more than a run an over to their team, Samuel Badree (-1.8), Jofra Archer (-1.8), Mohammad Nabi (-1.8), Mitch Johnson (-1,8), Steve O’Keefe (-1.7), Adil Rashid (-1.6), Jacques Kallis (-1.4), Nathan Lyon (-1.3) and Sunil Narine (-1.2).

    1. Nigel “Father Barry” White suggested Simply Red in an e-mail overnight.

      This distinction might be a generation thing, but I must say that Mick Hucknall’s hair has more of that “mind of its own” quality than The Chats guy’s, IMHO:


      1. It would appear that he is called, perhaps harshly but certainly fairly, “Pennywise” by his teammates. As sporting nicknames go, thats up there for me.

  4. On the subject of 80s / 90s / eternal cultural icons:

    He e e e e e is not

    But in fact, he is very much appreciated. It’s a sad day, a sad day indeed. A true genius.

    In the late 60s my daddy said to me,
    You’ll never see trams and clogs again.
    Now, they roam the city.

    1. He even managed to subvert the tone of his own BBC obituary, which, appropriately enough, is funnier than it is sad.

      “[Mark E Smith] said he got rid of [Marc] Riley because he didn’t like the fact Riley was questioning the writing credits, or the fact he danced to Deep Purple in a nightclub while on an Australia tour in 1982.

      “He told him: ‘Get in the hotel, and stay there till I tell you. You don’t need to be dancing to Smoke on the Water.’

      “A fist fight ensued.”

      The verb in that tram and clog line is just magic.

      1. This clip of The Fall from a 1988 Granada TV appearance is one of my favourite ever videos. The song is great (can I admit to liking I Am Kurious Oranj?), but the clip is better for being just so overwhelmingly 80s. It’s got Anthony Wilson in it, for goodness sake. Also, the few seconds at the beginning of the video (yes, video) tape details gives me shivers of resurfaced memories.

        I think the introduction should be Mark E Smith’s epitaph:

        If there was such a thing as the Holy Grail, Mr. Smith would be the only one allowed to pick it up.

  5. http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8368/scorecard/1116927/new-zealand-under-19s-vs-afghanistan-under-19s-quarter-final-under-19s-world-cup-2017-18

    England out in the quarters, looks like NZ will join them after a jolly good thwonking and Afghanistan will make the semis. Afghanistan have already knocked out Sri Lanka in the group stage and beaten Pakistan.

    If we end up playing away tests vs Afghanistan in the UAE, I reckon there’s a strong chance our first Test defeat to them may be less than a decade away …

    1. OK, I watched the highlights of this and I’m going to just come out and say it – how up to date are the ICC with bone density scanning tests?

      1. To be fair, Afg “U19” did beat Pak “U19” which is perhaps a more level playing field.

        Does it happen any more in cricket? I have a vague recollection of it still being an issue in African football but there’s more of a transfer market incentive there.

    2. Oooh, that Afghanistan innings contained a 66, a 67, a 68 and a 69. I really enjoyed this. They’re even in reverse order on the scorecard. Fantastic stuff.

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