Our Ultimate Movember XI

Every November, in the name of men’s health, we let it go. The hair above our upper lip, that is. Of course, there are many with 365-day facial hair, but for those normally of smoother persuasion, Movember is as good a reason as any to don a ‘mouth brow’ (one of the more pleasant alternatives for moustache, as this particularly good blog explains).

Moustaches have never been pinned to a particular demographic, but the look has, over the years, warmly infiltrated the sport of cricket, particularly during its revolutionary period of the 1970s and 1980s, when many of the game’s icons delivered just as big a statement with their ‘flavour savours’ as through the mountains of runs and wickets they gleaned.

So, here’s our Ultimate Mo XI. While heavy on all-rounders and fast bowlers, it’s a flamboyant, intimidating combination that would put the wind up any other cricketing team in history.

Of course, there are some excellent cricketers – with excellent face hair – that didn’t make the cut, including 19th-century pace bowler Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth, Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri, and, of course, Max ‘Tangles’ Walker.

Walker – who died of cancer in 2015, aged just 68 – lived a full and admirable life. One of the few to play Test cricket and VFL, he also authored 14 books, was a polished keynote speaker, sporting commentator and, by trade, an architect. And to those who grew up watching ‘Tangles’ in full flight on our television screens, he was – just like those listed below – also a father figure.

Moustaches have never been pinned to a particular demographic, but the look has, over the years, warmly infiltrated the sport of cricket…

Here’s our line-up:

1. Graham Gooch (Eng) – A fine, long-serving opening batsman who valued his wicket almost as much as his exquisite Zapata moustache.

2. David Boon (Aus) – Yes, 52 cans, but the nuggety Tasmanian’s bushy moustache was a reassuring constant in Australia’s top order for a decade.

3. Javed Miandad (Pak) – Probably Pakistan’s finest ever batsman and the face of a moustache-dense country. Better to have Javed and Lillee in the same team, too.

4. Allan Border (Aus) – Brave, bold and often bristling, AB and his neatly-trimmed lip rug carried Australia’s hopes in the 1980s. Vice-captain.

5. Clive Lloyd (WI) – Both a gentleman and a man’s man, ‘Super Cat’ led one of the most destructive teams in history. A gargantuan mo added to the aura. Captain.

6. Sir Ian Botham (Eng) – Cocksure, cigar-loving, facially-prickly ‘Both’ had a sleeper-hold on Australia in the 1980s, be it with his hooping fast-mediums or blazing blade.

7. Kapil Dev (Ind) – While best remembered for his potent outswinger and lusty hitting, suave Kapil nailed the tash well before it caught aflame in Bollywood.

8. Rod Marsh (Aus) – Australia’s first wicket-keeper to score a ton, Marsh also sported a thick, robust bush-lip that would, in this hypothetical set-up, catch its fair share of VB while imbibing with Boonie.

9. Sir Richard Hadlee (NZ) – Remembered fondly as the ‘wanker’ who feasted on Australian cricket’s carcass in the 1980s, Hadlee’s new-ball sheen extended to a finely manicured mo.

10. Merv Hughes (Aus) – Would be the fifth paceman in this side, which alone would be enough to get Merv and his massive mo out of joint; watch out opposition batsmen.

 11. Dennis Lillee (Aus) – Like his new-ball partner Hadlee, Lillee oozed class. Had abundant swing, seam and surliness, all complimented by a classic, all-male handlebar. 

12th man: Mitchell Johnson (Aus) – A lack of seniority and mo-longevity relegates Mitch to drinks-carrier.  With mo, though, his express bowling was damn near unplayable

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