To celebrate the recent publication of our 100th issue, AOC staffers and contributors put their heads together and came up with list of the hundred things that made our century what it was (starting May 2004). In no particular order, here is the seventh 10 of our ton.
The doyen of the swivel pull, hands permanently lubricated by his own spit, has always been a treasured figure at AOC but when he shrugged off getting absolutely clattered in the jaw while fielding at silly point during the decisive Test of the 2009 Ashes, our respect for the man – bloodied but never bowed – reached stratospheric levels. Cricket’s a poorer place without him. Ed Davis
Why we love it: Sheer rugged manliness.
Eoin Morgan’s Reverse Reverse Sweep
The Dublin destroyer unfurled sweep after reverse sweep for Middlesex on his way to England recognition – and one shot in particular showed all his formative, hurling-playing, forearm-strengthening years in Ireland were not wasted. Shaping up for the reverse again in a televised game against Kent just before his England debut in 2009, he realised Rob Ferley’s delivery was too leg side, so wristed it behind himself through fine leg in a display of mystifying dexterity and innovation. Ed Kemp
Why we love it: Summed up what he could do that no other England player ever would – and was, while brilliant, ever so slightly ridiculous.
Mike Atherton At The Times
The former England skipper’s passage into the press and commentary box has been seamless to the extent that he now looks more comfortable there than he ever did when batting. Erudite and urbane, he continues the tradition of cerebral reporting without ever getting overexcited. Deservedly twice named Sports Writer of the Year at the British Sports Journalism Awards since joining The Times in ’08. Richard H Thomas
Why we love it: The best since Benaud.
Tuffers On TMS
The chain-smoking enfant terrible of the 90s reinvents himself as the Beeb’s go to man (‘Strictly Come Dancing you say? Let me check with Sue Barker if my Question of Sport schedule allows it’) and a razor-sharp TMS pundit. Nasser Hussain always used to say that Tuffers has one of the best cricket brains he’s ever encountered; looks like Essex’s finest was bang on the money. Ed Davis
Why we love it: Tuffers totally gets TMS – the cake, the chortling, the occasional need to completely correct Blowers over the score – but he’s also the man responsible for a 25 minute diatribe on why you would always have two men at gully for Phil Hughes. Now that’s the kind of analysis we’re after.
Mitchell’s Wayward Radar
“He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, that Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is shite.” Nothing better summed up our domination of the 2009/10 Ashes than England supporters belting this out in grounds devoid of Aussies. When Mitch was out for a golden duck in his last innings of the series we raised the roof. Paul Winslow
Why we love it: Schadenfreude.
Tony Palladino, Whistleblower
He knew it was a massive gamble. He knew he’d be ostracised, vilified. He knew he’d have to move on. But still the former Essex seamer refused to budge: a teammate had taken money to under-perform. The teammate served time; the whistleblower won promotion with Derbyshire. The Fates have their good days. Rob Steen
Why we love it: To ignore is to condone.
No more a case of a hit and a giggle, the game’s shortest format had its first global tournament in 2007, and the punters lapped it up – none more so than in India, as a youthful team led by new skipper MS Dhoni lifted the trophy. The competition has continued to grow in stature since, with its quick-fire format engaging new fans and even converting some of those traditionalists who had greeted it so huffily. Jo Harman
Why we love it: Quick fix of cricketing goodness.
South Africa Chase Down Australia’s 434
After Australia had bludgeoned their way to a world record score of 434-4 in 50 overs, the entire Wanderers was in a state of shock. Having watched Ricky Ponting smash 164 from 105, an embarrassed South Africa took to the field with pride-restoration seemingly their only achievable goal. Step forward Herschelle Gibbs who hammered 175 from 111 balls to set up a scarcely believable one-wicket win, with a ball to spare. Jeff Thomas
Why we love it: 872 runs in a day at almost nine an over. What’s not to love?
From the banal to the ballistic, every cricketer worth their salt has one. Whether it’s to tweet pictures of the ‘lads’ playing FIFA (pah!) or to say how great the ‘lads’ are looking in training, you can’t hide from it, as hard as you may try. If only Twitter was around in yesteryear, could you imagine WG’s tweets… Will Smith
Why we love it: Greater access to players than ever before. Who needs a press pass?
No-nonsense man of principle responsible for picking England up after the Pietersen/Moores incident and forging them into a side that (quietly now) actually has the edge over the heroes of 2005. The nation owes this man a profound debt. Ed Davis
Why we love it: The Ashes 2010/11 – need we say more? Oh, and we once asked him to pose with a Rubix Cube and he didn’t instantly show us the door…
Stay tuned for the rest of the gear, gizmos, gaffes and spine-tingling moments that made our century what it was.