Monday, 16 August 2010

Swann subterranean cat screwdriver rescue: Great cricket excuses

Not much to say about this, beyond the obviously-brilliant headline, which comes from Graemme Swann's defence against drink-driving charges.

Swanny says that he was forced into his car to venture to a supermarket in order to fetch tools to lever up the floorboards in his house to rescue his trapped cat.

Whichever way you look at it, that's a hell of a story; made even better by a quote from the police who attended Swann because he was driving a Porsche Cayenne (reason enough in my book) in an area known for burglaries.

Here's the BBC's report of what arresting officer PC Voce saw that fateful night:

"As he approached us, from the manner of driving I thought we had a burglar or a stolen vehicle.

"He was waving the screwdrivers, saying, 'It's not for what you think, the screwdrivers aren't for what you think'.

"He stated the cat was trapped under floorboards and he continually asked us to contact (his wife Sarah) and a call was made to a sergeant to attend the address and make sure the cat was okay.

"He had had the builders in and the cat was trapped under the floorboards but he couldn't find the screwdrivers in the house so he went to Asda."

'Slurred speech'

After arresting the cricketer and escorting him to the police car, Pc Voice said she had to wind down the driver's side window because he smelled so strongly of alcohol.

So there we have it. Bleary-eyed, slurred-of-speech and waving a bag of screwdrivers around, Swann repeatedly asked the police to turn up at his house and ensure his cat was OK. That all sounds perfectly reasonable to us.

The BBC has certainly had some fun over it, with two effort at a funny headline: ''Drink-driving' Swann blames cat' and 'Drink-drive charge Swann in 'cat rescue attempt''. We prefer the latter.

All joking aside, whatever Swann may or may not have done, he seems anything but the stereotype of the spoilt, arrogant, stupid sportsman on frequent display in this day and age.

In his 'cat rescue attempt', he does, however, join the pantheon of cricketers wielding unlikely excuses. I've rounded up a couple, which may be familiar but are nonetheless still amusing:

• Derek Pringle was said to have once damaged his back while writing a letter so badly that he was forced out of Test contention. In fact, the chair he was sitting on at the time collapsed, which is pretty much every bit as funny.

Chris Lewis was late for a Test against Pakistan in 1996, claiming he had a puncture. Ray Illingworth simply went to inspect his car, which showed no signs of a punctured tyre.

• While apologising for biting a cricket ball in full view of cameras during a T20 match against Australia, Shahid Afridi also claimed that all international teams tamper with cricket balls, implying that to do so was acceptable, and it was only his chosen method of ball-tampering that was beyond the pale.

• Michael Clarke claimed that the Aussies did not win the 2009 Ashes because of a lack of playing facilities. Well, he implied it. And it's always nice to remind ourselves of what happened in that series.

• Mike Atherton claimed that what looked suspiciously like a V sign directed towards Philo Wallace in 1999 was in fact nothing more than an indication of the whereabouts of the dressing room.

• Matthew Maynard forced himself out of a few games on the 1993 Windies tour by picking up a sea urchin.

All good, but none come close to subterranean cat screwdriver rescue.

1 comment:

  1. In fairness to Chris Lewis he didn't have a puncture but his spare tyre was full of class A so give him a break


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