In 1970, American baseball player Dock Ellis achieved a no-hitter while tripping on acid. It was around the same time America was going through a psychedelic renaissance, with Timothy Leary leading the movement. Leary wanted to normalise the acid consumption, but never in his wildest imagination, he would have thought of a baseball player trying it on such a grand stage.
It was a height of recklessness that cricket, another game where a player is supposed to hit a spherical object to different parts of the ground, would never recognise. Good for cricket, though.
Cricket prides itself in being a Gentleman’s game, and gentlemen don’t do drugs. They, however, can occasionally gulp a pint of alcohol or two. But again, not on the field and is best restricted to the post-match party. For many, it doesn’t take much time for the pint to progress into a tallboy, and then a yard of ale and then a growler.
Let’s take a look at the dream pub team of cricketers, composed entirely of players whose drinking habits are no secret.
Openers: David Warner and Jesse Ryder
Who else than David Warner to open the innings? The man who wears his heart on his sleeves, who thinks of an Ashes tour as war, and then ends up punching an opponent in the bar. The man on the receiving end was Joe Root. When the influence of alcohol subsided, Warner publicly apologised for his misconduct.
Warner opens the innings alongside Jesse Ryder. The Wikipedia entry of Ryder says “he mixes good performances with occasional bad behaviour.” The player celebrated a series victory by breaking the window of a locked toilet in a bar, injuring himself badly and missing three months of cricket. A year later, Ryder was dropped out of the squad for missing a team meeting due to late-night drinking sessions.
Middle Order: Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, Herschelle Gibbs
The cricketing world is no stranger to Kevin Pietersen’s histrionics. Perhaps the most polarising figure of English cricket, Pietersen was caught urinating at the Oval after post-match drinking sessions. He then publicly apologised for refusing Dan Ivans, a British tennis player, a photograph because he was extremely drunk.
Andrew Symonds’ cricketing career was littered with controversy. During the 2005 Ashes series, Symonds turned up to a practice session under the influence of alcohol. He was sent home from the squad for missing the team meeting to go fishing. Symonds fell over at training for a warm-up game against Bangladesh, and tried to convince the head coach he was good to play.
In his book Ashes Diary 2005, Ponting talked about how Symonds in a drunken state was not the most pleasant person to be around. Ponting, however, himself struggled with alcoholism in his early days, and he was even dropped from the side. During a tour to India in 1998, he was thrown out of the bar after a scuffle with bouncers.
Not my beers!!!! My cap and my lime and soda! #SORAI pic.twitter.com/pZereKqCdb
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) January 19, 2022
Herschelle Gibbs’ most significant innings of his cricketing career came in a state of dizzying hangover. A night before he scored 175 in South Africa’s record win over Australia, Gibbs was drinking till 1 a.m. with his friends.
All Rounder: Ian Botham and Ben Stokes
There couldn’t have been a more perfect set of all-rounders for this team. Ben Stokes and Ian Botham share a lot of things in common, starting from the miracles of Headingley. Stokes was sent home from Australia for his drinking habits, getting involved in a pub brawl in Bristol, and had his driving license was revoked due to repeated offenses of drunk driving.
Botham once arrived for a County game tanked up. The legend says he won the toss from a ‘horizontal position,’ chose to bat, and went back to sleep. He kept drinking throughout the proceedings, and even scored a valuable 69 for his team.
Bowlers: Shane Warne, Andrew Flintoff, Liam Plunkett
When Shane Warne passed away earlier this year, fans offered flowers, beer, and cigarettes to his larger-than-life statue in Melbourne. Warne once posted a picture of his kitchen, flaunting a huge collection of wine bottles, beers, and other types of alcohol.
Andrew Flintoff and Liam Plunkett will spearhead the fast bowling attack. Flintoff was fully loaded with alcohol on a trip to 10 Downing Street, where the England team was honoured for the Ashes to win. Flintoff was caught urinating in the garden of Downing Street.
Plunkett, too, is a heavy drinker, and was caught twice for driving over the speed limit in an inebriated state. He was banned from driving for 40 months and was slapped with a hefty ban.