Gangsta Rap made Dan Pascoe do that! Image courtesy: Phoebe Leung / Ike Images
Gangsta Rap made Dan Pascoe do that! Image courtesy: Phoebe Leung / Ike Images

Kyle Coetzer looks to employ a reverse sweep in the eighth over against the left-arm spin of Dan Pascoe. He misses and is struck on the pad. A convinced Pascoe, along with wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, appeals screamingly. The umpire raises his finger — but he is not alone in that.

Pascoe lets two fingers of both hands in the air. There begins the unique ‘gunman’ celebrations as he shoots the air and then blows the fingertips.

“He is a fan of Gangsta Raps,” said Tim Cutler, former Hong Kong Cricket CEO, who was covering the match alongside me.

Till this point, as my bio suggests, I considered myself a jack of many trades. Then I met Pascoe.

But, if you were a gunman, you wouldn’t like him. City of University of Hong Kong lists him as:

Dr PASCOE, Daniel
Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Oxon)
Master of Philosophy in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Oxon)
Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (ANU)
Bachelor of Asian Studies (Indonesian) (Hons) (ANU)
Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (ANU)
Legal Practitioner (Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory)

Pascoe, 33, has a LinkedIn profile and is on Twitter but none has a mention of cricket.

In fact, through his Twitter account intro reads: “Assistant Professor of Law at CityU, HK & visiting fellow Fordham Law School. Tweeting *mostly* about Crime and Punishment in Southeast Asia. Follow me.”

Pascoe has played First-Class cricket, as a left-arm spinner and a handy lower-order batsman. Having graduated through various age groups in Australia, for ACT, he finally got to play First-Class cricket during his post-graduation days at Oxford, between 2009 and 2012. He appeared for MCC many a time till 2014 before playing for Kowloon Cricket Club in Hong Kong.

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Pascoe’s day job as a lecturer has limited his on-field appearances. He wasn’t picked in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz T20 draft. He finished the tournament (earlier this month) with 3 wickets from 5 games at 26 and an impressive economy rate of just over 7.

“I was unavailable for the first day or two of the tournament because of work and maybe that was the reason I didn’t get selected in the initial draft. I thought this might happen [getting picked up by a franchise] and I left rest of my week pretty open. I got a call from the team owners [Galaxy Gladiators Lantau] three or four days before the tournament. Lucky [sic], I was in Hong Kong and was free,” said Pascoe, who played for the Sangakkara-led Gladiators.

The eighth match of the tournament between City Kaitak and Gladiators was a virtual semi-final. The strong Kaitak side were dismantled for 136 and Pascoe registered figures of 4-0-25-2. He got the key wickets of Kyle Coetzer, Scotland skipper, and Jamie Atkinson early to derail the Kaitak momentum.

Gladiators pulled off a comfortable win with Sanga smashing a 56-ball 94 not out. Sanga, named Man of the Match, he gave away the award to Pascoe: he believed that the latter was the difference-maker to the game.

“Well, I think he deserved it. To restrict a team like that to 138 with these [small] dimensions [at Mission Road], is a great effort,” said Sanga.

Though Pascoe accepted the award, he lauded the Sri Lankan’s greatness: “We all owe Kumar a drink after this win. Although I got the two wickets early on, it’s not often a guy scores 94 not out in a score of 130-odd and someone else wins man of the match.”

‘Gangsta Rap’

Teaching criminal law and enjoying Gangsta Rap, Pascoe doesn’t see a conflict of interest there and in fact believes there is a close link: “My brother got me into it [Gangster Rap] back in the days when I was growing up in Australia. There are a lot of gangsters in suburban Canberra where I grew up.”

He jokes about his performance: “Gangsta Rap made me do that.”

Here’s his favourite:

While Gangsta Raps kept him hooked in his teens, Pascoe was making his name as a cricketer. He had lot of heroes to look around. That was the time when Steve Waugh’s Australia reigned over the sport.

He was 16 when he played the Commonwealth Bank Under-17 Championship for ACT. He got 8 wickets in the competition at 27.62.

The wickets charts were headed by another left-arm spinner, a 17-year-old Tasmanian called Xavier Doherty, whose 17 wickets came at 7.52. In fact, another 17-year-old Tasmanian, George Bailey, topped the batting charts, with 261 runs at 65.25.

Pascoe graduated to the U-19s in the following season. He picked up 7 wickets at 23.57. Nine years later he would make his First-Class debut for Oxford in the Varsity Match. He got 67 runs and 2 wickets in the match.

His next First-Class appearance came ten months later, for Oxford MCC University against Middlesex. It was a three-day game and a fellow Australian-born wreaked havoc in the Oxford MCCU camps. Sam Robson, then 20, slammed 204 to guide Middlesex to 399 for 2.

Pascoe went wicketless and contributed with 31 not out as his side declared at 277 for 6. Did this bunch of students stand a chance against the strong Middlesex?

“Yes,” recalled Pascoe. He spun a web around the Middlesex batsmen, claiming 6 for 68 as they declared at 186 for 9. His wickets included Robson, Josh Davey, and Toby Roland-Jones — all future internationals.

This remained his best bowling figures in First-Class cricket. The same year, in the Varsity Match, Pascoe would pick another five-for to guide Oxford to an innings win.

In the 8 First-Class matches he played, he scored 229 at 25.44 and picked 25 wickets at 25.8: “That was the best time of my life. I went there [Oxford] to do my post-graduate degree and it’s a privilege that we still get to play First-Class cricket against counties. The standard of cricket isn’t as high in the Oxford versus Cambridge matches in comparison to the matches Oxford plays against the county teams in April. It is really cold in April. These are their warm-up matches. I absolutely loved it.”

His employers had no idea that he was rubbing shoulders against some of the best in the sport during his absence. “Now they do,” he smiles referring to the media coverage.