With his catch of Virat Kohli, Peter Younghusband suddenly made waves across the female followers of the sport. Photo courtesy: Peter Younghusband's Twitter account.
With his catch of Virat Kohli, Peter Younghusband suddenly made waves across the female followers of the sport. Photo courtesy: Peter Younghusband’s Twitter account.

Please note this is a humour article — work of pure fiction

With his catch of Virat Kohli, Peter Younghusband suddenly made waves across the female followers of the sport. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the substitute fielder who displaced Quinton de Kock from his mantle.

Nobody knew of Peter Younghusband till he pulled off that catch at long-on to dismiss Virat Kohli off Nathan McCullum in the final ODI between India and New Zealand; that single incident turned him into an instant celebrity among the fairer sex, which led to him being the most recent recipient of the much-coveted Bob Cunis Award.

Billions of female followers, pouring over the live updates on the internet since morning to become proud witnesses of another Indian defeat, suddenly erupted in joy as the name was transmitted in text through cyberspace all around the world. There was no doubt whatsoever who the new winner would be!

“Younghusband!” shrieked an eager fan that had already gone gaga over the name. “This was the person we had been waiting for!” Her friend, an ardent follower of the history of the sport, brought up the names of the likes of Julien Wiener and, more importantly, Peter Willey. “The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey” is a phrase buried somewhere in history, she reckons.

The Cummins, Anderson and Pat, had re-ignited the imagination over the past two decades, as had Craig Cumming and Trevor Gripper, all coming incredibly close to the award that had been held by Geoff Humpage for a long time. Stephen Rouse and Peter Sleep had come close, but with limited luck.

The heartthrob among the new generation of girls, of course, had been the South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock — the boy who had almost single-handedly batted India out of the recently concluded ODI series at home with his bat..

Arnie and Ryan Sidebottom, on the other hand, could only invoke laughter among the diehard fans of the sport, as had Ijaz and Salman Butt, Clyde Butts, and Jack Crapp – and most unexpectedly, Nathan Astle. None of them could get their hands on the award, though. None, however, had suffered the ignominy of Gladstone Small, the mention of whose name always caused general hilarity.

The heartthrob among the new generation of girls, of course, had been the South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock — the boy who had almost single-handedly batted India out of the recently concluded ODI series at home with his bat. “A name like de Kock can make your imagination go haywire,” a fan had confessed a couple of months back, her gaze transfixed at the huge scoreboard.

Indeed, de Kock had managed to cause a stir in the world with his appearance. Forgotten were eminent names like Ashley Woodcock, David Sincock, Paul Hitchcock, Neil Adcock, and the perhaps the one who had held the award for the longest time of them all, Jack Badcock, whose name often led people to ask “Why?” before they knew it.

There have been the romantic ones as well, like the Grace fraternity, Hammy and Martin Love, Alf and Bryan Valentine, Brian and Franklyn Rose, Andy and Grant Flower, Joe, Len, and Rick Darling, Blessing Mahwire — they were all there, but other than the occasional inspirations from Heath Streak, no one seemed to be able to capture the imagination of the women.

But Younghusband indeed seems to be the craze of the moment. “It is always maturity over anything else” was the unanimous reaction from the women in the crowd, “and when we say anything, we mean it.” They also seem determined to refer to him as P Younghusband instead of addressing him by his full name.

The Bob Cunis Award was rechristened after Alan Gibson had made his historic “neither here nor there” comment on Test Match Special. It was previously known as the Dick Spooner Award.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)