Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Wild Things

Fantasy Bob was sad to learn of the recent death of the children's author Maurice Sendak.  Sendak wrote and illustrated the classic children's picture book 'Where the Wild Things Are' a work which kept FB's son and heir entertained when he was an infant.

The book tells the story of Max, who, sent bed without supper for getting up to mischief, imagines a world with fierce monsters whom he manages to subdue and dance with. Eventually he feels lonely and returns to his bedroom where his supper is waiting for him. Good old Mum.  Everything is safe and sound and he is loved after all.

The book has no cricketing or other sporting references, but a number of sportsmen have been given the nickname Wild Thing.  Two come instantly to FB's mind - Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait and American golfer John Daly.

Wild Thing
Shaun Tait earned the name because of the pace of his bowling. He delivers with a possibly unique action which puts a big lateral twist on his spine which has caused him all kinds of other problems. But he is quick. He bowled the fastest ball ever recorded in Australia - 160.7 km/h in a T20 match against Pakistan in 2010. He topped 161 km/h again against England later that year and only Shoab Ahktar has recorded a faster ball. But he can also be erratic - so the name Wild Thing has a double meaning. While he has been called expensive, his ODI stats in particular don't really justify that criticism - in 35 ODIs he took 73 wickets at 24.11 and in the 2007 World Cup was second top wicket taker in the tournament with 23 wickets at 20.30. He has a long history of injuries and has gradually limited his cricketing - withdrawing first from Test and First Class matches and more recently from ODI to play exclusively in T20. He played T20 for Surrey in 2011 and is playing at present in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals for whom he took 3-13 against Pune earlier this week. There is no suggestion that he is a Wild Thing off the field.
Wild Thing
In John Daly however is wild on the course and off it. He became an overnight sensation in 1991 when he won the USPGA. He only got his place through the late withdrawal of a higher ranked player and drove through the night to play. His huge back swing launched the ball prodigious distances and his grip it and rip attitude was real blue collar and endeared him to the crowd. Drink, gambling, divorce - trouble of every sort just followed him around. He was the genuine Wild Thing in all respects. But the crowds always flock to follow him. He won the Open at St Andrews in 1995. Most recently he seems to have calmed down and the wildest thing about him are his trousers - a name brand which he promotes on the course.

In April 2010, Daly released his debut music album called "I Only Know One Way." He wrote orco-wrote eight tracks on the album which also includes a version of Bob Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door. What it doesn't include is a cover of Wild Thing which was a number one hit for the Troggs in 1966.  Now that really is the something to frighten children.


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