See this? On the cricket field, this is your best friend. Wikipedia calls it by the gentler name of “abdominal guard.” But let’s call a spade a spade. It’s a box. A frog. An anti-nut cracker. A night saver. A male fertility preserver. The Castration Canceller.
You get the picture.
Only thing is, is that it’s generally only worn by batsmen.
In the field, you’ve only got your left and your right hands to protect you. Which is usually fine, 999 times out of 1,000. Your hands are reliable. They’re safe. They’re more often going to get at least a little piece of the pill before any real damage can be done to you or your person. Occasionally you might let one slip through your fingers, and you might wear some leather on your chest, or your thigh, or your face might get a wee graze. And that’s fine. You can deal with that. It’s not ideal, but you’ve had worse.
But sometimes – once in a blue moon – your hands completely fail you. The ball goes right through the gap unimpeded. And that’s when disaster strikes.
Spare a thought then for England captain Alastair Cook, who suffered the most inglorious of on-field disasters during last night’s Day 2 of the First Ashes Test in Cardiff against our very own Australian lads.
A genuine edge from Steve Smith off the bowling of English paceman Jimmy Anderson sent a chance hurtling towards Cook at first slip at around 140 km/h. Cook, committed to the catch – having swallowed up a similar nick from David Warner a mere three deliveries earlier – didn’t anticipate an errant bounce, which bypassed his hands entirely and cannoned straight into his crown jewels.
Hear that? That’s the sound of every male in the room simultaneously laughing, crying, wincing, and forcing down the tiny bit of vom that just came up.
Cook was down for a solid period of time in agony, which wasn’t helped in the slightest by vice captain Joe Root, who refused to ignore the funny side of the incident.
Cook left the field to receive treatment (ice, a quiet sit down, and a quick recount) before returning to the field later.
Day 2 of the first test ended with Australia on 5/264, in reply to England’s first innings total of 430 all out.
Play continues tonight. Coverage begins at 8pm live on GEM.
Photo: Mitchell Gunn via Getty Images.