Cricket to soothe battered nerves

England's Alastair Cook (L) walks from the pitch after being bowled out by Praveen Kumar (C) during the ODI cricket match between England and India at the Riverside cricket ground in Durham, north-east England.

It is strange to be writing from Ireland in the middle of a cricket series between India and England. What is stranger is an Irish music group cutting an album on cricket and naming it The Duckworth Lewis Method. Its connection with the method used to revise targets is as far removed as Arjuna Ranatunga finding himself as Shane Warne's Facebook friend.

The album came to life on July 3, 2009 at The Oval. “It was at the England room overlooking the main ground, with about 800 guests in attendance. I don't think it can get any bigger than this for two Irish musicians,” says Thomas Walsh (Duckworth) of the two-member group.

A few days later it got more pleasantly stranger when they were invited to perform at the Long Room at Lord’s. “It was quite surreal as that was the night Michael Jackson died and here we were, performing at the home of cricket,” says Neil Hannon (Lewis). “There was Graeme Swann, Ian Bothan and Michael Atherton amongst those present and I'd like to think they liked what they saw and heard. Although Atherton came up to us later and said, ‘I liked what you guys did, but generally I don’t like music!’

Stranger things have happened. Irish-born England batsman, Eoin Morgan,  went up to them and asked for autograph.

“It was slightly weird for us as we always thought Morgan is a bigger star,” recalls Thomas. But it’s difficult to miss the band’s name. “We didn’t mind confusing people. It is important not to worry too much about selling the album. All we wanted was people to say, ‘O, that’s a nice name for a band. ‘O, these guys are fun,’” says Neil.

The original Duckworth-Lewis (Frank Duckworth & Tony Lewis) are among the crowd giving the band a standing ovation. In an e-mail response, Duckworth says: “We think it is a great album...and at no stage we were offended when they used our names. In fact, we were quite delighted. On the sleeve (of the album) they express a special thank you to us for the inspiration.”

More inspiration comes from Dr WG Grace, cricketers and cricketing terms. Thomas’s love for Italian and Thai food has brought him a prosperous waistline. He has used that, combined with an out-of-control beard, to bring about the Grace-effect in his images used to market the album; the songs include The Sweet Spot, Test Match Special, The Nightwatchman and  Jiggery Pokery. Jiggery Pokery is an account of Mike Gatting being done in by Shane Warne’s “ball of the century” in 1993. “Frankly, we still haven’t been able to get around to why the album is such a hit. Maybe, since we liked what we did, people out there too liked it,” says Neil.

There is nothing odd about the latest two songs they have penned, one a tribute to Rahul Dravid's broad bat on the current tour. The other is on meeting Sachin Tendulkar. The lyrics were written in a pub, while downing a few pints.

The Wall song goes like this:
“We don’t need another Test match,
We don't need more balls to bowl,
  No dark clouds looming over Trent Bridge,
  D(h)oni leave that ball alone,
  Hey D(h)oni, leave that ball alone,
  All in all you need a century from the Wall.....
  All in all you need a century from the Wall.....
  All in all you need a century from the Wall....."
“Did you like it?” they ask. One says “Yes”, and giggles echo around their studio in Dublin.

The writer works for ESPN’s Sportscenter


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