THE Royal baby finally has a name. George Alexander Louis. Perhaps in 20 years time he will appear on a cricket scorecard as G A L Windsor.
With all the many wonderful modern innovations the sport has adopted in recent years, a few old traditions have fallen by the wayside. Growing up I would obsess over equipment, statistics, conditions and commentators. But nothing takes me back to my misspent youth quite like a line of cricketing initials.
There are the regal-sounding ones. P C R Tufnell. I D K Salisbury. C E L Ambrose. M J K Smith. Look at those letters. They are beauty in its purest form.
There are names that say so much about the player. Mark Ravin Ramprakash – liable to the occasional rant. David Ivon Gower – posh boy. Brian Charles Lara – Prince among men. Tino la Bertram Best – show pony.
Sometimes a cricketer can be defined by his middle names. Bob Willis was christened Robert George, adding ‘Dylan’ in homage to the old rocker.
The likes of W G Grace and R E S Wyatt are still known only by their initials, years after their deaths.
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers went with the much shorter, and cooler, AB. Owais Alam Shah has the advantage of being pronounced the same way whether using initials or full name. And don’t even get me started on Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas.
Some cricketers choose to switch things around and confuse everyone. A good quiz question – which 1980s England opening batsman had the initials C W J? It was of course Bill ‘William’ Athey. When England’s current number three first broke into the Warwickshire side, a friend of mine took a perplexed look at the scorecard bearing the legend I L J Trott and exclaimed “Ian who?”
In this era of short attention spans and exploding stumps, nobody has the time to examine the small print in The Times, looking for such eccentric, irrelevant details. But there are signs that the trend for superfluous monikers is returning. In the first Ashes Test at Nottingham this year, three of Australia’s top five batsmen had three first initials. Christopher John Llewellyn Rogers perhaps has a future with Glamorgan. Edward James McKenzie Cowan has a hint of Scottish about it. And as for Steven Peter Devereux Smith – like the tenacious all-rounder himself, it’s neither one thing nor the other.
S C J Broad and N R D Compton are carrying on their family names, Stuart’s C from his father Chris and Nick’s D from grandfather Denis.
Perhaps the young prince could follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, MCC member Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GBE AC QSO GCL CC CMM PC ADC(P). Apparently he was a leg spinner in his day.