Cow Corner

Ashes fever hits new low

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The World Twenty20 is now a distant memory, it's Ashes, Ashes, Ashes.

Australia are in action at Hove, England are at some camp before their match with Warwickshire, you can't go more than 10 minutes without some minority TV channel telling you that you can watch every ball in HD and, worst of all, someone has brought out an Ashes record.

Sadly this song, and we quote the PR guff that accompanies it, features former England cricketer and current TV personality Phil 'The Cat' Tufnell (pictured). Here is the video for the song that he has produced which is designed to help cheer England on to victory in the Ashes.

Anyone who has just clicked on that link must now know how Michael McEvoy must have felt shortly before he smacked Tufnell in the face with a half-brick in 1994.

Nowdays you can get away with anything in the name of charity or national fervour.

Cowers could get away with making a novelty record with Radovan Karadzic if we said we wanted to build team morale ahead of the Under-14 World Water Polo Championships.

But Cowers has always had something of a spot for Tufnell before now.

The nineties were an era in English cricket when you were either a Gooch man or a Gower man - and it said so much about your personality.

To paraprhase a recent Sports Illustrated article about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, a Gooch man liked a two-hour workout after breakfast, a Gower man liked a two-hour breakfast.

A Gower man won by surviving his mistakes. A Gooch man won by not making any.

And Tufnell was always in the Gower camp and then some.

Most fond Tufnell memories are of cowardly batting with 'The Cat' almost shaking hands with the square leg umpire when someone over 85mph came on, his woeful fielding that made him something of a cult figure (yes, we said cult) in Australia and a multitude of on-field shenanigans.

His exploits as a England player away from home not only include a maiden five-for in Test cricket at the SCG but a five-in-a-bed extravaganza with four strawberry blondes on a tour in Australia, being disciplined for smoking pot in a wine bar lav on tour in New Zealand and being checked into a psychiatric hospital in Perth on an Ashes tour.

But Tufnell did produce the odd match-winning spell of left-arm slow bowling - he twice bowled England to victory at The Oval, against the West Indies in 1991 and Australia in 1997 - and despite his Cockney Rebel exterior is a good thinker, as he has illustrated in latter years with his commentary stints on TMS.

We have no doubt this agent-induced blooper is just the start of a fortnight of hyperbole before the first Test in Cardiff.

Suffice to say Tuffers fails to get anywhere near our list of all-time top cricket related songs.

5) The Commentators - N-N-Nineteen Not Out

A rather twee 1985 UK offering from Rory Bremner which is a parody of Paul Hardcastle's number one hit, "19" but worth a listen just for the John Arlott impression.

4) The Cavaliers - It's a Beautiful Game

A downright surreal offering from the 1980s - has Geoffrey Boycott ever been sung in Bossa Nova before?

3) Roots Manuva — Again & Again

Britain's pre-emminent hip-hop star takes in a bit of village cricket.

2) Booker T and the MGs - Soul Limbo

We hope the former Stax house band are getting royalties for the greatest sports theme tune. Check out a live version by clicking the link.

1) Miles Davis - Freddie Freeloader

Not the Blue Note great but the legendary 12th Man from Australian satirist Billy Birmingham (Warning - a little saucy language). 

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