BBC BLOGS - Test Match Special
« Previous | Main | Next »

Come on you reds

Adam Mountford | 08:13 UK time, Sunday, 1 April 2007

Whilst waiting for the Sri Lankan and West Indian press conferences to begin at the Guyana National Stadium, the BBC team got involved in some typically idle conversation.

Among the ludicrous topics of discussion raised was that the 2007 ICC World Cup is proving a very good tournament for "the gingers".

Now you've probably noticed that some players are perhaps prouder of their "red heads" than others. Irish all-rounder Kevin O'Brien is about as "carrot topped" as a man could be. In fact his father , one of Ireland's most famous cricketers , is even called Ginger.

Others, who I won't name, would probably say their hair is more strawberry blond. They are fooling no-one.

So in the best tradition of cricket fans around the world, we have come up with a "2007 World Cup Ginger XI".

1 - Hamish Marshall (New Zealand)
Lou Vincent's loss was the Ginger World Cup Teams gain. A late call up to the Kiwi squad, Marshall is quite happy to show off his curly strawberry locks.

2 - Ian Bell (England)
Promoted to open the innings in our side Bell has gone through many hair styles and hair colours. But we reckon we know what really lies beneath.

3 - Paul Collingwood (England)
Already one of the stars of the World Cup. A fierce competitor who wouldn't flinch at any anti-ginger sledging.

The OBrien brothers4 - Niall O'Brien (Ireland)
Maybe not as prominent a red-head as his brother Kevin, Niall is enjoying an outstanding World Cup. As well as being the main-stay of our middle order, Niall will keep wicket and will take responsibility to sledge all the blond , black or brown haired opponents this team come up against.

5 - Jamie Dalrymple (England)
What is it about England players and red-hair !

6 - Kevin O'Brien (Ireland)
Nothing needs to be said - This man is GINGER !!

7 - Shaun Pollock (South Africa)
Suffered at the hands of Hayden in St Kitts, but Pollock is a red-head with a red-hot reputation, who may well enjoy the last laugh later in the competition.

8 - Dougie Brown (Scotland)
Had a World Cup of ups and downs. Golden duck against the Netherlands - impressive 40 odd against South Africa. One of the most friendly of our ginger brigade.

9 - Anthony Ireland (Zimbabwe)
He may have been born in the midlands province of Zimbabwe, but he looks like an Irishmen. And the second name is a bit of a give-away.

10 - Jon Blain (Scotland)
Another red-headed Scot.

Coach - Kevin Curran (Zimbabwe)
The former Northants and Gloucestershire all-rounder is the man to inspire our team and leave opponents red-faced.

Umpire - Brian Jerling (South Africa)
Brian may have to convince Rudi Koertzen to dye his white hair red so that he can have some support. Or perhaps get a red wig for Steve Davis or Mark Benson.

Commentary on this side's matches would be provided by Test Match Special's resident ginger, Mr Arlo White (very inappropriately named).

Alert readers will have noticed only ten names in our side. Well, I have been through all the World Cup guides , attended numerous training sessions and have yet to be convinced about the redness of the hair of other players. Some of the Dutch players looked ginger, but that may have just been the reflection from their orange tops.

So I need your help to find the eleventh member of this special side. If not from the current World Cup teams then maybe from the past.

Let me know and remember - "the future's bright...the future's ginger"

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 08:52 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • JimmyD wrote:

Shouldn't an XI have eleven players?

  • 2.
  • At 09:00 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Another pop at those with ginger hair. Gingerism. The last form of an 'ism' that you can really have a laugh at. Yes, have a laugh on us.

  • 3.
  • At 09:05 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Adrian wrote:

April Fools

  • 4.
  • At 09:40 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • JimmyD wrote:

aah...didn't read to the bottom. Sorry!

  • 5.
  • At 09:49 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • NUGY wrote:

HAHA I LIKE DIS IT IS FUNNY

  • 6.
  • At 09:52 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • JimmyD wrote:

aah...didn't read to the bottom. Sorry!

  • 7.
  • At 10:06 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • JPB wrote:

Isn't Freddie a bit Ginger?

  • 8.
  • At 11:04 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Adam Brand wrote:

Hayden

  • 9.
  • At 11:05 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

April Fools. His hair doesn't quite make the team but his performances do.

  • 10.
  • At 11:16 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Jack Byrne wrote:

Judging by some of the other selections, Muralitharan and Monty Panesar have a right to be included?!

  • 11.
  • At 11:26 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • JimmiP wrote:

Neil Fairbrother would be one from the past that would surely have made a World Cup Ginger XI.

  • 12.
  • At 11:27 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Daine Crockford (A Ginger) wrote:

Haha! Good work!

  • 13.
  • At 11:48 AM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Annonomous wrote:

Here we go again. Another fool making a fool out of red heads . Stop using the word "ginger" it encourages bullying of red heads.

  • 14.
  • At 12:03 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Nick Morrison wrote:

On the contrary Ian, this is in fact proof (as if it were needed) that gingers are disproportionately likely to make great cricketers. This is surely an accolade!!

Only four percent of the world's population have naturally occuring red hair and yet we produce nearly ten percent of the players in the Super Eights according to this list.

However, naming this exclusive club is potentially controversial. Imagine suggesting a vertically challenged World Cup XI? (In fact that would be a half decent team...)

  • 15.
  • At 12:15 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Amit wrote:

Surely Lasith Malinga must have had a ginger streak at some stage during his eternally changing styles and hair colors.

Like the post.

We could do a post on 'shortism' as well.

  • 16.
  • At 12:25 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • mr.juggy wrote:

James marshall brother of hamish marshall

  • 17.
  • At 01:21 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Would the vertically challenged football team not be better described as half a decent team?

  • 18.
  • At 01:28 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • sean wrote:

stop with the ginger sledging

  • 19.
  • At 01:32 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Fed Up wrote:

and we the licence fee payes are paying for this!

  • 20.
  • At 01:36 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Clara wrote:

Where's Eoin Morgan? You need some more pretty in the Gingers XI.

Where's bully boy Hayden? He'll make it an XI

  • 22.
  • At 01:58 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Tim Price wrote:

If you swap the word "ginger" for the word "black" in this article, then perhaps you can see how offensive it is. Or perhaps not.

  • 23.
  • At 01:59 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Kiwi Si wrote:

The obvious ommision is the Australian ginger in denial. Michael Clarke who uses more bottle bleach than Ian Bell.

  • 24.
  • At 02:37 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Gooze wrote:

How is this in anyway demeaning? The whole point of the article is that the World Cup has been a "very good tournament" for gingers or redheads or whatever you want to say. They are only being singled out because they have done well. If this was an article saying how well the black players had done at this World Cup would it be racist? Of course not, they are being praised. So why doesn't everyone who's been sledging this article look at it for what it really is, a compliment.

  • 25.
  • At 02:42 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Touchy Feely wrote:

Comparing a bit of jesting at the expense of red-heads and racism against black people has to be one of the most ludicrous comments seen on a message board in some time. Some people need to chill...

  • 26.
  • At 02:48 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Astonished wrote:

I can not believe some people are comparing this issue to racism. It simply cannot be compared to hundreds of years of slavery and persecution and doing so trivialises the suffering of many millions.

As the recent bicentenary of the abolition of slavery has highlighted, such persecution is not confined to the history books. Many different groups of peoples continue to suffer at the hands of corrupt governments and the like. I doubt that "red-headed people" are among them.

Most "ginger" comments, including the above article, are meant tongue-in-cheek. Likewise are comments made about many other characteristics such as left-handedness (a group to which I belong).

There is a lot more that can be done to reduce "genuine" racism across the world. Perhaps viewing ourselves with a bit more humour would be a good first step...

  • 27.
  • At 03:00 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Nick Morrison wrote:

I've had a think about that vertically challenged World Cup XI. How about:

Sanath Jayasuriya, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Herschelle Gibbs, Ross Taylor, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Ashraful, Mark Boucher, Lasith Malinga, Agit Agarkar, Muttiah Muralitharan.

  • 28.
  • At 03:06 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • fionn wrote:

yes, it is abit of fun but if it was an article on 'the best cricket players with moles on their faces' i doubt there would be a very warm reception. i dont see why people should have to write this as if ginger people shouldnt be doing well which is what i have derived from the piece!

  • 29.
  • At 03:13 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

As i am a ginger i feel i can comment on this subject. anyone ginger who is offended by this should lighten up and be proud of your locks. yes it is gingerism but who cares? surely you can find something else to complain against. The only thing i would say is that kids can be very cruel sometimes and use it as a bullying tactic but apart from that its all a bit funny to me that people get offended by this.

  • 30.
  • At 03:34 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • dan wrote:

If they were insulting Gingers, it would be unfair.


But they aren't, they are having a bit of fun.

They could have a British Isles XI, an Asian XI, an African XI for any sport.

It's a bit of fun, not an insult!

  • 31.
  • At 03:44 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

When I wrote about gingerism this morning I did not compare it to rascism (nor would I), but it is an excuse to deride someone on the grounds of hair colour. Clever! The article may have been tongue-in-cheek but then I don't see why red haired people should be treated seperately. It is also nothing like being left-handed (a set I am also a member of).

  • 32.
  • At 03:44 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • maggi wrote:

I'd give anything for red/ginger/carrot coloured hair. I'm really envious of anyone with such locks. Cherish it! Most of the rest of us are just boring 'ol brown, or shades thereof. And, if it were combined with green eyes - well... better still.

  • 33.
  • At 04:01 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Divya wrote:

Is this an April Fool post or are there any secret cameras a la Big Brother?

Wow, a ginger XI...ok, I'm not ginger, I'm brunette, actually black hair...but a good diversion, and a nice topic of discussion....I was watching the Eng-Ireland game the other day and I could not believe how many gingers were playing for the Irish....besides Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, are there any other gingers in the England team?

What! Say it is'nt so ...! Professional Cricketers, bleach their entire natural [head of hair]too? ... for the love of God, what next? Hahahaha
Maggie, careful there young lady: "BROWN" is a central color or rather, [Middle Ground] in a spiritual sort of Joseph Campbell's, way. ; o )
Mags, are you note aware ... that [any shade] of mysterious, soothing [Green Eyes] can be had, in the wink of an eye? See your optomologist, [board certified] of course, of course!

  • 35.
  • At 04:58 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • annomomous wrote:

ive got red hair and im 13 years old and im sick of being bullied about it. Ive been called "ginger" soo many times. drives me crazy. Why cant people just call it red hair or red heads. In america they do that and i like going there cause they dont bully u about it unlike here.

  • 36.
  • At 06:21 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Tom Smith wrote:

The offensive part of this article is the fact that they are labelled "ginger" and not red haired. It is similar to calling a black person - coloured. Also, a lack of slavery does not mean it is ok to abuse.

  • 37.
  • At 06:40 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Mick wrote:

I really want to complain about this bigotry - it's not on, in my opinion. Look at this quote, for example: 'Others, who I won't name, would probably say their hair is more strawberry blond. They are fooling no-one.' In this day and age, how do you - or the BBC, for that matter - think you can get away with suggesting that it's almost a disability to have red hair? It's unbelievable!

Go on, call me sensitive if it makes you feel any better about yourself . . .

  • 38.
  • At 06:50 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Phil Herd wrote:

Would Collingwood really be imperious to ginger sledging. Didn't warne get to him during the ashes by questioning how deserving he was of an MBE. Surely a weak mind there. Otherwise genuis. I'm just disappointed I didn't think of it during a recent family gathering that was boring me.

  • 39.
  • At 07:33 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Joey wrote:

Half of those players don't have ginger hair!! Talk about scraping the barrell!!

  • 40.
  • At 07:59 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • chintaka wrote:

Martin Gough is just a journalist - no need to take him that seriously. He was probably just rambling on. After all when they did that, they just gave him publicity which he didn't deserve.

No need to get worked up over it.

Anyway, is Bret Lee's hair yellow by birth or is it bleached. I'm not very good at finding that out in Native Europeans.

  • 41.
  • At 08:33 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • James wrote:

As it appears ok to pick on the Gingers, can we have the best players waring a turban, or with a beard? Or is that racist?

  • 42.
  • At 08:58 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Phil Herd wrote:

Bearded xi - chris gayle, Inzamam, mohammed Yousef, Freddie, Harbejhan, monty, shahid afridi. Can i have former players or are we sticking to world cup squads, becausing it's missing a decent stumper.

  • 43.
  • At 09:01 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Phil Herd wrote:

forgot bill frindell as scorer

  • 44.
  • At 09:33 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • someone wrote:

i was really enjoying this world cup untill this derogatory article came up. Thanks for ruiing my world cup BBC

  • 45.
  • At 09:38 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Debbie wrote:

since when does hamish marshall have ginger hair?! the last time i checked it was dark brown!!!

  • 46.
  • At 10:16 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

"Someone" post 45... this article has ruined your world cup? Are you serious? Murder has been committed and you're crying over an April Fool... had your sensitive soul not taken that in?

Tim, Post 23... substitute the word "black" for "ginger" and the article would be less offensive than inaccurate ;-)

And as for the guy who suggests a left-handers XI (post 32), good idea... my suspicion it would be packed with top notch batsmen and a couple of decent spinners but where would the pace bowling threst come from? Suggesitons please...

  • 47.
  • At 10:53 PM on 01 Apr 2007,
  • sam wrote:

scotty styris is a proud ginger southern man....and what a gritty fellla he is.

Jeez!!!I can't believe there are people taking this as an attack on redheads! Do have a Guinness!

  • 49.
  • At 01:04 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • John wrote:

Ok folks, chill out- some blogs are serious, some deal with what we might talk about on the side of the pitch. Nice article! Good to see a few Irishmen in there (genetics are in our favour I guess), what about Eoin Morgan though?!

  • 50.
  • At 04:43 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Matt Downs wrote:

Nick Morrison - a vertically challenged XI without Ricky Ponting? Are you mad? Now there's an angry little man if ever there was one!

  • 51.
  • At 07:42 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • ralph brooker wrote:

Couldn't we slacken the "Barnet Rouge" theme and include Colin Miller and his 'coiffure bleu'. Wasn't there a Kenyan of yore with a carrot top?
This is a silly world cup.

  • 52.
  • At 07:44 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • ralph brooker wrote:

Isn't Andrew Symonds a 'barnet rouge' just itching to come out. This accolade might just enable him to 'fess up and bin the locks..

  • 53.
  • At 08:19 AM on 02 Apr 2007,
  • Ewen wrote:

I'm in India at the moment, and there's one person here who accuses me of being racist every time i say anything about a minority group...apparently you're not even allowed to mention the possibility of people being different to each other, or you get slated for 'categorising'.
Anyone who complains about this article is also being ridiculous. It isn't even offensive, for crying out loud. Devote your anti-racist effort to a worthwhile cause.
Also, Steve's comment in post 47 about how changing 'ginger' to 'black' would do little but make the article somewhat inaccurate...genius.

  • 54.
  • At 11:43 PM on 04 Apr 2007,
  • Anoyed wrote:

Very racist this is! stop callin red heads ginger. its red hair ! not ginger. red hair !! red red red hair. this is offensive material . should be banned.

  • 55.
  • At 01:40 AM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

come on guys be serious. This article is a bit of fun. It is in no way derogatory to people with ginger hair. In fact it is praising the performance of cricketers who happen to have ginger hair at this tournament.

The only problem people seem to have with the article is the use of the term ginger. I think the term red hair is totally innapropriate considering the fact that ginger hair is not red. Fire engines are red. now take one look at shaun pollocks hair and tell me its the colour of a fire engine. If your so upset by the colour of your hair dye it!!
Im so fed up of political correctness. You people who are offended by this article really need too chill out.

Another thing, people who consider this racism.....are you serious or have i fallen for a rediculous april fool??

  • 56.
  • At 09:47 AM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • David wrote:

What about a word for the 'strawberry blonds'

  • 57.
  • At 10:17 AM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • Kayfers wrote:

The article may be a bit of fun, but it is fun at the expense of someone else. As a father of two children frequently insulted in school (and by the media) because of their red hair, I can assure you that what is meant as harmless fun can be very hurtful.

A single comment may not be that offensive, but consider the cumulative effect of constant 'ginger / carrot top' comments! Trust me, it can be very distressing.

  • 58.
  • At 12:19 PM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • Neil Pickup wrote:

Some of these comments make me want to cry. "Gingerism" has precisely nothing to do with racism, as pointed out, because of the context it's situated in. No one ever got transported 7000 miles for being a redhead. There were never any laws passed compelling gingers to go to separate schools. Nobody ever forced gingers to only breed with other gingers (imagine that... actually, wait, that's how the O'Brien family clearly happened).

Myself and a friend actually had a discussion the other week about why all ginger footballers were central/defensive midfielders... we concluded it's because of the angry streak. Some of these responses probably justify that!

And by the way, I'm 100% Ginger & 100% Proud of it.

Now start worrying about things that actually matter!

  • 59.
  • At 03:06 PM on 05 Apr 2007,
  • David wrote:

Grey hair, long eyebrows, one eyebrow, nose hair, ear hair, no hair, mole hair (that's always a good one) they're all good for a joke! I know, I've got most of them! But remember it's only a joke - we don't have to get all self-righteous just because we can. Isn't there something more important going on?! I thought the article was well observed.

(58) NEIL: You're a blessed angel and by far, the smartest amongst [US] posters! What truly astonishes me is the fact, that [NO ONE] should be held accountable or worst yet, hatefully scorned for their natural looks re: COLOR of SKIN ...EYES ...HAIR! But, one main factor: CLIMATE ... CLIMATE ...CLIMATE!!! Now that I've made my point ... who dares TURN On ME?!! ; o ) My darlings ALL you're splendidly beautiful in your [OWN] unique special way! Be thankful will ya? BLESS YOU! Drinks on me LUVS and please do enjoy the sport of CRICKET. YES!
Best regards,

  • 61.
  • At 01:50 PM on 14 Apr 2007,
  • pingu wrote:

Great stuff - wish I'd thought of this before! Let's do a half-cast XI next.

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.