No 24: Beards, moustaches and other facial features

A wicket falls. You sit on the boundary edge wondering who is next out to bat, when a bearded (drooping well below the chin) man strides nonchalantly to the crease. The beard has given him power, and you the confidence that runs are a purposeful obligation to this guy, with the expectation of glorious strokes and longevity. Whilst length of beard has yet to equate to amount of runs scored in cricket – and believe me, it’s only a matter of time – a trio of cricket warriors have already paved the way for generations of bearded stars.

William Gilbert Grace – better known as W.G. – the man dubbed as “bringing cricket to the masses” is arguably the most well-known and most influential of our bearded clientele. A first-class average of 39.45; a figure to be taken with the smallest pinch of salt once you’ve digested his 542111 first-class runs, including 124 centuries and 251 half-tons, up until the modest age of 60 years old, and a well-deserved rest.

Fast forward 150 years or so, and to one of the finest batsman of the modern generation, Hashim Amla. Of Indian descent, but born in Durban, the South African has amassed almost 6000 Test runs at an average of 51.34, with an ODI average even greater than that. In stark contrast to the top of his head, Amla’s bears holds style ad substance, to match the elegance and sophistication held in his strokeplay, none more so than the unbeaten 311 he hit for his country against England at the Oval in 2012.

The final leg of our trio is a man called Moeen Ali, a cricketer seldom known outside of the English county circuit, although he has flirted with the tinges of the international arena. The Englishman has been dubbed as the ‘beard that’s feared’ by his county, and around the game, with a plethora of runs for Worcestershire in the County Championship, as well as having a handy knack of chipping in with key wickets with the ball.

However, alongside the fantastic facials, we’ve been faced with some frankly farcical fashion faux pas across recent times (easy for you to say). Whilst the Movember (No shave November) tradition has proven to be a worldwide hit, and raised money for great causes, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson have proven themselves to be fine examples of where it doesn’t really work. The worst bit is, they’re still continuing. It’s January.

But anyway, enough with the doom and gloom, and rejoice in the glorious nature of the good old-fashioned beard. Tweet me (Ross Lawson) at @RossLawson03 for any more honourable mentions of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly beards, moustaches and other facial features.

Honourable mentions: Daniel Vettori, Matt Prior, Ian Botham, Saeed Anwar, Mike Brearley (the Ayatollah!), Geoff Miller (for being different and clean-shaven!)

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