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Audi, Binga, Whispering Death, Chiku and… know the interesting story of nicknames of cricketers.


New Delhi. Players from the world of cricket or sports are often called by their colleagues and fans by their ‘nickname’. Sometimes these ‘shortnames’ of players become so popular that people start forgetting their original names. Generally, these ‘nicknames’ are given to a particular player due to their name being very long or due to their association with a particular event. For example, the name of former Team India cricketer Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman was very long. Due to his ‘size’ it was neither convenient to write on the scoreboard nor to be called, so he was called VVS Laxman, VVS or simply ‘Laxman’. Similarly, former Indian fast bowler Rudra Pratap Singh came to be known as RP Singh or simply ‘RP’ and Mahendra Singh Dhoni came to be known as MS Dhoni, MSD or Mahi.

Apart from this, the nicknames received by some players also remind of some incident related to them. For example, Australia’s Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh are twin brothers. Since Mark is a few seconds younger than Steve, he got the name ‘Junior’. His two other nicknames are ‘Afghan’ and ‘Audi’. The story behind both these names given to Mark Waugh, ‘Binga’ to former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee and ‘Whispering Death’ given to West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding is also interesting.

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Audi got its name because of four consecutive ‘ducks’
Steve Waugh was called ‘Tugga’ by his fellow players. He got this name because of playing tough cricket. ‘Tugga’ is actually a game of tug of war. The reason behind his twin brother Mark Waugh getting the nicknames ‘Afghan’ and ‘Audi’ is interesting. Steve got a chance to make his international debut in December 1985, while Mark, despite being talented, had to wait till 1988. At one time it seemed that time was running out for Mark and he was fighting a ‘losing battle’. At that time in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union (now Russia) army was fighting against the Mujahideen. There is a common belief about Afghanistan that whatever army goes to war here, it gets defeated due to the complex geographical situation. During that period, Mark Waugh’s claim for the entry of the Australian team was also taken as a ‘losing bet’ and he got the name ‘Afghan’. Similarly, in two consecutive Tests held in Colombo and Moratuwa in August-September 1992, Mark could not open his account in both the innings. His score in both the tests was -0, 0, 0, 0. Because there are four zeros (0) intertwined in the Audi logo. Mark got the nickname ‘Audi’ for four ‘ducks’.

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This is why Brett Lee was called ‘Binga’

After Shoaib Akhtar, the second fastest bowler in the world, Brett Lee of Australia, got the nickname of ‘Binga’. The story behind getting this name is also interesting. Brett Lee comes from New South Wales state of Australia where the electric company ‘Bing Lee’ has many stores. In such a situation, Brett was first called ‘Bing’ and later he came to be known as ‘Binga’. Brett Lee was once inadvertently given the nickname ‘Oswald’ by his captain Steve Waugh. Steve was reading the batting order of a match in which Brett was to come to bat after Shane Lee (Brett Lee’s cricketer brother) and Ian Harvey. In such a situation, Steve read the batting order as ‘Lee, Harvey, Oswald’ instead of ‘Lee, Harvey, Lee’. Then what happened, Brett Lee got another nickname ‘Oswald’. Let us tell you, in the year 1963, former American President John F Kennedy was assassinated by a person named Lee Harvey Oswald. Similarly, Australian legend Andrew Symonds (late) was popular with the name Roy in the sports world. His childhood coach called him by this name for the first time. Actually, Symonds looked like former basketball player Leroy Loggins. That’s why he got this nickname.

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Holding was called ‘Whispering Death’ by Dickie Word.,

Michael Holding was synonymous with the fear of famous batsmen around the world due to his fast bowling. His bowling action was very smooth. Due to this natural action, the balls of the tall holding had tremendous speed. Famous umpire Dickie Word gave Holding the nickname ‘Whispering Death’ for his smooth and quiet run up. Holding also named his autobiography ‘Whispering Death’. Apart from this, Holding was also called by the name ‘Mikey’.

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Virat got the nickname ‘Chiku’ from coach Ajit Chaudhary.

Famous cricketers nickname, Mark Waugh, Brett Lee, Michael Holding, Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble

Team India’s star batsman Virat Kohli got the nickname ‘Chiku’ in his early days. ‘Chiku’ was actually the name of the popular rabbit character of the old children’s magazine Champak. Virat had told the interesting story behind him getting this name in a program. Virat had told that during his domestic cricket days, he once got such a haircut that his ears started appearing big. Virat’s then assistant coach Ajit Chaudhary thought these ears were like those of the comic character Cheeku. What happened next, his coach and teammates started calling him ‘Chiku’. This name became very popular after Virat joined Team India. Virat had once told, ‘While setting the field, MS Dhoni used to call me ‘Chiku’ – ‘Chiku, come a little ahead, Chiku, move a little to the side.’ In such a situation, the name ‘Chiku’ became popular among the fans also.

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Navjot Sidhu had given the name ‘Jumbo’ to Kumble.

Anil Kumble is the highest wicket taker for India in Test cricket. Legbreak bowler Kumble, after taking 619 wickets in Tests, also took 337 wickets in ODIs. Many of Kumble’s balls were quite fast. This bowler from Karnataka was also successful in achieving a lot of bounce. That’s why he got the nickname ‘Jumbo’. Anil Kumble once told during a conversation that former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu had given him this name. Kumble had told, ‘I was playing in a Irani Trophy match at the Firaz Shah Kotla ground while Sidhu was at mid-on. When my ball came out bouncing fast, he said – Jumbo jet. Later it changed from ‘Jumbo Jet’ to ‘Jumbo’ and my teammates started calling me by this name.

Nicknames of some other famous cricketers
Shahid Afridi: Boom-boom Afridi, Lala
James Anderson: Burnley Lara, Burnley Express
Ian Botham: Beefy
Michael Clarke: Pup, Clarkie
Alastair Cook: Chef, Captain Cook
Arvind D’Silva: Mad Max
Ellen Donald: White Lightning
Joel Garner: Big Bird
Jason Gillespie: Dizzy
Clive Lloyd: Super Cat

tag: Anil Kumble, brett lee, Navjot Singh Sidhu, steve waugh, Virat Kohli

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