High Fives

A whole new world of cricket

Magical matches? Fairy-tale finishes? In a game where anything is possible, every XI could use a bit of stardust

Anuj Vignesh  |  

Get your game face on

Get your game face on © Getty Images

We scouted Pride Rock, Agrabah and even the inside of a human brain to find five characters who could fit right into the magical, whimsical, absurd and mostly incomprehensible game that we all hate to love.

Scar, The Lion King
Scar may have committed fratricide to become the ruler of the Pride Lands, but you can't doubt he has the tactical acumen and uncanny ability to inspire even the least promising to greatness.

There is no stone Scar won't turn, no loophole he won't exploit, and no expendable fielder he won't emotionally manipulate in order to achieve his goals. Gifted with the most cunning of tongues and a seductively devious voice, he can sway anyone within earshot - a handy weapon during close lbw shouts that may otherwise be left to the judgement of technology.

With Scar involved, every match is a cliffhanger

With Scar involved, every match is a cliffhanger © Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

While he isn't a crowd pleaser, Scar is meticulous, carefully reading the weather and conditions to eliminate the biggest threats in the game. His wily wristwork (on the cliffs) even earned him the prized scalp of Mufasa.

There is no easy way out against him. You'll have to be prepared for anything and everything. If Scar is your opponent, it means worries for the rest of your days.

Jack-Jack Parr, The Incredibles
Every team needs a bits-and-pieces player, so why not select someone who happens to be a jack of all trades and also master of them?

The baby of his incredible superhero fam, Jack-Jack is too unpredictable to prepare for. One minute he's an innocent toddler struggling to hold the bat. The next, he's the devil himself, gobbling up bowlers for fun.

A DRS review, you say?

A DRS review, you say? © Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

It's debatable just how much impact one person can have on a team, but Jack-Jack alone with his wide array of (ever-growing) gifts is worth his weight in solid gold. On the field, he has every boundary covered, multiplying himself if need be to cut off all gaps. And with teleportation and levitation, he'll take all those gravity-defying catches.

Jack-Jack can stare down and take out any batsman, using laser eyes and x-ray vision to cut through their defences. He can make a mockery of spinners and seamers alike, his telekinesis allowing him to manipulate the ball in favoured trajectories. Be warned: if you try to mankad him, it will not be like trying to take candy from a baby.

Nobody knows Jack-Jack's next move. Not his coach, not his team-mates, not Jack-Jack himself. Not even Jofra Archer.

Understandably, that kind of uncertainty can throw a team's balance out of order, but even so, Jack-Jack is an incredible gamble worth taking.

Magic Carpet, Aladdin
No match-winning side is complete without its reliable lieutenant - the senior statesman who can follow orders and deliver in every game, no questions asked.

Smart, experienced and unabashedly loyal, Aladdin's magic carpet ticks all the right boxes for that role. Besides, who better to groom the youngsters and raise team morale than the sentient rug that has seen and lived through it all?

Having already spent centuries in the cave of wonders without ever being tempted to take any of the treasure for itself, Carpet has the required skill set for the hardships of Test cricket, capable of withstanding long hours at the crease, with no thought to personal gain.

Mat winner: Carpet is the kind of floater you want in your team

Mat winner: Carpet is the kind of floater you want in your team © Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

Carpet is equally capable of picking up the pace when needed in white-ball cricket, zooming between the wickets for that extra run (and we all know how crucial an extra run can be).

Carpet is also the world's best wingman and nightwatchman, having stood guard for Aladdin and Princess Jasmine through several testing situations. If you've ever had a team-mate like him, chances are your side will be flying high in no time

Remy and Linguini, Ratatouille
What are the ingredients that go into making a great cricketer? A dash of courage, a dollop of mental strength, a spoonful of technique, and just a teeny-tiny pinch of madness, for starters.

Cricket really should be a piece of cake for the extraordinarily gifted rat Remy, who has won over sceptics in Paris' cutthroat culinary scene.

Remy's creativity and imagination are only kept in check by the constraints of his physical self. But pair him with the equally hungry and kind-hearted chef Linguini and they can win you the Test Championship.

There's room for more than one Cook in cricket

There's room for more than one Cook in cricket © Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

Remy has already proved he works well with Linguini, directing him like a marionette while hiding under Linguini's chef's hat. Staying under a helmet may not be nearly as comfortable, but Remy is all about adjusting and adapting.

The two might not provide explosive starts or rack up giant scores with the bat, but they can be counted on to produce low, yet match-winning, contributions down the order.

Remy can also be crafty with the ball, dishing up a surprise for the batsman every delivery. With his rodent reflexes and keen sense of smell, he will even make sure Linguini has the safest pair of hands in the game - quickly sniffing out the incoming ball and directing his human friend to pull off several blinders close in.

If cricket has proved anything, it's that there's always room for little masters.

Joy, Inside Out
The long hours, high-pressure matches, and the constant media scrutiny of the game can wear even the toughest down. But not Joy, the endlessly upbeat emotion living inside the brain of 11-year-old Riley in the 2015 Pixar animation film.

Her fierce optimism and self-belief mean that no target is out of reach, and no total too low to defend. Joy will play her cricket with a smile, completely unfazed by the potential riches of success and the possible heartbreaks of failure. And her positivity will only spread all around, to team-mates and opponents alike - perhaps a solution to sledging in the game?

Would you sledge that face?

Would you sledge that face? © Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

That is not to say Joy isn't capable of making tough choices. Whether it's "sacrificing" an imaginary friend, like Bing Bong, embracing her own inner sadness, or running out her partner to keep the strike, Joy will do whatever is needed for the greater good.

She isn't a total unknown in the world of sport either, having managed Riley to school-level hockey glory. Now that she is changing tracks, expect her to turn the world of cricket inside out.