Hoodoo (also Rabbit or Bunny) is a specific slang term by which a loser batsman is called in cricket. Unlike just unprofessional or unlucky batsmen who can still boast positive statistics, Hoodoo is very easy to disable on the first serve.
As a rule, the role of Hoodoo is played by professional bowlers who, for one reason or another, were forced to take the place of a player with a bat (for example, if all the batsmen of his team left the field). And although the real reason for their mediocre performances lies in a simple lack of relevant skills, this does not prevent sports journalists from regularly updating lists of the worst Hoodoos of all time.
The second meaning of Hoodoo has an even more offensive subtext since it implies a professional batsman who regularly suffers from the serves of a particular bowler (in this case, there is a play on words – “rabbit” does not mean an animal as such, but affectionate treatment, which is usually used in relation to a girl or girlfriend).
It is not surprising that for the second type of Hoodoo, changing an unfavorable trend becomes a matter of honor, but it is not always possible to do this.
- Clarrie Grimmett and Wally Hammond. Hammond was one of the most notable batsmen of the late 20s of the last century. He was famous not only for his stability, but also for his delivered strike, which caused a lot of trouble for the Australian national team. Unsurprisingly, many bowlers were looking for the key to his defense, which Grimmett eventually managed to do, sending the Englishman out a total of five times (four of them in a row) in the first six innings in test matches.
- Alec Bedser and Arthur Morris. The great Don Bradman called Morris the best batsman of his time, and Bedser the most difficult bowler he had ever encountered. Indeed, the latter caused a lot of trouble for Morris, sending him out a total of 18 times in 21 test matches, which is why the Australian media even gave him the nickname Morris Scarecrow. The Englishman became almost the only bowler who managed to find a loophole in Arthur’s defense: realizing that the gap between Leg stump and Middle stump was a potentially vulnerable zone for the opponent, he tried to direct the balls into this sector.
- Fred Trueman and Polly Umrigar. The Indian is still considered one of the best batsmen of the country in history, but his statistics against Trueman look really hopeless. One of Polly’s colleagues recalled such an episode: “I remember he backed away so much that he almost bumped into Tony Lock, who said to him: “Hey, Polly, back up. I can’t see the bowler because of you!” In the 1952 test series, Trueman sent the Indian out four times, with three of them ending in the wicket knocked out, and once the wicket-keeper even received minor damage. The next meeting of the opponents in 1959 also almost turned into a disaster for Polly, however, fortunately, in the last inning he was confronted by another bowler, and he was able to make a century, rehabilitated in the eyes of the fans.
- Fred Titmus and Graeme Pollock. The South African honestly admitted that Titmus was one of the most uncomfortable opponents in his entire career. Regardless of the score on the scoreboard, Fred almost always managed to send him out: starting from the first meeting in the 1964-1965 test series, he repeatedly took the representative of South Africa out of the game already in the first inning.
- Eknath Solkar and Geoff Boycott. Cricket historians call this Hoodoo perhaps the most atypical of all. Even though Solkar can not be attributed to ultra-fast bowlers, as part of the tour of the Indian national team to England in 1974, he caused a lot of trouble to Boycott. It all started with a provocation: Ashok Mankad, pointing to Geoff who was not in crisis, promised to buy Solkar a pint of beer if he managed to send him out. Eknath not only successfully coped with the task, but also organized another out for Boycott a week later, and later did it twice more. It is difficult to say how much this affected the Englishman, but soon he took a long vacation and did not go on the field for three years.
- Wasim Akram and Krishnamachari Srikkanth. For the first time, the paths of the players crossed in the 1986-1987 series. Even though the Indian venues hosting the matches were much more suited to Krishnamachari’s playing style, Akram was able to send him out three times. However, the real nightmare for Shrikkanth was the 1989-1990 series, when the Pakistani, who was at his peak, forced him to make a spade several times in a row, without giving him the slightest opportunity to perform at least one run.
- Terry Alderman and Graham Gooch. The Englishman was famous for his reliability and heavy hand, but in the Ashes series of 1989, the Australians put up a universal weapon against him – Terry Alderman, who used an extremely inconvenient blow for Gooch (Drive through On side), forcing him to make a spade several times. As a result, the English press even questioned the integrity of the umpires, however, as the final minutes showed, all decisions were made within the rules.
- Glenn McGrath and Michael Atherton. The Englishman had to play in a difficult period for the national team. McGrath was not his only offender: at various times, representatives of the West Indies national team Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh sent him out a total of seventeen times. However, Glenn surpassed both of them by doing the same thing as many as 19 times! In the matches where McGrath and Atherton clashed, the statistics of the latter were simply catastrophic: for example, if in 16 test matches the Englishman managed to score a total of 1223 runs and ten fifty, then in 17 matches where Glenn opposed him, these figures dropped to 677 and 5, respectively. The maximum that Michael was able to show in these confrontations was 77 runs.
- Shane Warne and Daryll Cullinan. This confrontation is rightfully considered one of the most dramatic in the Hoodoo list of all time. Cullinan never managed to “read” Warne and find arguments against his serves, although they repeatedly crossed on the playing field. In the seven test matches where the South African was opposed by Warne, his statistics amounted to a modest 12.75, and in each subsequent series, he politely informed the batsman that he could not wait for the next meeting to beat him again.
- Harbhajan Singh and Ricky Ponting. The great Australian has never hidden that Singh “caused him a lot of grief.” Even in the early 2000s, when Ponting’s career was on the rise, the Indian literally did not let him breathe: in all the matches in which he opposed Ricky, he spent a total of about an hour on the field, and some of the outs turned out to be truly shameful. In the future, Ponting managed to slightly improve this statistic, but he never rose above the 30.64 mark.
This is interesting: the term Ferret, which is close in meaning to Hoodoo, means a batsman, against which a “rabbit” may seem like a real master. Both characteristics are quite offensive and come from the popular hunting saying in the past “to send in a ferret after the rabbits”.