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

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
9 Min Read

New Delhi. Players from the world of cricket or sports are often called by their 'nickname' by their colleagues and fans. Sometimes these 'shortnames' of players become so popular that people start forgetting their original names. These 'nicknames' are usually given to a particular player because their name is too long or because it is associated 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 call him, so he came to be 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.

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Apart from this, the nicknames given to some players also remind us 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 gets the name 'Junior'. His two other nicknames are 'Afghan' and 'Audi'. The story behind the names 'Binga' given to Mark Waugh, 'Binga' given 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 from 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 the chance to make his international debut in December 1985, while Mark, despite being talented, had to wait until 1988. At one time it seemed that time was running out for Mark and he was fighting a 'losing battle'. At that time, the Soviet Union (now Russia) army was fighting against the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. There is a common belief about Afghanistan that whatever army goes to war here, it loses due to the complex geographical situation. During that time, Mark Waugh's claim for entry in the Australian team was also taken as a 'lost 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 in the Audi logo there are four zeros (0) connected to each other. Mark got the nickname 'Audi' for the four 'ducks'.

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That's why Brett Lee was called 'Binga'

Australia's Brett Lee, the world's second fastest bowler after Shoaib Akhtar, got the nickname 'Binga'. The story behind getting this name is also interesting. Brett Lee comes from the state of New South Wales in 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 called 'Binga'. Brett Lee was once unknowingly nicknamed 'Oswald' by his captain Steve Waugh. Steve was reading the batting order of a match in which Brett was 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'. What happened next, 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 famous by the name Roy in the sports world. His childhood coach called him by this name for the first time. In fact, Simmonds looked a lot like former basketball player Leroy Loggins. That's why he got this nickname.

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The 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 quite smooth. Due to this natural action the long holding balls had tremendous speed. The famous umpire Dickie Word gave Holding the nickname 'Whispering Death' for his smooth and quiet run up. Holding also titled his autobiography 'Whispering Death'. Apart from this, Holding was also called by the name 'Mickey'.

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Virat got the nickname 'Chiku' from coach Ajit Chaudhary.

Team India's star batsman Virat Kohli was nicknamed 'Chiku' in his early days. 'Chiku' was actually the name of the popular rabbit character from 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 looking bigger. Virat's then assistant coach Ajit Chaudhary felt that these ears were like the ears of the comic character Chiku. What happened next, his coach and teammates started calling him 'Chiku'. This name became quite 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 forward Chiku, move a little to the side.' In such a situation, the name 'Chiku' also became popular among the fans.

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Navjot Sidhu had named Kumble as 'Jumbo'.

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 very fast. This Karnataka bowler 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 this name was given to him by former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu. Kumble had told, 'I was playing in the Irani Trophy match at the Firaz Shah Kotla ground, while Sidhu was at mid-on. When my ball bounced fast and came out, he said – Jumbo Jet. Later it changed from 'Jumbo Jet' to 'Jumbo' and my colleagues 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: Muscular
Michael Clarke: Pup, Clarkie
Alistair Cook: Chef, Captain Cook
Aravind D'Silva: Mad Max
Ellen Donald: White Lightning
Joel Garner: Big Bird
Jason Gillespie: Dizziness
Clive Lloyd: Super Cat

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

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