“It’s actually a cricket article,” they said.
Of all the sentences in the English language, "Brett Lee has a band called Six & Out” is perhaps the most hilarious. Yet as my laptop overheats with the exertion of pumping ‘Can't Throw, Can't Bowl’ from its tinny speakers, I'm not laughing. Partially it's because I know, deep down, that Shoaib Akhtar could never pull off backing vocals this good. But mostly it's because of what you see when you pause the video. There's a knowing look in Brett's eyes, like he's saying... no, like he's teaching us something.
"Cricket is more than just cricket!" he's saying, and the truth is as much. As Australia and Sri Lanka prepare to clash once more during the upcoming Commonwealth Bank One Day International series, it won't just be the players donning pads in the dressing room. In fact, it's British house wizards Basement Jaxx that will be first — and last — to approach the stumps.
“Felix [Buxton] and myself will be DJing, with Vula on vocals," says Simon Ratcliffe regarding the duo's One Day debut. "We'll play the songs people know, of course, but as we're in the middle of a new album at the moment we'll also premiere a few of the new tracks."
With Cricket Australia also announcing Sneaky Sound System and others to perform at other ODIs this summer, you get the feeling that the upcoming series will be nearly as big as the swelling around Sangakkara's broken hand. But then that's the whole point.
"We want to turn the One Day game into Australia's biggest party," says Ben Amarfio, Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager for Marketing, Digital & Communications. "When people think of summer they conjure up notions of being outdoors, of being with your mates. The sounds of summer are aligned with cricket."
This summer, Ben would like for nothing more than for all of us to don a watermelon hat and get involved. Actually, he's deadly serious about the watermelon hat.
"We want to add more spice to things this year, so we're encouraging people to dress up. There'll be a $10,000 prize for the best-dressed."
After listening to Ben's unabridged list of "Crazy Stuff Appearing At The Cricket This Year", I begin to wonder if there will be any cricket played at all. Between the bands, fireworks, and people wearing various fruits on their heads, will there be any time left for Warner to score a run?
"If you're a traditionalist or a purist, you're always going to have the Test form of the game. But the One Day form is all about entertainment. That's why we're excited that Basement Jaxx and other bands have been so quick to jump on board. We're excited to make this form of the game an event — what the audience wants is a big day out."
But what about Brett Lee; what does he want? Luckily he was kind of enough to give me a call. Not once did I ask how many Weet-Bix he eats.
"When I'm watching a game I want music, fireworks, crowd participation... I want to be entertained. That's what Cricket Australia is doing now, and I think they're doing a good job. They've got to go to these lengths to ensure people are having fun right until the last run is scored."
After a few minutes I realise that Brett and I are talking about two entirely different things. I'm asking about cricket, but he seems to be telling me about this mystic ritual performed by enlightened Australians who just happen to be holding cricket bats.
"Cricket is Australia's number one game. If you think about summer, you think about a BBQ in your backyard and a game of cricket. Our role as players past and present is to make sure that cricket remains a part of our culture, that the younger generations don't drift away from a pastime so embedded within our cultural identity."
Speaking of which, it sounds like Simon from Basement Jaxx would also relish the thought of embedding himself within our cultural identity, not that it would ever happen. I'm not sure he'd make it as an Australian.
“This would have been a hard gig to turn down when you know it’s going to be cold and dark in UK! Plus I've never been to a cricket match so really looking forward to the experience.”
Basement Jaxx will perform at the One Day International between Australia and Sri Lanka at the Gabba Friday January 18. cricket.com.au