In a week which has seen him reveal a talent for the ukulele, England batsman Joe Root has shown off his creativity once more by dubbing team-mate James Taylor as ‘Scrappy Doo’.
For those short on years, Scrappy is Scooby Doo’s pint-sized nephew with the catchphrases of ‘let me at em’ and ‘puppy power’.
“He reminds me of Scrappy from Scooby-Doo ... he’s always nagging at your heels,” Sheffield’s Root said of his canine companion, after the pair saw off those pesky Sri Lankans on Thursday.
Taylor is not the first athlete to be compared to a cartoon character, though. In fact, he is in quite good company, as we find out.
Steve McManaman - Shaggy Rogers
As Scooby Doo’s languid sidekick, Shaggy was more interested in eating than solving mysteries, often slacking off. Go back a decade or more and Liverpool and England winger Steve McManaman was nicknamed ‘Shaggy’ owing to his resemblance to Rogers, although as an up-and-down, breathless winger, that was where the similarities ended.
Dennis Priestley - Dennis the Menace
Back in an era before darts was as mainstream as it is now, with its MVG this and Snakebite Wright that, Dennis ‘the menace’ Priestley was one of Phil Taylor’s main rivals. Taking the nickname from the Beano frontman, Yorkshireman Priestley still sports red and black hoops on stage, along with flights of the same colour. All that’s missing is the dog, Gnasher.
David Luiz - Sideshow Bob
It is fair to say PSG’s former Chelsea defender David Luiz is a recognisable player, most notably for his wild, corkscrew hair - a do which would have made Kevin Keegan cringe back in the day. The barnet has lent itself to the nickname ‘Sideshow Bob’, who was Krusty the Clown’s sidekick on the Simpsons. The comparison even helped him get out of a mess when he was accused of smirking in the wake of being the victim of a challenge from Manchester United’s Rafael, which saw the full-back sent off. Rather than laughing at tricking the referee, it was reported Luiz was chuckling at a ‘Sideshow Bob’ taunt from the stands.
Rob Burrow - Road Runner
Many will have seen the Looney Tunes rivalry of Wile E Coyote and the Roadrunner, with the former forever chasing the latter to limited success. The Roadrunner’s signature noise is ‘Beep Beep’, often before making an escape, and his speed over the ground saw Sky Sports TV pundit Mike ‘Stevo’ Stephenson compare him to Leeds’ mini half-back Rob Burrow. At 5ft 5in Burrow has slipped many a defender’s grasp and a common call from Stevo is “here goes beep beep”.
Andrew Flintoff - Fred Flintstone
Perhaps the most striking of the lot, former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is known universally as Freddie, to the point where the Andrew part of his name is virtually redundant. Called Freddie owing to the similarity of his surname to Flintstone, the larger-than-life Lancastrian was a crowd favourite wherever he went, often finding it hard to stay out of Barney Rubble, be it on a pedalo or at 10 Downing Street.