I figured that the cricinfo audience needed some education on the mythological beast that is Dirty Dirk Nannes.
The problem with being an underground cult figure is that myth and truth can develop until the average cricket fan gets everything confused. I’ve been following Dirk since before the Dutch team came calling for him. I’ve been there when he has bowled in front of a handful of people at the MCG and at Lord’s. I saw his wet Australian Twenty20 debut. So it is up to me to sort out the truth from the fiction.
Myth: He once strangled a bear with his own hands. (It was a lion. But he didn’t kill it, not because he couldn’t, but because killing a lion to prove how strong you are is not cool.)
Truth: He plays the saxophone. John Coltrane once came back from the dead and clapped at Dirk’s rendition of “Alabama”. Normal people would have been freaked out by this, but Dirk is not afraid of ghosts.
Myth: Virender Sehwag cried the first time he saw Dirk bowl in the nets. (Virender Sehwag is too tough to cry, even in happiness.)
Truth: Dirk’s family is Dutch and his father was the inspiration for the Austin Powers character Goldmember.
Myth: His parents are not his real parents; they were actually explorers who were hiking up the Ural Mountains in Russia when they found a cave to have some lunch in. While looking for a nice rock to put their basket on, they found Dirk trapped in ice. (As if Dirk could come from something that sounds like a Pauly Shore film.)
Truth: Dirk is a gifted mogul skier. Although I have never seen him ski and know nothing about mogul skiing, I would say that Dirk is probably the best skier ever, and if he had been in Vancouver he would probably have won like six gold medals. Maybe seven.
Myth: Dirk can speak Japanese. (He doesn’t need to speak Japanese. When he is in Japan he converses with people by playing the saxophone; he is such an emotive player, the Japanese understand him straight away.)
Truth: Even before he became a famous cricketer, lovers of hirsute males would come by his house, as, in 2003, his beard was ranked seventh-best in Melbourne.
Myth: Clint Eastwood travelled forward in time to meet Dirk so he could base the man with no name on him. (Of course that didn’t happen, it is impractical.)
Truth: The Netherlands team briefly thought about not playing in orange as they thought it might emasculate Dirk, but once he was in uniform, they realised it made him even more scary.
Myth: Dirk is a handy batsman who can be relied upon for a plucky 40.
Truth: The ICC rigged the last World Twenty20 so that Dirk could bowl the first ball. They knew that the tournament was stupid and only Dirk could save it.
Myth: The reason that Dirk is such a bad fielder is because no one has ever had the guts to tell him.
Truth: Dirk also plays the harpsichord.
Myth: Dirk quit first-class cricket because he doesn’t like to see a batsman he has just hit stain his whites with blood.
Truth: Dirk is the new CB Fry.