50 Best Cricketer Nicknames with a Story Behind it

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50 Best Cricketer Nicknames with a Story Behind it

Nicknames: At any level of cricket we’ll have probably earned at least one of these but which are the best nicknames on the professional circuit?

English Cricketers’ Nicknames

1. Phil Tufnel: Cat

There were a number of theories circulating about this nickname. Some suggest that it’s an ironic take on Tufnell’s lack of ability in the field.

The reality is that England’s former left arm spinner simply used to sleep a lot in the dressing room – just like a cat.

2. Alastair Cook: Chef

This is just a simple play on words – Cook = Chef

cricketers nicknames

3. Robin Smith: The Judge

This is a reference to Robin Smith’s distinctive hairstyle. It’s tight and curly and rather resembles a judge’s wig.

4. Michael Vaughan: Virgil

This is based on Vaughan’s resemblance to a Thunderbird puppet of the same name.

5. Steven Finn: The Watford Wall

England fast bowler Steven Finn drew an unlikely comparison with Rahul Dravid when he played a vital role for his country with the bat. In a test against New Zealand in 2013, Finn came in as a nightwatchman and survived for a hugely impressive 203 balls.

6. Derek Underwood: Deadly

Those who remember watching Derek Underwood will recall that he came across as quite a mild mannered left arm spinner. The nickname ‘Deadly’, therefore has an ironic tone attached to it.

7. Ashley Giles: The King of Spain

Another English left arm spinner acquired what must be one of the most curious nicknames of all time. It came along after some mugs were commissioned as merchandise by his county Warwickshire.

Intended to reference Giles as the King of Spin, he was suddenly installed as the King of Spain owing to a misprint.

8. Andrew Flintoff: The Fredalo

Andrew Flintoff was commonly known as Freddie as a direct reference to Fred Flinstone. After an infamous incident with a pedalo at the 2007 World Cup, he gained a new nickname.

9. Derek Randall: Arkle

Due to his legendary speed in the field


Australian Cricketers’ Nicknames

10. Ricky Ponting: Punter

Some nicknames, including this one, are rather obvious. The name ‘Punter’ was attached to Ricky Ponting simply because the former Australian skipper used to like to have a bet.

11. Allan Border: Captain Grumpy

When Australian skipper Allan Border saw his team lose the Ashes in 1985, he felt that he had become a little too friendly with the opposition. The likes of Ian Botham and David Gower were sociable individuals and Border got sucked into their environment.

He decided to employ a harder edge when the team returned to England in 1989. In doing so, Border earned the nickname Captain Grumpy but he also started a new era for Australian cricket.

12. Michael Hussey: Mr Cricket

This name was levelled at Hussey due to his all-embracing love of the game. The man himself says he doesn’t like it but is aware that by displaying that dislike, he hears it more often.

13. Ian Chappell: Chappelli

Ian Chappell often played in the same Australian side as his brother Greg. To distinguish the two, his first initial was added to his surname.

It was coined when he was shown on the scoreboard as Chappell I.

14. Jason Gillespie: Dizzy

Some nicknames are very simple in their application. Often, you will see a player with a certain surname linked to another popular celebrity with the same name.

In this case, Australia’s fast bowler earns the nickname of Dizzy, thanks to the great jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie.

15. Michael Clarke: Pup

Purely because of Michael Clarke’s youthful appearance when he was called into the Australian set up, he was given the nickname Pup.

16. Glenn McGrath: Pigeon

Due to his slight frame and spindly legs, Aussie seamer Glenn McGrath earned the rather unfortunate nickname of Pigeon.

Glenn McGrath

17. Adam Gilchrist: Churchy

Adam Gilchrist wore this nickname on his shirt when Australia played New Zealand in the first ever T20 international. It recalls an occasion when a young souvenir hunter came up to him and said:

‘Excuse me Eric Gilchurch’ can I have your autograph?

18. Mark Waugh: Afghanistan

Afghanistan was a ‘forgotten war’ and this is why the nickname is used. Mark Waugh is often overlooked in favour of his more successful sibling Steve.

Mark Waugh

Indian Cricketers’ Nicknames

19. Sachin Tendulkar: The Little Master / Master Blaster

A number of players from bygone days have been known as the Master. Due to his diminutive stature, Sachin Tendulkar was referred to as the Little Master. Recently he is also called Master Blaster.

20. Harbhajan Singh: Bhaji

Bhaji is simply a common nickname for Harbhajan in India.

21. Rahul Dravid: The Wall

A simple nickname that described Dravid’s obdurate approach at the crease. The Wall works perfectly for a brilliant batsman whose strike rate headed below 43 over a long test career.

22. MS Dhoni: Thala

Thala, short for Thalaiva (Leader), means ‘Head’ in the Tamil language.

23. Shikhar Dhawan: Gabbar

Dhawan is named after an infamous Bollywood character

24. Ravindra Jadeja: Sir Jadeja

25. Sourav Ganguly: Prince of Kolkata

26. Mohammad Kaif: Kaifu

27. Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Bhuvi

28. Yuzvendra Chahal: Yuzi

29. VVS Laxman: Very Very Special

West Indies Cricketers’ Nicknames

30. Clive Lloyd: Super Cat

31. Chris Gayle: Universe Boss

West Indian batting legend Chris Gayle has earned a number of nicknames in his time but this one seems to have stuck. Being the Universe Boss suggests that Gayle is the best on the planet and beyond.

32. Viv Richards: The Master Blaster

I’ve also heard Chris Gayle called by this name but for me, there will only ever be one Master Blaster. The name itself derives from the type of music machine that people tended to carry around in the 1980s. They were huge, cumbersome things but they blasted out the tunes and that was all that mattered.

As for Viv, he was a Master of his art and liked to Blast the ball all around the ground.

33. Michael Holding: Whispering Death

This name references fast bowler Michael Holding’s languid run up to the crease. He moved very steadily and with no great speed in the run up but he let the ball go at an incredible pace.

There was danger in those deliveries too, hence the nickname ‘Whispering Death’

34. Joel Garner: Big Bird

Another West Indian fast bowler, Joel Garner was a giant of a man and that was part of the reason for this curious nickname. In the children’s TV series Sesame Street, a popular character was known as Big Bird and that’s how the link was made.

35. Dave Mohammed: Tadpole

As a kid Dave Mohammed loved to catch fish and play with the tadpoles in the water, and that early hobby simply stuck with him through his cricket career.

36. Fidel Edwards: Castro

Quite simply, this nickname derives from Fidel Castro, the long serving President of Cuba.

Fidel Edwards

37. Andre Fletcher: The Spice Man

Pakistani Cricketers’ Nicknames

38. Shahid Afridi: Boom Boom

You will probably have guessed at the reasons why Shahid Afridi earned this nickname and you’d probably be right. He’s simply called Boom Boom due to his powerful hitting.

39. Shoaib Akhtar: The Rawalpindi Express

Pakistan pace man Shoaib Akhtar was the first bowler to break the 100mph barrier. He’s named after a train but, ironically, that particular mode of transport is quite a slow, lumbering beast.

40. Umar Gul: The Guldozer

This is an extension of his name and a clever play on words that sees Umar Gul known as The Guldozer.

41. Wasim Akram: The Sultan of Swing

42. Mohammad Hafeez: The Professor

Due to his scholarly nature and his authoritative command of the crease.

43. Inzamam-ul-Haq: Inzi

44. Danish Kaneria: Nanny-Danny

45. Imran Khan: The Lion of Lahore

South African Cricketers’s Nicknames

46. AB De Villiers: Mr 360 degrees

In reference to De Villiers’ ability to score all round the wicket

47. Herschelle Gibbs: Scooter

South African batsman Gibbs used to turn up to the ground on a scooter as a youngster


48. Andre Nel: Gunther

An alter-ego that Nel used when he crossed the white line and took to the field of play.

49. Lance Klusener: Zulu

Lance Klusener fluently speaks the Zulu language, one of the official languages of South Africa, and as a child he spent lots of time with Zulu children.

50. Chris Morris: Tipo

51. Makhaya Ntini: Mdingi Express

He was born in Mdingi, South Africa, and his birthplace combined with his ‘express’ pace is how his nickname was coined.

52. Allan Donald: White Lightning

A simple reference to the sheer speed of one of South Africa’s most notorious fast bowlers.

53. Shaun Pollock: Polly

New Zealand Cricketers’ Nicknames

54. Peter Fulton: Two Metre Peter

Purely based on the player’s height.

55. Martin Crowe: Hogan

56. Gavin Larsen: The Postman

Because he always delivers.

57. Brendon McCullum: Bash Brother

Because of his power hitting.


58. Iain O’Brien: Ober

59. Richard Hadlee: Paddles

It’s said that this nickname refers to Hadlee’s flat footed approach in his run up

60. Chris Harris: Lugs

Due to his big ears

61. Craig McMillan: Macca