Forty Funniest Cricketers of All Time
13 - Daryll Cullinan
Daryll Cullinan was a very good cricketer. He played 70 Tests for South Africa, averaging 44.2 with the bat, better than more acclaimed contemporaries such as Mark Waugh and Sanath Jayasuriya, and within just 0.2 of the average of Richie Richardson.
He also averaged 33.0 at a strike rate of 70.3 in his ODI career, very good figures for that era, and a perfect justification for him playing 138 limited over games for his country.
But that's not what you think of when I say the name Daryll Cullinan, is it?
Of course not.
You think of this:
Daryll Cullinan was the naive country rube who became the number one target of cricket's greatest con man, Shane Warne. Cullinan was the number rackets courier succumbing to Robert Redford's oh-so-handsome handkerchief scam in the opening of The Sting. He was the stormtrooper telling his partner that these weren't the droids that they were looking for and Mark Hamill should move along. He was the bartender falling for Charles Grodin's 'litmus configuration' test in Midnight Run.
Cullinan was a sucker. And Warne couldn't resist pulling the exact same scam on him dozens of times in his career.
Except even that is a scam. Because Warne only got him four times in Tests. And a further eight times in ODIs. But such is Warne's ability to distort reality that it felt like many, many more. Warne didn't just addle Cullinan's mind. He addled ours too, until we believed that he snared Cullinan every single time the perpetually guileless South African was fool enough to stumble into the leg-spinner's sights.
Perhaps one of the reasons it feels like Warne had dismissed Cullinan even more often was that when Warne wasn't taking Cullinan's wicket himself, he was taking the catch that dismissed him. On one particular occasion, he did both things, as he caught-and-bowled Cullinan.
Cullinan also developed a tendency to run himself out, in a manner that suggested he'd take any kind of risk to be at the non-striker's end when Warne was bowling, thank you very much.
And then there was the time he was given out handled the ball against Keith Arthurton, when Warne wasn't even on the same continent.
In a way, this just showed the extent of Warne's wicket-taking influence by this stage of Cullinan's career. In fact, on some level or other, can't we attribute every single one of Cullinan's dismissals in his international career to Warne? I think we can and should.
Daryll Cullinan joins Mike Gatting on this list, as cricketers who were funny primarily because Shane Warne made them look like buffoons. But Cullinan did it hundreds of times to Gatting's one, and that's enough to get him the spot of the thirteenth funniest cricketer of all time.