The summer of Darrell/Daryl just took a Darrelliciously unexpected twist. Australian captain Steve Smith -- who played in yesterday's fourth match in the One Day Series against India at Canberra's Manuka Oval -- is now a bloke called Darrell.
Here's what's going on here.
First things first, you'll recall that Cricket Australia this summer has a "Don't Be a Daryl' campaign. We wrote about that late in 2015, interviewing the guy who made the ad as well as several high-profile Daryls who were NOT happy at being darylscriminated against.
One of them, triple Gold Logie winner Daryl Somers, even swore that he'd boycott the cricket until Cricket Australia stopped its blatant Darylism. Ouch.
Back to Steve Smith, who is wearing a shirt with the name Darrell. This is spectacularly ironic given the CA campaign basically says you're a bit of an idiot named Daryl if you don't watch Steve Smith bat.
So hang on, you're a total Daryl (idiot) if you don't watch this Darrell (legend) bat. Summer officially just stopped making sense.
So what's happening here? Is there a link between Daryl the hapless loser and Darrell the Australian captain formerly known as Steve?
The deal is this. Steve Smith is wearing that shirt because of a beer competition. VB had a clever campaign where players would wear the names of dedicated Aussies out there who've contributed to the cricket community.
It just so happens that Steve Smith ended up with the name Darrell Ramponi on his shirt. Ramponi, from Donnybrook in SW Western Australia, is one of those hardworking volunteers who hold the fabric of Australian cricket together.
He started his first cricket team in 1989, on a local oval with a concrete wicket. He eventually helped developed the ground so that is it now has four training nets, a club room, change room and turf pitch. And we almost forgot. A white picket fence around the perimeter.
Mr Ramponi also helped develop local junior and senior cricket teams. Local paper the Donnybrook-Bridgetown Mail reported:
"Darrell has brought the community together in a way that was not existent in the past and was recognised as the regional volunteer of the year in 2013 from the WACA association.
"As one of the most inspirational stories submitted, Darrell is being honoured by Victoria Bitter as one of Australia’s unsung heroes, and will now get to enjoy seeing Australian cricket captain Steve Smith pay homage to his hard work every time he walks out to the crease."
In submitting his entry to the VB competition, Darrell Ramponi's son Kurt said:
"I may be biased because he is my Dad but without him my entire generation of young blokes in Donnybrook may not love our game as much as we do."
This is an awesome story. We salute both Darrell Ramponi and his alter ego Steve Smith. It's all a little ironic given a certain marketing campaign this summer, but at least now you know what's going on.