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The Lowdown - Dusty's bins

Geoff 'Dusty' Miller is a man of many talents: test all rounder, Chairman of Selectors, after dinner speaker. He is also one of the game's foremost experts on sports ground waste management systems. He gives us the Lowdown on some of his favourite cricketing bins.

picture of Geoff Miller
Dusty ponders a dropped catch at Buxton's notorious Pavilion End bin.

1. Park Road Ground, Buxton

I made my first class debut here for Derbyshire against Lancashire in July 1973 so these bins have a lot of happy memories for me. Mind you, they weren't without their problems. There was one by the ice cream van at the Pavilion End that was particularly attractive to wasps.

I remember my debut was a high scoring affair. When Lancs had a bat Harry Pilling was hitting Venks (Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan) straight back over his head all the time and some of these shots were landing in the bin causing these wasps to fly up angrily from where they were feasting on lolly wrappers. A lot of our lads were scared of them so, as the new boy, our skipper Brian Bolus sent me down there to field at mid on. Thing is - if you disturb a group of wasps they don't sting the nearest person; they tend to fly off and attack some poor unsuspecting sod down wind. Poor Venks. He started his run up, saw this swarm of wasps heading straight for him and continued running all the way back to the dressing room.

I still tell that story when I'm doing my after dinner stuff. It's a big favourite at presentation nights for Entomologists.

2. Lord's

Lord's is the undoubted home of cricket bins. From the historic receptacles in the pavilion to the fancy modern structures near the Media Centre; Lord's has a bin for everyone. Why not sign up for one of the many Lord's Bin Tours that take place throughout the season and have a look for yourself?

The Lord's Bin Museum has a fascinating collection of priceless rubbish related artifacts from over the years. The jewel in the crown is probably the 'no hot ashes' bin from 1882 which is where the infamous burning bails were tossed prior to being placed in the urn. You can also see the actual bin used by Jim Laker after his 19-90 at Old Trafford in 1956 in which he deposited the wrapper of a Tunnocks Tea Cake and a styptic pencil.

3. Headingly

picture of Keith Fletcher
A disconsolate Keith Fletcher is jeered as he returns to the Headingly dressing room after the infamous Fanta drop.

The bins at Headingly are notoriously unforgiving. These are hard and tough bins with no frills. They don't like change in this part of the world; up until 1996 only Yorkshire-made bins were employed in the ground, and there's plenty who would have kept it that way. They used to say "when Yorkshire bins are strong, English bins are strong". Well, perhaps the quality has dipped in recent years but if I wanted a bin to take into the trenches with me then I would head straight for Headingly.

I always got on well with all the Yorkshire bins. Mind you if you dropped something outside of the rim then the crowd could get on your back - just ask Keith Fletcher after he spilt a can of Fanta in full view of the Western Terrace. They never forgave him.

4. Sydney

I played a couple of tests at the SCG and I know from bitter experience that the bins on the infamous Hill are the most feared in world cricket.

In the fifth Ashes test of the 1982/3 tour I had the misfortune to have been under a skier from Kim Hughes off Eddie Hemmings that I managed to spill on the boundary: slap bang in front of the Hill. And guess where the ball ended up? That's right - in the biggest bin in the entire ground. I had to dig deep amongst the beer cans and crisp packets to try and retrieve the ball. One wag shouted "Oi Miller ya pommie so and so - you're rubbish!" Quick as a flash I lifted out a fistful of pie wrappers, waved them at crowd and said "no - this is rubbish!"

I still use that in my after dinner speaking. Always gets a laugh. Especially at waste management seminars.

5. Antigua

The recent fiasco at Antigua didn't surprise me. Some of those grounds in the West Indies are desperately lacking adequate waste disposal facilities. When batting on a windy day you can find yourself swatting away a head high bouncer, quickly followed by an empty Monster Munch packet and the front page of the Daily News and Gleaner.

picture of giant crab
Empty the bin ... and make it snappy!

Having said that, the few bins that they do have are full of character ... and full of exotic creepy crawlies! David Bellamy would have a field day.

I always remember playing at Antigua on a pre-season tour when I was with Derbyshire. There were no proper rubbish baskets in the dressing rooms so we were forced to use the rather basic utilities in the ground itself. Rookie keeper Bernie Maher was given the job of taking the team's rubbish out and finding a bin to put it in. He found the only receptacle in the entire ground but when he lifted the lid he was shocked to find a giant land crab inside. Undeterred he tried to shift the stubborn beast but it simply wouldn't move.

When he got back to the dressing room Bernie shouted: "has anyone got anything that can shift crabs?"

I'll save his blushes - but one senior player instantly reached for his bag, brought out a bottle of tablets and said: "'ere lad take a couple of these twice a day and make sure you don't borrow my box."

That story still goes down well when I'm doing my speaking - especially at Genito Urinary medical conferences, crustacean-based Marine Biology research suppers, the AGMs of manufacturers of male protective sportswear and charity events for the Wicket Keepers Benevolent Fund.