Pakistan-Australia T20 series’ TUC trophy ranks among sport’s weirdest gongs
Australia and Pakistan captains Aaron Finch and Sarfraz Ahmed hold up a giant biscuit as dry as their expressions. (Twitter: @TheRealPCB)
Australia’s Twenty20 cricket series against Pakistan begins in earnest on Thursday morning, but the trophy both teams will be vying for may leave a lot to be desired.
Featuring a giant TUC cracker as dry as captains Aaron Finch and Sarfraz Ahmed’s expressions, the trophy continues a long line of ridiculous cups and prizes on offer in the world of sport.
Is it a hall of fame, or shame? It depends entirely on whether you find these trophies to be ridiculous eyesores, or gongs so spectacular in their irony.
Here are some of more outlandish pieces of sporting silverware.
Put your hands up for the Warne-Muralidaran trophy
The Warne-Muralidaran trophy features casts of the lauded spin-bowlers’ hands in something akin to cricketing carbonite. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
Starting close to home, prepare to be bowled over by the Warne-Muralidaran Trophy — named after spinning greats Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralidaran — awarded to the winners of Australia and Sri Lanka’s bilateral Test series, which is up for grabs again in 2019.
It features casts of both bowlers’ right hands holding match-used cricket balls in their signature delivery grips, in something eerily reminiscent of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
College footballers with an axe to grind
Wisconsin Badgers defensive end Matt Henningsen celebrates with the Paul Bunyan axe after defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2017. (USA Today Sports: Jesse Johnson)
One of the biggest rivalries in US college football — Minnesota v Wisconsin — has produced one of the strangest, more charming traditions in world sport.
A giant axe with scores of each rivalry game recorded on its handle is awarded to the series winner each year.
Up until 2014, if the defending champion won, they would run to their side of the field and “chop down” a goal post. If the axe changed hands that year, the team would run to their opponents’ sideline and “steal” the axe.
This tradition got the chop in 2014 after a melee almost broke out when the Minnesota players surrounded their goal post and denied Wisconsin’s players the chance to ceremonially chop it down.
Try twirling the Madrid Open’s baton
There’s lots of money on offer in men’s and women’s tennis, but not much of it gets put into the R&D department for trophies.
The Madrid Open’s gong seems to be little more than a baton with a bunch of nails hammered in, spray-painted gold.
Tick tock, Nascar drivers vie for big clock
Nascar racing has a penchant for weird trophies, but there’s none more imposing than a whole grandfather clock.
That’s what awaits the winner of the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
This trophy literally rocks
The Paris-Roubaix’s cobblestone trophy does exactly what it says on the tin. (Reuters: Francois Lenoir)
You and your cycling team have sweated blood to take out the Paris-Roubaix road race in a gruelling day of racing often referred to as “The Hell of the North”.
Your reward? Literally a giant pebble.
Lindsey Vonn’s growing herd
Lindsey Vonn opted against trading in her prized cow, instead going on to own her own herd of the bovine beauties. (Reuters: Robert Pratta)
Instead of a medal, American skiier Lindsey Vonn received a cow for winning the downhill in Val d’Isere in French cheese country.
Organisers were expecting the winner to trade the cow in for a big winner’s check, but instead found Vonn was totally smitten with her new pet.
The cow was pregnant when she received it, and eventually birthed a brood of cows that Vonn still owns. She also won a goat for winning the 2009 World Championships, which she named Laura.
Feel like some lobster?
Sticking with animals, Nascar features once more with the winner of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 going home with a mammoth lobster.
After the winning driver poses with the American lobster, a steak house cooks it and sends the meat to the winning pit crew, while the shell is taxidermised and mounted on a trophy.
Tour of Turkey goes bananas
Sandie tweets Cavendish wins Tour of Turkey stage and gets a bunch of bananas .. gee thanks
Potassium is a vital part of the diet for athletes, especially cyclists, but the winner of the Alanya stage in the Tour of Turkey may get more than they bargain for.
The resort city of Alanya is a banana-rich region, so much so they can make entire trophies out of their bountiful bunches.
Fittingly, Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish can count himself among the stage’s winners.
Dubai Desert Classic
The Dubai Desert Classic trophy is a lot like the famous Claret Jug, except much, much, much, much bigger. (Reuters: Regi Varghese)
Proving that bigger is not always better, golf’s Dubai Desert Classic quite obviously looked to rival the Open Championship’s famous Claret Jug.
The difference between the two trophies is subtle. Look carefully, and you may notice Dubai’s offering is larger by several orders of magnitude.