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Amateur cricket team hit the silver screen
D-grade Melbourne cricketers the Abbotsford Anglers have toured the world, with their visit to India being the inspiration for a feature film, as Kate Arnott reports.

They are enthusiastic amateurs, weekend cricketers from the suburbs of Melbourne. But that's not stopped them from taking on the world.

The Abbotsford Anglers have toured the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Samoa. But it was their comedic tour of India that proves the inspiration for a feature film called 'Save Your Legs' which is about to hit the big screen.

Kate Arnott reports.
(Excerpt from 'Save Your Legs' plays)

TEDDY BROWN (Stephen Curry): (in uniform on tour bus in India) We are Australian cricketers on tour!

TEAM: Yeah!!!

(Excerpt end)

KATE ARNOTT, REPORTER: By their own admission the characters in this movie don't come close to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar or Ricky Ponting.

And it seems the actors playing the lead roles were perfectly cast.

DAMON GAMEAU, ACTOR: Quite often when you see us missing catches or playing really badly there's no acting there. That's legitimate bad cricket.

STEPHEN CURRY, ACTOR: Look I was match fit for D grade, I'll be honest.

DAMON GAMEAU: You'd been training a lot.

STEPHEN CURRY: Look I did. I've spent a lot of time on the couch, I spent spent a lot of time watching cricket.

KATE ARNOTT: 'Save Your Legs' is the story of Teddy Brown who is having trouble coming to terms with the realities of growing up.

(Excerpt from 'Save Your Legs' plays)

RICK (Brendan Cowell): Raphael is pregnant mate. I'm going to be a dad. I'm having a baby.

(End excerpt)

KATE ARNOTT: In a last ditch attempt to hold on to his childhood dreams, Teddy convinces his boss to fund his suburban cricket team's tour of India.

(Excerpt from 'Save Your Legs' plays)

RICK (Brendan Cowell): Incredible India, eh?

TEDDY BROWN (Stephen Curry): You think they're all here for us?.

STAVROS (Damon Gameau): I don't know but they're definitely all here.

INDIAN MAN HOLDING A SIGN AT AIRPORT (subtitled): Is it a choir? A brass band maybe?

INDIAN MAN HOLDING A SIGN AT AIRPORT 2 (subtitled): Cricketers! Australian cricketers. Ricky Ponting!

(End excerpt)

KATE ARNOTT: This is the spiritual home of the Abbotsford Anglers in inner Melbourne. It was their tour of India in 2001 and the subsequent documentary that provided the inspiration for the movie.

(Excerpt from documentary plays)

(Nick Batzias is bowled out)


(Excerpt ends)

KATE ARNOTT: Nick Batzias went on the original tour and starred in the documentary.

(Excerpt from documentary plays)

(Indian fans cheer and run onto the cricket pitch)

NICK BATZIAS: It was an appalling over, it cost us our first victory on the subcontinent. Fortunately it wasn't an official game so it doesn't count on the record.

ABBOTSFORD ANGLER: It would have been had we won.

(End excerpt)

NICK BATZIAS: The Abbotsford Anglers was formed by a bunch of like-minded but quite different fellas. And the big thing they had in common was, that while which all loved the game of cricket it wasn't so much the playing of the game, it was all the stuff that goes on around the outside of the game.

KATE ARNOTT: Nick Batzias also produced the movie and new the importance of retaining the angler's authentic uniform.

NICK BATZIAS: One of our original presidents, a guy called Howard McCorkell, was very firm believer in the fact that uniforms open doors. If you look the part you'll get, you know, often given the part.

BOYD HICKLIN, DIRECTOR: The moment of having all the boys in their ridiculous candy striped blazers standing on an old rickety boat along the Ganges and having literally thousands of people on the banks of this river, just looking at this ...


BOYD HICKLIN: ... going what is going on?

KATE ARNOTT: Passersbys were often wondering what was going on. And filming in India threw up a number of challenges.

(Excerpt from 'Save Your Legs' plays)

TEDDY BROWN (Stephen Curry): (in train toilet) I just vomited onto on my own poo.

STAVROS (Damon Gameau): Ewww!

(Excerpt ends)

KATE ARNOTT: Just like the characters all three actors were struck down with severe case of Delhi Belly, only four days into the shoot.

DAMON GAMEAU: Steve played his first game of cricket in a man nappy. So underneath his cricket whites he was wearing a nappy. ...

STEPHEN CURRY: My wife bought me this ...

DAMON GAMEAU: Just like Michael Clarke does I'm sure.

STEPHEN CURRY: She bought me this - he had before and he will again! But yeah, my wife bought me this kind of Indian survival kit and in it was box of man nappies. And as much as it was a joke on December 25th, by January 12 it was a reality.


(Stills of Bollywood dancing sequence in 'Save Your Legs' are shown)

KATE ARNOTT: Learning to dance for the big Bollywood finale provided nearly as much suffering.

BOYD HICKLIN: Meeting them after that first rehearsal, I'd never seen such a shell-shocked bunch of actors.

KATE ARNOTT: Filming a cricket movie in India guaranteed the Australian cast and crew a lot of attention wherever they went.

STEPHEN CURRY: India is such an incredible place. And the joy of the people, the positivity of the people and the welcoming, their welcoming nature is so incredible.

BRENDAN COWELL: There's about 400,000 people who are working on the film, no exaggeration, there's like nine people in charge of holding your sun glasses.

DAMON GAMEAU: They were so excited to be seeing you and saying 'Are you related to Ricky Ponting?'

STEPHEN CURRY: 'Are you Ricky Ponting?'

DAMON GAMEAU: 'Are you Ricky Ponting?'

STEPHEN CURRY: 'Yes I am Ricky Ponting'.

(Both laugh)

KATE ARNOTT: Producers say the movie has been well received at test screening in India so far. And the original Anglers love it too.

For the moment, though, they're working out where to tour next.

NICK BATZIAS : We've probably got England to knock over at some point. So it does feel a bit easy. So maybe somewhere else in the Pacific or Asia. There was talk of Afghanistan for a while but that's been ruled out for the time being, but maybe Africa.
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