| From the flag of Adam 'Kenny' Mitchell (Flagger since 2001) |
I first saw Luke Gillian (aka Sparrow) in Hamilton, New Zealand, 2000, and remember thinking this bloke is keen on his cricket. I then joined Sparrow in India 2001 when he had 65 on what was Waving The Flag's first of many 'unofficial' tours over the years, which included Sri Lanka in 2004 where I really got to know he and The Flag.
It was the recent 2009 South Africa Tour where I really got to know Sparrow personally. Although Sparrow had 'cancelled' his tour, he seemed to take every Aussie he met under his wing and treated everyone of us with the utmost respect & appreciation for touring South Africa.
His knowledge of the great game is amazing, however his knowledge of South Africa was exceptional. His organisational skills are brilliant which helped make my tour all the more enjoyable and, importantly, easier.
We hired a car for a 7 day road trip from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and had a ball every day, which was topped off each night by Sparrow cooking us 5 star meals with a minimum of fuss, using his vast experience as a chef to good effect. I'd never been so well fed over all my years of travel.
Bearing in mind this was not an organised tour, he went way beyond the call of duty to ensure we had a great time (especially organising Karaoke with Matt Damon on St Paddy's Day - what a shame I missed that!).
Standing in the South Africa terraces (and other global venues) with Sparrow is both humerous with his quick wit, and interesting with his knowledge of cricket and precise recollection of many games from yesteryear. Nothing was a problem for Sparrow. Everything he did to help any one of us was truly a gift from the heart.
Cheers Sparrow, you're a true gentleman.