Next Friday, Hazem El Masri will join a mix of cricketers and novices in a Twenty20 game at Manly Oval including Manly great Cliff Lyons.
Hazem El Masri prepares for the celebrity cricket match. Picture: GREGG PORTEOUS
AS a goalkicker, Hazem El Masri rarely missed any opportunities with his trusty right boot.
Converting tries and potting penalty goals from all over the ground was his norm.
But now the retired Canterbury Bulldogs great is trying his hand at cricket.
The match will celebrate the newly installed lights and picket fencing at the ground.
El Masri will play for the Mayor’s XI that will take on the President’s XI.
It’s an occasion the 33-year-old is excited about despite hailing from cricketing minnow Lebanon.
“We don’t have many cricketers that I know of ... it’s not a big sport over there,” El Masri told The Manly Daily.
“But I really enjoy having a hit every now and then.
“It’s a lot different to rugby league but I don’t mind that. It’s not as hard on the body.
“The last time I played cricket properly was at school.
“Now I just get out there with the tennis ball and a bat with a few friends for a little fun.”
Which shouldn’t be a problem at Manly Oval next week with a host of celebrities and sportspeople having a go.
El Masri’s team boasts Sea Eagles legend Cliff Lyons, Manly mayor Jean Hay and former Test star Michael Bevan, going up against the likes of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and former Australian quick Michael Kasprowicz.
“I’ll probably just throw the bat around and see if it comes off,” El Masri, who classes himself as an all-rounder, said.
“I bat and bowl about the same ... not very well. When I go into bat I don’t want to waste too many balls.”
El Masri, who has taken up an ambassadorial role with the NRL since retiring, believes the Bulldogs will have a strong 2010 season but also likes the look of the Sea Eagles.
“They’ve got a lot of good players and they put in the hard work ... they’re always tough to beat,” he said.
Entry is free to the Light Up Manly Oval Big Bash with the main game at 6.15pm.