Ever since the live-telecast wave hit the sport, cricket celebrations have not been as subtle as they used to be. Especially with the added entertainment value with the cash-rich leagues around the world, the plethora of signature celebrations have also found their way into the international scene. Post the turn of the first decade of the millennium, Cricket is far from being the gentleman's sport, what with the overwhelming theatrics and all. With the emerging crop of players being more inclined towards an open display of their feelings on the field, the trend is not going to die off soon.
Gone are the days when aggressive celebrations were the trademarks of fast bowlers alone. However, the entertainment factor has gone through the roofs and as long as the game spirit is not tampered with, the extra buzz that sets cash registers ringing is surely not going to be one of ICC's problems. On that note, let us now breeze through some unforgettable celebrations, which certain players have made their trademarks.
Agreed, the current West Indian pace attack is a shadow of its glorious heydays. But when it comes to sheer, unadultered entertainment, there is still no team that can match the calypso kings. A part of that credit should be attributed to the innovative celebrations their players come up with, time to time. Though somewhat irksome at times, Sheldon Cottrell's army salute is one of them - originating from the fact that he is a member of the Jamaican defense force and that was his way of paying tribute to his colleagues and senior officers.
The sheer panache in the headstraight march, the rigid salute, and the arched embrace that follows, is a treat to watch, and often a nice rub of salt on the wound of the outfoxed batsman!
As mentioned previously, not a lot of teams can better the caribbeans when it comes to the celebration swagger. The pair that deserves the special mention here is, of course, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo. After Gayle took the world by storm with his own version of the 'Gangnam Style', which he effortlessly flaunted in the 2012 World T20 victory of the West Indies, it was Bravo's turn to turn DJ and dance to the tunes of his own single, 'Champion'. Though these two have displayed their signature celebrations multiple times in local T20 leagues worldwide, the fun is on the next level when the pair is playing for the same team on the international stage.
Thanks to the heavens for this incarnation and the 100+ times we got to see this celebration. Sachin Tendulkar needs no introduction for even a remote fan of the game and this celebration is something that has stayed with him for the entirety of his marathon career. Every time he completes the 100th run (or multiples of it), he takes off his helmet and looks towards the skies, as if he is thanking someone for the achievement.
He has often said that he looks at the heavens for the blessings of his father to whom he attributes all of his success. However, for his die-hard fans, it is their God, 'The Superman from India', looking into the space where he really came from.
Ravindra Jadeja is representative of the crop of sportsmen who unabashedly goes about displaying their fearless approach towards the game. Though he has occasionally been criticized for not being a specialist and for his questionable on-field calls every now and then, there is not an iota of doubt about the entertainment when he is on song. Coupled with his love for his Rajputana roots and swordsmanship, he came up with a very original way of celebrating his individual batting milestones - the swords dance in which he spins and flaunts his dexterity with the bat as if he were wielding a sword. Though it used to look a litttle funny at start, with time, he has perfected it into a signature celebration.
There is aggression and there is Aussie aggression. One of the trademark celebrations that epitomises the Australian dominance of the noughties is the chainsaw celebration popularized by the blonde bombshell, Brett Lee. Arguably the best of the generation's tearaway quickies, Lee was a complete menace to deal with on-field. With his long run-up, steaming in to clock speeds of over 150 kmph on a regular basis, we did get to see a lot of his roaring chainsaw and every time he wielded the saw, the Aussie crowd made sure that the disturbing buzz of the saw was adequately substituted by their vicious cheering roars.
The fieriest of them all, Shoaib Akhtar has delivered the fastest ball in recorded cricketing history (161.3 kmph) and when he was on song, not just the batsmen but the stumps themselves would have been trembling with fear of getting knocked over. The airplane run celebration of the Rawalpindi express was majorly reserved for those moments when he timbered the batsmen with his raw pace and crushing accuracy.
The crowning moment of the glorious celebration should have been his consecutive toe-crushers that silenced a whole stadium - the Eden Gardens, by removing two of the best batsmen of his generation, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
Imran Tahir is one of the most enthusiastic bowlers to have come from South Africa. His sheer passion towards the game and the way he enjoys his success after taking every wicket, breaking into a gallop that spans a few hundred meters, is something the world looks forward to see every time he takes the field. Most of the time, his teammates have been seen running after him, culminating in a heartwarming display of team spirit.
Breaking the conventional stereotypes of soft dismissals by spinners, it was an endearing sight to see someone so driven by the thrill of the game that it kept him going until the ripe age of 40.
This has been a running tradition, especially amongst Pakistani batsmen. Nobody really knows who started it, but a good fraction of players still carry on the celebration as a tradition. As he completes the 100th run, the batsman removes his helmet, kneels, and bows down to kiss the earth (or touch the earth with his forehead) as a way of submitting oneself to God's grace and thanking the Earth. Evidently, it is a practice that comes from the namaz, a mode of prayer of the Islamic community. In the video, Mohammad Yousuf is seen celebrating his century against India.
Well, this should be the most iconic sledge reply of all time. Andrew Flintoff, after choking India at the Wankhede, ran around whirling his shirt before getting mobbed by his teammates at the culmination of an epic middle-order collapse by India. But, as the saying goes, destiny finds yourselves in the wildest of ways and Flintoff got a taste of his own medicine in the finals of the Natwest Trophy of 2002, where Ganguly returned the favour in front of a packed crowd, knocking out the hosts with a record chase at the Lord's, a ground that is as iconic to the English as the Wankhede is for the Indians.
One of the most controversial characters to have ever taken the field from India, Sreesanth was a fiery bowler who wore his heart on his sleeves. Playing the fearless brand of cricket, often reminding Indians of the menacing overseas quickies, he was a delight to watch when on song. Given his issues with on-field temperament, it is of no surprise that he has featured in mutiple funny incidents in his celebrations. One was his helicopter dance, swirling his bat in a Jadeja-esque fashion, albeit over the top of his head and the next was his pumped up smashing the ground celebration after accounting for Matthew Hayden in the high-voltage semi-final clash of the 2007 World T20. As funny as it may seem now, that wicket turned the game on its head and saw a resurgent India snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat.
Ever seen each member of a team performing a celebration simultaneously together? That’s exactly how the Bangladeshi celebrated by showcasing the Nagin Dance to fans across the world. The incident took place in the 6th match of the Nidahas Trophy series which was played between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It was a virtual semi-final for both the teams as the winner would proceed to meet India in the finals.
After a see-saw of a game, Bangladesh managed to win on the penultimate ball. Soon, after the match in the heat of the moment, the Bangladesh team gathered in the middle of the ground to celebrate the victory performing the ‘Nagin’ dance. The reason behind the celebration has its roots in an incident that took place in early 2018.
It all began when Nazmul Islam celebrated Upul Tharanga’s wicket in the first T20I of Sri Lanka’s tour of Bangladesh. Nazmul broke into the ‘snake dance’ celebration at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. However, as pundits say, Karma hits you hard and that’s exactly what happened in the Nidahas Trophy final against India. Bangladesh lost on the last ball after Dinesh Karthik’s brilliance and as a result, the entire stadium was seen performing the Nagin dance to mock Bangladesh.