Sheldon Cottrell's army salute fast becoming image of World Cup

The 29-year-old Windies fast bowler is marking the moment he gets a batsman out by showing his respect to the regiment he serves back home.

Cottrell

West Indies' Sheldon Cottrell's wicket celebration has become a popular image from this edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup.   -  AFP

Sheldon Cottrell turns round, strides forward three paces, comes to a stop and makes a salute.

A proud soldier from Jamaica, Cottrell was not marching with his fellow troops at the barracks back in Kingston. No, Cottrell was in the middle of a cricket pitch in central England, celebrating taking a wicket at the World Cup.

In what is quickly becoming one of the images of the tournament, the 29-year-old Sheldon a fast bowler for the West Indies cricket team is marking the moment he gets a batsman out by showing his respect to the regiment he serves back home.

READ |He needs permission from his commanding officer to come and play for the West Indies

“It’s a means of telling them thanks for your loyalty and support,” West Indies team spokesman Philip Spooner. “He is a cricketer but he still sees himself as a soldier.”

The salute came out three times on Thursday once after taking an extraordinary catch on the boundary during West Indies’ group game against Australia at Trent Bridge.

 

Jubilant teammates gathered around Cottrell to watch his unique performances after getting out David Warner and Glenn Maxwell with his left-arm deliveries, with Andre Russell joining in as they fell backward after finishing the salute.

It came out again after Cottrell dismissed Steve Smith, Australia’s danger man, with a one-handed catch on the boundary.

WATCH | Cottrell takes brilliant catch to dismiss Smith

Because he was about teeter over the boundary rope, Cottrell tossed the ball in the air, wheeled out and then back in the field of play, before collecting the ball again. The salute has become wildly popular at the World Cup.

Schoolchildren lined up at Trent Bridge to receive a demonstration of the salute by Cottrell this week.

“One, two, three; stop; salute!” barked Cottrell, who became a soldier as a teenager long before he made his first-class cricket debut for Jamaica in 2011.

Cottrell has been one of the best bowlers at the World Cup, getting figures of 1-18 in four overs in West Indies’ big opening win over Pakistan before adding 2-56 against Australia in its 288 all out.

There is no requirement for Cottrell to get signed off by his regiment to feature for the West Indies as playing cricket is regarded as national service in the islands where the sport is so loved.