Celebrating a wicket

Corey Collymore's wipe-your-face, at the fall of a wicket, is inspired by WWE wrestler John Cena's `You Can't See Me' gesture. Fidel Edwards and half-brother Pedro Collins do the same. A summary of events by S. Ram Mahesh.

Sunday, April 15: The diary is a curiously nostalgic creature and longs for the days when a wicket was celebrated by no more than a shake of the hand and an unsentimental "Well done". Pipe tobacco was known to change hands, but men then drew the line at that. Now, we are mute witness to all manners of touchy-feely things: Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer crying while embracing for God's sake, and Kevin Pietersen, seeking not to be second-best in anything to the Australians, trying a similar routine with the admirably brusque Paul Collingwood. If we wanted maudlin fellers we wouldn't be watching you.

This World Cup has thankfully desisted; one-day cricket's ephemeral nature ensures an emotion must be dispensed with immediately. So, kitsch is embraced. We have Ireland captain Trent Johnston's chicken dance — an elbow-wiggling number — and Dave Langford-Smith's ferret version, which includes a little twist of the wrists behind the posterior. Darren Gough has moved up a notch in taste and does `Strictly Come Dancing' when not captaining Yorkshire. Patrons reportedly turn up to see his waltz in triple time. His colleagues here don't celebrate as loudly; that one must first dismiss a batsman plays a part perhaps.

The diary takes offence to the misrepresenting of Corey Collymore's celebration. The diary gathers it's been wrongly attributed as the three-finger salute, and being the by-word in finger-salutes, it clarifies on the matter. Collymore's wipe-your-face is inspired by WWE wrestler John Cena's `You Can't See Me' gesture. Fidel Edwards and half-brother Pedro Collins do the same. Cena, the diary is informed, has a gimmick as some sort of a cross-over rapper, perhaps inspired by Eminem or Vanilla Ice, and the gesture is taken from hip-hop.

Monday, April 16: The diary in its brief time has been present at some of the defining Press Conferences of the last two years. And it is to be present at another (for more on that read Thursday's entry) soon. But, never has it seen such a grilling. Graeme Smith walks in smiling, but soon England's media are asking him about a night of indiscretion. Some South African players were snitched on at a nightclub — and reports suggest they were highly intoxicated. Smith does well, sticks to the official party line, and even manages to side-step a toughie on definition — "I wouldn't know what highly intoxicated is" — but England's journalists are relentless. A device of psychological warfare ahead of tomorrow's near quarterfinal, the diary is told by men who know such matters.

Tuesday, April 17: What would you know! It is, as Magellan said, a small world. The diary meets several employees of L&T, the construction firm, right outside the Kensington Oval. Dialects are slipped into, as the diary is told L&T was in charge of constructing the permanent structures at the Kensington Oval. Several of these fine men have been in Bridgetown for nearly two years, planning and supervising.

"The ICC insisted we work with local labour," says one. "We found it tough because these are five-day weeks, and often no one would be around on Friday afternoon. So we had to plan months in advance."

The stadium is spectacular — and the men are understandably proud at being told that.

Wednesday, April 18: A day of swimming with the turtles is promised. Journalists, bent at the back with all that typing, are taken on a catamaran cruise in the Atlantic. Three hours on choppy waters — which take a toll on the return journey with hacks lined along the edges, leaning over the giant basin — but unfortunately the turtles aren't swum with. Just as well for journalists are never the most courteous creatures and wild-life must be given space. The diary fumbles with snorkelling apparatus and makes off, but is called back when supper is served! But, all isn't lost: it witnesses Derek Pringle — former English medium-pacer, now a journalist — swan dive.

Thursday, April 19: Brian Lara announces his retirement as journalists go into shock. Many just sit, dumb-struck and gaping. It was, as coach Bennett King says, "around the corner, but not sure where the corner was", but the diary hoped he'd continue to play Test cricket. His powers hadn't decayed.

But, Lara chose to go. That is of importance. A Golden Generation recedes — Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, Inzamam-ul-Haq (one-day cricket), perhaps Sanath Jayasuriya, and the diary wonders who else.

Lara's third coming has been a contentious period, where he has taken on the administration and given as good as he has received. He's been accused of many things, but he is a supremely complex fellow, a genius; and reports that slam him must be read factoring for the context and the bias they're written with. He will be missed.

Friday, April 20: Matthew Hayden has reportedly hooked a record-sized marlin when he fell asleep fishing. The sea life here — much like the bowlers he has dealt with — can't seem to catch a break. Suitably piqued by the piscine, the diary decides to look up the flying fish. Barbados was nicknamed `The Land of the Flying Fish', and Bridgetown's sidewalks have posters of a flying fish, bat in hand, saying Bajans love cricket. The diary's interactions with the fish have thus far been restricted to forking it, fried or smoked, and the diary seeks a higher plane. It finds out that these magnificent creatures reach speeds of over 55 km per hour gliding nearly 50 metres along the water surface, thrusting off with a flip of the tail.

The flying fish has reportedly been at the centre of an inter-island dispute between Barbados and Tobago. The construction of a harbour here in Barbados polluted the waters and drove the fish towards of Tobago. Tensions rose as the United Nations Council on the Law of the Sea fixed the maritime boundaries and ruled that both countries must preserve flying-fish stock.

Saturday, April 21: Brian Lara's last match and a capacity crowd. Had the West Indies played the World Cup with the intensity they showed today, indeed had similar crowds turned up after the league matches in Jamaica, this would have been such an enjoyable event. Both the WICB and the ICC have lessons in there.