Unique player celebrations are nothing new to the Indian Premier League. From Dwayne Bravo’s incredible dance moves to Chris Gayle’s tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo, there have been plenty of interesting celebrations over the course of the 10 years of the IPL but few have been as much of a talking point as Tabraiz Shamsi’ was in IPL 2016.
The South African wasn’t a household name in the country but he certainly made a name for himself after Royal Challengers Bangalore signed him as a replacement for Samuel Badree in last year’s edition. And while he did pick up his fair share of wickets, his popularity rose, more so due to his unique “bus driver“ celebration than his exploits with the ball.
The left-arm chinaman bowler is known for his colorful celebrations. In a group match against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2016 edition, the 27-year-old brought out the bus driver after dismissing David Warner for 92. Virat Kohli joined in on the action and that didn’t please the SRH captain a great deal as he admitted it was a “bit fancy” especially with the opposition cruising at 152/1 in the 16th over before the dismissal.
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However, speaking to reporters at the PUMA Cricket Studio in Bengaluru, Shamsi was quick to add that the whole celebration was just a way of enjoying himself on the field. The South African spinner, who is yet to play a game RCB this season, owing to Samuel Badree’s presence also revealed how the celebration came about in the first place.
When asked about the celebration, the spinner was bemused as to how his “bus driver” celebration became the truck driver celebration and reiterated that the celebration was indeed the “bus driver” owing to his ability to turn the ball both ways as a chinaman bowler.
“I didn't know how it became the truck driver in the first place, it was actually meant to be the bus driver celebration. My wicketkeeper back home in the domestic cricket, me and him actually like to mess around a bit on the field,” Shamsi said.
“The thing is, we play in such a highly competitive environment, always under pressure, always you need to perform, we tend to forget how to have fun on the field. We started playing the game because we loved it, as young kids we enjoyed it, when we move up to the professional environment, we forget to enjoy ourselves.
So I’m known for some crazy celebrations but that's just my way of having fun on the field. One day, we were training, my wicketkeeper came up to me and we started messing around and the rest is history.”
While everyone has their reasons for what they do on the cricket field, Shamsi is clear about his. Having fun is the primary motive, as he admitted that no one knows if anything will last forever. The 27-year-old will certainly know all about it as he is yet to play for RCB in IPL 2017 despite impressing in Badree’s absence last year.
When asked about the amount of planning that goes behind his celebrations, he admitted that while it isn’t completely off the cuff, it isn’t staged completely either.
“There is a bit of planning that goes into it. But you know there is no guarantees in life, you don’t know when you are going to take a wicket, overall the whole concept is just to enjoy myself on the field because you never know when your last game might be. I just want to make sure that I enjoy myself every time I play and I'm quite passionate so that comes out in the field.”