The Indian Premier League (IPL) presented the world with something that was not deemed possible – a rare blend of pure entertainment and cricket. In fact, this very blend has been the USP of the league since its inception in 2008.
With the dancing cheerleaders and the blaring loudspeakers, many had opined that the sport had been reduced to a farce. But on the contrary, we have seen some quality cricket being played. All the entertainment (and excitement) has only drawn the masses to the stadiums. They come for the pomp, they come for the show but, most of all, they come for the cricket.
Perhaps it would be justifiable to say that the off-field entertainment has somewhat rubbed off on the players as well. Over the last few years, we have seen players celebrating a wicket, a catch or any significant landmark in the IPL in colourful fashion.
Here we list the top five celebrations from the players in the IPL.
#5 Dwayne Bravo
It’s no surprise that Dwayne Bravo is on this list. After all, he has a reputation for being the most entertaining cricketer (having featured in music videos and what not) in the world.
Over the years in the IPL, (first at Chennai Super Kings and then at Gujarat Lions), with every wicket, every little milestone and every stunning catch, Bravo has (literally and figuratively) danced his way into everyone’s hearts. However, among all his performances (including the Champion dance) on the pitch, this one stands out as a personal favourite.
It was the match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab at the Chidambaram Stadium in 2015. CSK, batting first, had set a mammoth target of 193 for the visitors. Punjab faltered in their chase but still had hope as their star batsman Murali Vijay was at the crease.
However, the Indian opener fell prey to Ravichandran Ashwin when he holed out to Bravo in the deep. As soon as he completed the catch, the West Indian broke out into a dance move that had become a national obsession after Hrithik Roshan’s debut movie Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. Quite evidently, the West Indian had been watching a lot of Bolly flicks.
#4 Virat Kohli
Indian skipper Virat Kohli is considered an aggressive player, who does not shy away from showing his emotions on the field. In last year’s IPL, the Delhi-born batsman was in blazing form and became the only batsman to score more than 800 runs in a single season.
Coming to the celebration in question, it was in the match against Kings XI Punjab, a match that had been shortened to 15 overs per side due to rain. However, it had little effect on Kohli as he smashed a 50-ball 113 (his fourth century of the season) to help RCB set an imposing target of 212 in 15 overs.
On reaching his 100 with a boundary off just 47 balls, Kohli celebrated by pulling off his helmet and tapping his left hand with his right, five times. The underlying reason for this celebration is what makes it so special.
The star batsman was playing with multiple stitches after suffering a split webbing. Battling through the pain, the Indian captain played a superhuman knock to help his team. Speaking about it after the match, he said, "I was afraid that I had split my webbing badly. But I told the physio that I want to play anyhow. A bit of injury gives extra motivation and it feels sweeter to do that extra bit for the team."
#3 Chris Gayle
Of course the West Indians are going to fill up this list! They have that kind of energy imbibed in their blood since their birth. Give them a reason to celebrate, and they will never shy away.
Chris Gayle, who is probably the world’s most explosive batsman, is no exception. We have seen him dance to Gangnam Style and perform the bhangra, all while smashing the bowlers into orbit. He does have a very simple mindset when it comes to batting.
We all love watching him destroy the opposition. But what we love most about him is his carefree, unhinged celebrations. During his record-breaking 117 off 57 balls (one of many) against Kings XI Punjab in 2015, the West Indian celebrated his century in a special way. And it happened to be the trademark celebration of none other than Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo!
The West Indian ran a few yards before jumping up in the air. While in the air, he spun before landing with his hands spread out in a majestic fashion. Speaking about it later, Gayle said, “I'm a Cristiano Ronaldo fan and I told them if I got a hundred, I'd celebrate like him.”
#2 Darren Sammy
Yet another West Indian (and we promise he is the last) makes this list. Sammy is known for his flamboyant celebrations on the pitch, usually breaking into a peculiar dance to celebrate a landmark.
On this occasion, however, it was indeed a special milestone that he was celebrating. Sammy had arrived late for season 6 of the IPL as he was at home for the birth of his daughter. Sunrisers Hyderabad were taking on Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur and they were already reeling at 19/5 when Sammy came into bat.
The lanky batsman got down to business and resurrected the innings with a 41-ball 60. As he completed his 50, his first in T20s, the West Indian took out a baby pacifier and started sucking on it. He proceeded to bring his arms together in a cradling action to celebrate the birth of his daughter.
Explaining it afterwards, he said, “I just had a baby girl back home and I was in my room thinking about how I would celebrate. I saw my baby girl suck on the pacifier and then I said to myself ‘Oh, I will get my pacifier out after a wicket or a landmark.’ And that’s how this style of celebrating came about.”
#1 Tabraiz Shamsi
Tabraiz Shamsi was not a popular name when the Royal Challengers Bangalore included him in their squad as a replacement for Samuel Badree in last year’s IPL. However. by the time the IPL finished, his popularity had soared, more because of his unusual celebrations than his bowling exploits.
The slow left-arm chinaman bowler from South Africa was known for his colourful celebrations during his days in the Carribean Premier League. In fact, he has his own special celebration, the Bus Driver, which was on show during the entirety of IPL 9 as well.
In the group stage match between the two eventual finalists, Sunrisers Hyderabad and RCB, David Warner’s explosive hitting had given SRH a dream start as they were cruising at 152 for 1 in the 16th over. However, Shamsi managed to get the better of Warner and dismissed him for 92.
The celebration that followed was nothing new. But this time, none other than Virat Kohli joined in. It goes without saying that Warner was not too impressed by it.