Mohammad Nabi’s wicket celebration is our favourite wicket celebration

Posted by
2 minute read
Mohammad Nabi (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 36, Afghanistan v Pakistan

We’ll freely admit that we’re not impartial on this one. Impartiality is for the BBC. We’re highly partial when it comes to Mohammad Nabi and don’t give a flying full toss who knows it.

From our massively biased position, Mohammad Nabi’s celebration of the dismissal of Babar Azam was the best celebration so far this World Cup.

There are many ways to celebrate a wicket. Dale Steyn did the mad chainsaw-starting action; Imran Tahir sprints for five eternities; Brett Lee did that weird, camp heel-click thing; while at this World Cup several of England’s players have been reprising the Ian Botham see-saw fingers celebration from 1992.

None are as good as Mohammad Nabi’s Babar Azam celebration though.

The delivery was special. As far as we can tell, it was beyond non-turning – it looked like it actually turned against the spin. Babar swept, missed and the Zing bails zang or possibly zung.

What Nabi did at this point was even more special. He took 100 per cent of the adrenaline and elation he felt and he put half of it into his finger and half of it into his face and none of it anywhere else.

Here’s his face (and his finger).

Bloody delighted he was. So bloody delighted, in fact, that there was a delight surplus, a little of which spilled into the umpire.

What you can’t see from these still shots is how slowly he was walking and that was the thing that was so wonderful about this celebration.

When celebrating a big, cool wicket, bowlers tend to either (a) charge madly, or (b) come to a complete standstill so that they have a good, firm base from which to launch their celebratory pyrotechnics.

Nabi ambled.

Nabi ambled, but it wasn’t a cool, sneering, I-expected-to-take-a-wicket-anyway amble. Nabi did a delighted amble.

Mohammad Nabi fired that one finger into the air with such urgent force that you could see the aftershocks ripple through his body. His face burst into the purest gleeful smile. Then, with all of that excitement and all of those endorphins coursing through him, he just ambled.

No destination in mind, no follow-up fist pumping. Just an unimaginably slow amble with one finger aloft and a massive great grin.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. Afghanistan’s celebrations have been an ornament to the competition. Gulbadin Naib’s bicep flexing is a thing of beauty.

  2. Did you see Steve Smith pull the double elbowed chicken dance back out of international retirement the other day?

      1. He was bowling off breaks to the lefties and leg breaks to the right handers

  3. Phew…

    … that inexplicable (from India’s POV) anti-climax means the pessimism can be kept at arm’s length for a little longer. Can breathe now

  4. So, who’s up for writing a series of articles laying into Bairstow over the next three days?

    1. I reckon the England camp should take on a permanent member of staff just to do that job…

      1. On this week’s edition of Emma John’s excellent ‘The Spin’ podcast, someone – either Jamie Theakston or Miles Jupp – described YJB’s beard as ‘a mess’.

      2. True that all the “motivator” would need to do is monitor Bairstow carefully for any signs of him getting too comfortable, then mutter darkly to him that the media are suggesting he’s no longer up to it.

        Ideally he needs to rein the righteous fury in just a touch, mind. His century makes it easy to forget that his first couple of boundaries were horrible miscues, either one of which could have seen him playing on. (Just imagine the dressing-room conflagrations which might result from his getting out before he’d proved to the world how wrong they all are.)

  5. That was a terrible bowling performance from India today. I mean 4 of your 5 bowlers having an off day is pretty bad (yes Shami took 5 wickets but leaked loads of runs).

    1. They were all discombobulated by the strangely coincidental, minimal 59m boundary, according to Mr Kohli in his post match interview.

      Is it beholden on a spokesperson from every team to complain about some aspect of the pitch/wicket preparation if the match doesn’t go their way? Embarrassing, I find it.

      1. I think that’s down to the fact that everything they do is analysed to the last detail by armchair experts on Twitter and whatnot. They’re just laying down the case for the defense 🙂

    2. Not sure, the spinners were taken down in a fantastic assault, credit where it’s due. Shami, except for his last 2, and Bumrah were excellent. Pandya was about par.

      Chahal and Kuldeep should learn from this, and so should Kohli about how to manage them all in the face of an assault from a top batting line up; Roy and Bairstow were fantastic in overs 11-20 scoring more than 90, and that was where the game got away.

      I still think this was a good game for India in terms of the learning opportunities it presented – looking down 400, pulling it back, whom to bowl in the last 10, learning how far does our current approach take us, settling down in-chase Rahul, under – pressure lone opener Rohit, and first – world-cup Pant… We needed this kind of game, will only get better because of this.

      1. @Ameya, agree with everything you said 🙂

        I think India could try opening with Pant and getting Rahul in at 4 in the next game.

  6. Finally, can I just go on record, belatedly, to say how much I hate cricket bat electric guitar and the guy playing it (not personally, just the concept). Thanks

      1. I sat 50 yards away from it in the full glare of the sun with a bastard of a hangover during #SLvSA. Before long I wanted to bludgeon the guy to death with the blasted instrument. A group of screeching local schoolkids were nearby also, joining in frequent shouting matches with Sri Lanka top fan ‘The Captain’ (36).

        While we’re at it, can I also put on record how much I hate all of the contrived ‘fan-tertainment’ at these games?!

      2. Oh and Sky is now owned by Comcast, and far as I know will no longer have Murdoch backing or influence. Rejoice!

      1. Seeth on Daisy!

        I love rock and roll.
        I love cricket.
        I love them separately.
        For people who like them together, there are earbuds and playlists – they don’t even have to restrict themselves to over and wicket breaks.
        I’m not even sure about all the rock and rolling that goes on with DRS.

        Dose anyone, of any generation (target or not) actually decide to go to the cricket because of the noise between overs? As in, “Hell yeah, even if the cricket’s shit the one-minute bursts of classic rock will be great?”

      2. Mr Ladd, your piece about the ‘thumping bollocks’ atmosphere has, as I believe the modern yoof parlance to be, ‘nailed it’.

        It’s like someone else put my thoughts down on ‘paper’.

    1. Hangover on arrival is somewhat self-inflicted woe though, eh Mike?

      Do we get an explanation by way of a match report? The least you could do for us in the circumstances, methinks.

  7. Angelo Mathews, bowling for the first time in two years, coming on in the 48th over and immediately taking the matchwinning wicket had a pretty good celebration too.

    ‘Mathews to Pooran, OUT, Mathews strikes first ball! And what a fistpump to celebrate, very nearly knocked his team-mate out with that fist.’

    1. And with a delivery that could only be described as absolute filth. A truly magical moment.

Comments are closed.