What was Chris Gayle’s “diving stop” like?

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Chris Gayle (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 34, India v West Indies

Chris Gayle stopped a Virat Kohli shot. He dived to stop it. Sort of. It was perhaps even more spectacular than that time he ran.

Think back to the family holidays of your childhood. With slightly too many people rammed into the back of a Vauxhall Cavalier, you would undertake two long, ultra-hot days of driving towards some remote corner of France. You would listen to Dire Straits. Maybe Fleetwood Mac. Maybe the Tall Stories Monster Munch tape.

Once you’d arrived at your destination, you would then spend 12 days in the pool.

As a child, this is what holidays are supposed to involve. You’re supposed to muck about in water. Adults would go in the pool too, but they were never there by default. Children are fish. Adults are land mammals. When an adult looked like they might be about to enter the pool, you always noticed.

Remember that big guy? Slow walker. With hindsight he’d probably had a bit of wine with his lunch. He ambles up to the side of the pool and lines his feet up at the edge. He’s going to get in. You’re watching.

There are three ways to get into a pool as an adult:

  1. You lower yourself in gradually
  2. You gallumph in, arse first
  3. You dive in

Big guy goes for the dive.

Sometimes you get these people who do not look in the least bit athletic who can really swim. It’s latent swimming ability that they can tap into whenever they choose. Walking up a set of steps will get them out of breath, but with their body weight supported by the water, they’ll knock out 20 lengths of gliding, splashless front crawl no problem.

You can spot these people instantly. They always dive in and when they do so, they pierce the water like a dart.

Big guy is not one of those people.

Big guy just sort of keels over forwards and executes an arched-backed full body flop. Seen in a wholly different context, you’d do well to reach any conclusion other than “sniper victim”.

When the stars align and a cricket ball is about to pass him at exactly the right speed and exactly the right distance, that is exactly how Chris Gayle executes a diving stop.


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  1. YJB: “That wasn’t a typical Oval wicket we played South Africa on in the opening game. It wasn’t a typical Trent Bridge wicket we played Pakistan on. It wasn’t a typical Lord’s wicket that we played the other day. They’re not the typical wickets we’ve been playing on over two and a bit years.”

    1. He sounds like Morgan, who also has an inexplicably fiercely held belief about what pitches *should* be like.

      You don’t get to decide on the pitches, lads.

      1. Oh good, they’ve started getting tetchy and blaming journalists. Always a promising sign.

    2. Hmmm.

      I have now read that YJB interview in full and I think there is sufficient nuance in his comments – you can judge for yourselves:


      FYI, it is the ICC that is directing the curating of the pitches for this tournament. Nothing wrong with that, but it must at least partially explain why particular grounds end up with pitches that behave differently from “normal”, i.e. when the ICC is not there to direct pitch preparation.

      I have been vocal in my criticism of the ICC’s overly-commercial approach to the in-ground experience for supporters – it was/is truly ghastly. At Lord’s, where the scoreboards are the big screens, it meant that we were hardly ever shown the score. Replays were often cut short in order to revert to adverts, And that’s before an old-timer like me starts to complain about 8 hours of solid, banal noise.

      But I’m not critical of the ICC’s aim to produce pitches that make for a good contest between bat and ball – indeed I applaud that aspect.

      I also think the TV coverage has been pretty good this time around – it’s just a shame that the UK doesn’t show any of it on free-to-air television, but that matter is not the ICC’s fault – the ECB still has failed to get a grip on the reality of that massive broadcasting shortcoming.

      1. @Gedd, I’m not sure where the nuance lies, to be honest. He’s basically saying that the pitches aren’t roads and they are unable to cope with anything else. That’s pretty poor.

  2. Well, the day has finally come: Tres has announced his retirement. I now await the deluge of national media coverage, broadsheet souvenir supplements, street parties and extra bank holiday this will inevitably involve as this colossus of the game finally calls it a day.

    Marcus Trescothick.


      1. Definitely merits a brief moment of silence, that.

        Of course, given his batting scores this season, it’s a decision he may have taken slightly too late, but… who would begrudge him the chance to be part of a team which finally – no, I don’t want to say it out loud

  3. Bravo yer maj. This is one of your best pieces ever I reckon. Very evocative indeed. Maybe slightly biased by my own recollections of an overcrowded Cavalier, but it captures and combines certain moments in time perfectly.

  4. We always strive for the narrowest possible audience, but we so rarely get to hear from that one person. Delighted to know this one found somebody.

    1. Didn’t get around to mentioning it, what with the Tresco ‘thing’, but – yes, this is tremendous. I agree that this is one of your best pieces on the site. Superb analogy.

      Hang on – if Bail-out’s the one-person audience, who am I…?

      1. Well basically we’ve massively overshot and written something with far too broad appeal.

      2. Och, I loved the piece, I obviously did, but Trescothick is retiring having been my home county hero for two thirds of my life and 100% of my cricket watching time so please forgive me for not giving that my attention first…

      3. Fact of the day: Chris Tavare was Trescothick’s first county captain in 1993. Chris Tavare is now 65 years old.

      4. Fascinating Tavare fact, Sam, although in truth he is 64, currently in his 65th year.

        Apropos to Tavare and as a prelude to England v India on Sunday, here is the scorecard from a previous world cup encounter between those two teams – the 1983 semi-final.

        **Spoiler Alert** This does not end well for England.


        Fascinating Tavare fact of the day number two: quintessential slow-coach Tavare has the fastest scoring rate of all the England batsmen in that match, exceeded only by a quickfire dash by Dilley right at the end of the innings.

    1. Certainly took the sting out of the Sri Lankan innings. Cricket’s all about the honey these days anyway.

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