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:
- You lower yourself in gradually
- You gallumph in, arse first
- 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.