Fans stand to attention for Cottrell’s salute

Manchester: West Indies paceman Sheldon Cottrell has handed plenty of batsmen their marching orders at the Cricket World Cup and seen his unique celebration win an army of followers online.

A serving member of the Jamaica Defence Force, Cottrell’s march and salute has been his trademark since bursting onto the international scene in 2013 and the distinct send-off has caught the imagination of fans at the World Cup. The left-arm quick returned figures of 4-56 in his team’s five-run loss to New Zealand on Saturday to take his tally for the tournament to nine.

“It’s a military-style salute. I’m a soldier by profession. Me saluting is just to show my respect to the Jamaica Defence Force,” Cottrell told the BBC. “I do it every time I get a wicket. I practised it for six months when I was training in the army,” he said.

Among the many videos of the Cottrell imitation on Twitter, a clip of a young boy and girl copying the bowler’s salute in a British street has gone viral. The person who shot the video of the young fans asked the paceman where he could buy a West Indies jersey with his name at the back. Cottrell responded by inviting the youngsters to the West Indies’ next match against India on Thursday, but is concerned about them missing school for the clash at Old Trafford.

“I’m looking into it for you,” Cottrell replied on Twitter. “Thanks for your support. Would like to invite you to the game in Manchester if your not already attending? #salute (it’s a week day tho).”

However, not everyone is a fan of Cottrell’s flamboyance, with England coach Trevor Bayliss telling ESPN Cricinfo it annoys older cricket-watchers. West Indies players have always been synonymous with innovative celebratory styles. The Darren Sammy-led side celebrated their World Twenty20 title win with a trademark Champion Dance in 2016 just as the ‘Gangnam-Style’ dance was used during their first T20 triumph in 2012.