Up in the air
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Up in the air

May 28, 2023

Daryl Mitchell isn't seeing the gravity of the situation © Getty Images

It's little thought about, but cricketers spend a fair bit of time in the air, and not just on flights. The exertions of cricket demand the occasional suspension of gravity, be it diving for a catch, leaping at the end of a run-up or levitating a la David Blaine, as Daryl Mitchell did at Headingley last year.

Fans also must defy gravity to get the best spots at the stadium, like this roof jumper in Lahore in the picture below.

Mission Impossible: Overhead Reckoning, coming soon to a stadium near you, starring Tom Bruise Jewel Samad / © AFP/Getty Images

York and England cricketer Mary Johnson demonstrates that what men can do women can do better, and in a skirt.

She's like the wind: no catch too far for Mary Jo Bert Hardy / © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There's a good chuckle to be had watching grown men, and famous cricketers like David Lloyd at that, play at leapfrog in training.

David Lloyd's team-mates back down so he can get ahead © Getty Images

But it's a vital skill in match situations so you can do what Jos Buttler had to do at the T20 World Cup.

Batkour: Buttler takes immediate evasive action on finding Axar Patel in his flight path © Getty Images

Ever wonder what it looks like from the ball's point of view to see a fielder lunge to grab you? Dwayne Bravo gives us a taste.

POV: You're a cricket ball Mark Dadswell / © Getty Images

Forward short-leg fielders have arguably the most dangerous positions in the field, and it's imperative that they be expert contortionists so they're not brained by a belligerent shot. Here, Gautam Gambhir illustrates "the armadillo".

Stop, hop and roll: Gambhir takes a flying fetal position to avoid a Michael Clarke missile Prakash Singh / © AFP/Getty Images

There's been much talk about the unorthodoxy of Bazball and where Brendon McCullum learned his freewheeling cricket ways, but no one credits his son Riley for kickstarting the revolution.

Bazbabe: how Brendon McCullum honed his wicketkeeping skills Ezra Shaw / © Getty Images

Don't want to be caught pitch-invading? You'd better be a champion hurdler or you could lose your bails.

It'll take more than a Viking invasion to faze Shane Warne Owen Humphreys / © PA Photos/Getty Images

Usman Khawaja may be the only current cricketer with a pilot's license, but all batters must learn to fly.

Ian Bell goes full throttle to make his ground in time © PA Photos/Getty Images

No jet fuel? Adrenaline will work just as well, ask Irfan Pathan.

Brian Lara's wicket is the wind beneath Ifran Pathan's wings Indranil Mukherjee / © AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes you must take to the air for a good cause. Tim Farris, lead guitarist of INXS, mortally afraid of heights and flying, volunteered to sky-dive his way into a charity cricket match at Manly Oval in 2001, clad in full cricket gear.

You say jump, I say how high: Farris is ready for your highest bouncer David Hancock / © AFP/Getty Images

Fast bowlers in their run-up are poetry in motion, all windmilling arms and legs. Or, if you're Shoaib Akhtar, a pretzel.

Shoaib Akhtar, coiled and ready to spring Jack Atley / © AllSport UK Ltd

And sometimes you make the flight all right, but you can't stick the landing, as Pat Cummins recently found out in the process of giving himself a black eye at Lord's.

He is beauty, he is grace... he has fallen on his face Stu Forster / © Getty Images

Deepti Unni is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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