Samir Chopra August 4, 2008

Snap judgment

The look of the game has changed over the years
46





Frozen in time: Alvin Kallicharan effortlessly hooks John Snow during the 1973 Test series © The Cricketer International
Is it just me or does it seem like cricket fans are just a little bit more obsessed than the usual sports fan with photographs of the game? Exposure to cricket photographs starts early; there is a steady diet of newspaper and online galleries, full-page blowups in magazines, coffee-table books by folks with last names like Eagar, all reinforced by slow-motion replays on television. Slowly, a certain set of iconic images starts to jell, and by the late teens and into early adulthood, the average cricket fan can start pointing to favourite photographs, his listing of his reasons for this choice offering a revelatory glimpse of his cricketing aesthetic.

A good photo more than just freeze the actions, catching cricketers at moments of poised athletic grace and power. It offers us a hint of what came before and after; it invites us to think about the effect of the action on display on the game being played; it instantly captures a mood, and urges a description, a captioning, on our part. Sometimes the action captured can make us think about the physics of the action at hand, reminding us that one reason we pay good money to watch these men play is that they are capable of doing things we can only dream out. This is certainly the case with two of the most dramatic photographs I've ever laid eyes on.

The first is that of Alvin Kallicharran hooking John Snow during the 1973 Test series. Anyone that has seen this photo knows which one I'm talking about (raise your hand if you do). Kallicharan is poised on his right foot, his left leg raised and bent at the knee, performing a seemingly impossible balancing act as he hooks, crisply and powerfully, over his shoulder. In the background, Snow can be seen, perhaps despairing that his intended thunderbolt has been dispatched.

The second photo is that of Don Bradman stepping out to drive "Farmer" White during the 1928-29 series. (I have to admit, I'm a little obsessed about this photograph, having mentioned it before on rec.sport.cricket and on my blog, and no, I don't have a link to it). In this photo: Bradman is at least six feet out of his crease, and the back face of Bradman's bat is parallel to his upright back. Bradman seems to have sailed down the pitch and whiplashed this furious off-drive, with the bat swinging over his shoulder and then down. The crispness of the action on display is palpable, almost making the photograph itself sharper. (Actually, I do have favourite photographs of bowlers in action as well, but I think I will save discussion of those for another day.)

The look of the game has changed over the years. Helmets now cheat us of the bare-headed batsman, the batsman with the country cap; the sponsor's logos cheat us of the pristine shirt fronts of old; the half-sleeve shirts prevent us from glimpsing the rolled sleeves of the fast bowler as he charges in; the new style pads look spongy and sodden; tyre manufacturers logos sprout on bats. But these do not prevent, in the good cricket photograph, a glimpse of what is really at issue: a cricketer, captured for a moment by an image that expresses his cricketing powers vividly and memorably.

Which photographs over the years did this for you and why? Do you find they express a particular cricketing preference of yours?

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rohan Kallicharan on November 4, 2008, 13:50 GMT

    Vijay is right, the picture above is of dad hooking Lillee at the Oval during the 1975 World Cup. With no bias, it remains one of my favourites and has pride of place in my living room.

  • David Connors on August 8, 2008, 7:00 GMT

    Three photos that stand out for me are 1. Trevor Chappell delivering that fateful underarm delivery to Brian McKeknie at the MCG. 2. Merv Hughes warming up at the MCG in the summer of 88/89 with the entire bay behind him aping every single side stretch and shoulder roll. 3. Steve Waugh at Lords in 1989. Stretching forward to play John Emburey. His back foot is parallel to the crease as he deals with the delivery with nonchalant ease. Textbook forward defence under the baggy green.

  • Engle on August 5, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    The one photo that had me transfixed, almost hypnotized, is the black and white one of Thommo, sling-shot, shark-jawed, hair flowing back, powerful leg and arms perfectly poised and placed, muscles straining to unleash the thunderbolt that's barely visible behind leg.

    For sheer artistic beauty, singular simplicity combined with coiled potential destruction, it should rank as one of the great sports pictures of all time.

    Cricket's version of Michaelangelo's David

  • Ralph Zimmermann on August 5, 2008, 8:42 GMT

    The West Indians of the '70s and '80s were very photo-genic: another classic is the one of Holding booting the stumps over in New Zealand. Holding's litheness never ceases to amaze me!

  • Gokul on August 5, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    Apropos my earlier post about Eknath Solkar, I wonder if you (Samir Chopra) can print some pics of Solkar's amazing catches. It's will be a treat to the eyes of many criket lovers, esp. those not familiar with Solkar's genius in fielding. Thanks again for the memories.

  • Vijay B on August 5, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    3 Photos Iconic in themselves...

    a. Jonty Rhodes Entrance into international conscience.. The runout photo of inzamam ul haq in the 1992 WC... Flying through the air and hitting the stump.

    b. Another one from the 1992 World cup, Alan Donald's greased lightning photograph in the sportstar. Donald's front on picture in his delivery stride, zinc cream on his face and sporting the light green SA attire...

    3. Micheal Holding in his delivery stride signifying his sobriquet "Whispering Death"

    4. Boycott's stumps flying out at the end of "THAT OVER" from Micheal Holding

  • Brendanvio on August 5, 2008, 3:04 GMT

    There's plenty of pictures that stand out from the game, and some that have become iconic. The Tied Test final wicket, the 99 world cup semi triumph, and anything with Viv Richards. No player looks more imperious in photos than Viv playing a drive or a hook. Great stuff.

  • Gokul on August 5, 2008, 2:44 GMT

    I used to wait at a newspaper stall in Mumbai near my scchool for the latest issue of Sports & Pastime to devour the pics of the latest concluded match. One that stands out was of Eknath Solkar taking a catch, his body on the ground including his hands except the palms w. a ball that he caught. I don't rememeber the match or the opposition. That is one of the many of Solkar's amazing catches that stand out. Thanks Solkar for the memories, long before Jonty.

  • Samir Chopra on August 5, 2008, 1:40 GMT

    Folks, thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming. I should point out, in the interests of accuracy, that that photograph of Kalli is not the one I had in mind. Let me put in another effort to try and find it.

  • Mac on August 5, 2008, 0:37 GMT

    Oh, of course, there is also the Ashes 2005 photograph of Flintoff consoling a dejected Brett Lee even as the rest of the English team celebrates. Can't think of many better instances when cricket lived up to its billing as the gentleman's game.

  • Rohan Kallicharan on November 4, 2008, 13:50 GMT

    Vijay is right, the picture above is of dad hooking Lillee at the Oval during the 1975 World Cup. With no bias, it remains one of my favourites and has pride of place in my living room.

  • David Connors on August 8, 2008, 7:00 GMT

    Three photos that stand out for me are 1. Trevor Chappell delivering that fateful underarm delivery to Brian McKeknie at the MCG. 2. Merv Hughes warming up at the MCG in the summer of 88/89 with the entire bay behind him aping every single side stretch and shoulder roll. 3. Steve Waugh at Lords in 1989. Stretching forward to play John Emburey. His back foot is parallel to the crease as he deals with the delivery with nonchalant ease. Textbook forward defence under the baggy green.

  • Engle on August 5, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    The one photo that had me transfixed, almost hypnotized, is the black and white one of Thommo, sling-shot, shark-jawed, hair flowing back, powerful leg and arms perfectly poised and placed, muscles straining to unleash the thunderbolt that's barely visible behind leg.

    For sheer artistic beauty, singular simplicity combined with coiled potential destruction, it should rank as one of the great sports pictures of all time.

    Cricket's version of Michaelangelo's David

  • Ralph Zimmermann on August 5, 2008, 8:42 GMT

    The West Indians of the '70s and '80s were very photo-genic: another classic is the one of Holding booting the stumps over in New Zealand. Holding's litheness never ceases to amaze me!

  • Gokul on August 5, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    Apropos my earlier post about Eknath Solkar, I wonder if you (Samir Chopra) can print some pics of Solkar's amazing catches. It's will be a treat to the eyes of many criket lovers, esp. those not familiar with Solkar's genius in fielding. Thanks again for the memories.

  • Vijay B on August 5, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    3 Photos Iconic in themselves...

    a. Jonty Rhodes Entrance into international conscience.. The runout photo of inzamam ul haq in the 1992 WC... Flying through the air and hitting the stump.

    b. Another one from the 1992 World cup, Alan Donald's greased lightning photograph in the sportstar. Donald's front on picture in his delivery stride, zinc cream on his face and sporting the light green SA attire...

    3. Micheal Holding in his delivery stride signifying his sobriquet "Whispering Death"

    4. Boycott's stumps flying out at the end of "THAT OVER" from Micheal Holding

  • Brendanvio on August 5, 2008, 3:04 GMT

    There's plenty of pictures that stand out from the game, and some that have become iconic. The Tied Test final wicket, the 99 world cup semi triumph, and anything with Viv Richards. No player looks more imperious in photos than Viv playing a drive or a hook. Great stuff.

  • Gokul on August 5, 2008, 2:44 GMT

    I used to wait at a newspaper stall in Mumbai near my scchool for the latest issue of Sports & Pastime to devour the pics of the latest concluded match. One that stands out was of Eknath Solkar taking a catch, his body on the ground including his hands except the palms w. a ball that he caught. I don't rememeber the match or the opposition. That is one of the many of Solkar's amazing catches that stand out. Thanks Solkar for the memories, long before Jonty.

  • Samir Chopra on August 5, 2008, 1:40 GMT

    Folks, thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming. I should point out, in the interests of accuracy, that that photograph of Kalli is not the one I had in mind. Let me put in another effort to try and find it.

  • Mac on August 5, 2008, 0:37 GMT

    Oh, of course, there is also the Ashes 2005 photograph of Flintoff consoling a dejected Brett Lee even as the rest of the English team celebrates. Can't think of many better instances when cricket lived up to its billing as the gentleman's game.

  • Mac on August 5, 2008, 0:34 GMT

    One of my favorite cricket photographs is Tendulkar playing the upper-cut on India's 2007-08 tour of Australia. Playing the shot against Brett Lee probably required more skill. But there was an instance when he played it against Mitchell Johnson even after Ponting had posted fielders for the shot. The grace and balance of the batsman as he leaned away from the bouncer and the bowler's exasperation at the audacious shot make it a special moment in the Ind-Aus series.

  • Sumit Kishore on August 5, 2008, 0:01 GMT

    Can't cite when and where for these photos, but these stay etched in my mind:

    - Kapil Dev pulling, one foot off the ground.

    - Malcolm Marshall - and for that matter the early Wasim Akram - just before he delivered.

  • Krishnan on August 4, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    I think a lot of the cricket photographs mentioned above were truly great. But a cricket quote moved me very deepy, when Mark Waugh from the commentary box after the SCG test against India in 2004 talking about steve's retirement said in a choking voice, "the name waugh will never again be seen on a score board in Australia". The passion and love for the game and country was deeply touching.

  • Krishnan on August 4, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    I think a lot of the cricket photographs mentioned above were truly great. But a cricket quote moved me very deepy, when Mark Waugh from the commentary box after the SCG test against India in 2004 talking about steve's retirement said in a choking voice, "the name waugh will never again be seen on a score board in Australia". The passion and love for the game and country was deeply touching.

  • nkb on August 4, 2008, 23:06 GMT

    Jumping Javed imitating kiran more

  • kyser on August 4, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    The most handsome player with the most beautiful run up , jump & follow though is " IMRAN KHAN " .A lot of his photos while bowling or batting ( with his glass front helmet) in whites & the world cup 1992 final pics are all amazing. He is my hero !!

  • Vijay Kumar on August 4, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    I prefer the "Kallicharan hooking Lille" photo from the 1975 World Cup. The Tied test is another preennial favourite as is Brian Lara retaking the world record. Above all there are one photo I cherish: Lara signing autographs for schoolchildren in Barbados after a practice session. Photographs, yes, they do freeze that special moment in time.

  • Ralph Zimmermann on August 4, 2008, 18:41 GMT

    Alok's recalled a great photo that takes some beating of the four West Indian fast bowlers (comment about 12 down).

    Personally my favourite is the famous one of Viv Richards effortlessly hooking Ian Botham - Botham, hair flying all over the place, craning his neck up; Richards' serene face, perfect balance. It's the most perfect cricket shot ever captured on camera in my opinion.

  • Habib Rehman on August 4, 2008, 18:09 GMT

    I think if you look at any pictures of IMRAN KHAN in late 70's or early 80's he beats everyone else by miles.

  • Prakash Singh on August 4, 2008, 17:58 GMT

    Srikanth on one knee and executing square(or cover) drive off Andy Roberts in 1983 Finals.It didn't look that great while watching on TV but the photo said it all.I don't give darn about your pace...here take this.

  • hemant on August 4, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    South Africa vs Aus, 99 world cup semis, when donald is stranded on one end w Klusener. Dissapointment on the non striker's (yellow) end while elation on the (green) striker's.

  • Atul Bhogle on August 4, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    A few which readily come to mind:

    1. Trumper's exaggerated drive 2. Thommo's slingshot taken side-on 3. Steve Waugh making his way back to the pavillion for the last time at the MCG (third test, Ind v Aus, 2004) - it is the arena which makes this dramatic really; it is not a very famous one either, but it had appeared in The Hindu and remains etched in my memory 4. The run out in the first tied test match 5. CK Nayudu hooking some bowler wearing a jute hat :) 6. Donald's run out in '99 semi final

  • mk49 on August 4, 2008, 14:44 GMT

    The classic shot from the early '80s of Kim Hughes pulling Joel Garner - taken from behind the batsmen. Garner appears to be floating in the air, quite literally like a big giant bird. Hughes' pose is one of defiance and he won the battle of that ball with Garner -but you can also sense that war is lost.

  • Rajesh kalyanaraman on August 4, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    Yor article bought back great memories. Contrary to sentiments in the first mail that "love of Cricket Photography" is not widespread, my childhood days were all about going through various sports magazines (especially Sport and Pastime, Illustrated Weekly etc, and repeatedly looking at Cricket photos.

    Equally thrilling pastime was going through my Uncle's collection of Cricket photos (during my summer vacation visits) that he dilligently cutout and collected from his younger days (50s and 60s). Some of the great black & whites that I recollect were off Sobers, Gundappa Viswanath & Chandrashekar.

  • Alok on August 4, 2008, 13:37 GMT

    I meant Colin Croft.... thanks for pointing it out Roy

  • Daniel on August 4, 2008, 13:31 GMT

    I dunno how defining this image is, but Ive had 2 posters on my wall as long as I remember, I shared a room with my older brother so they started as his, the one above my bed was of Steve Waugh executing a picture perfect straight drive in Gunn & Moore gear, so god knows how old it is. Im 23 now though and still have the picture stuck on my bedroom wall. Defining for me maybe

  • Charindra on August 4, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    For me, it's the pic of Arjuna Ranatunga holding aloft the world cup in 96 next to the Pakistani President after beating Australia in the final. It was an extraordinary summer Down Under where Murali was called for chucking on Boxing Day, the Sri Lankans were accused of ball tampering, the players were targeted with racially charged insults and Aus refused to play a world cup match in SL with Shane Warne saying that he could be killed by a bomb blast while shopping if they did, and so much more. And to end it all by beating them so emphatically, was just unreal. It still has to be one of the most romantic images in the history of cricket, not least because, that night, Warne went wicketless conceding 58 runs!

  • Swaminath on August 4, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    Kapil Dev's 4 sixes off Hemmings is fresh in mind for me. There was no live action on TV then. I was listening to the commentary. Each one of those 4 sixes left me with a sense of pride knowing that this man was fighting it out for the Indians in such a heroic manner. In those days Indians were the perennial pushovers when it came to playing overseas.

  • Shiraz Ibrahim on August 4, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    And the one of Miandad and Lilee that shows the sturdy nature and toughness cricket demands

  • Roy on August 4, 2008, 11:55 GMT

    Dude Alok, thanks for sharing your memories. However, Robert Croft couldn't be standing with the other three you mentioned and if he does, then that spoils the entire effect of the picture that you went at length to describe. It must've been Colin Croft you were referring to. Anyway, I recall a photo of Sachin Tendulkar on a tree, but I guess that was super-imposed during the Sachin-crazy era!

  • KM on August 4, 2008, 11:27 GMT

    The 1987 world cup final, there is a picture of Bruce Reid running out Allan Lamb I think which turned the match decisively in favor of the aussies.

  • Prakash on August 4, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    Aus v England in 1974-5?...Lillee(?) to Grieg (?) with all 9 fielders in Slip cordon..except the square leg umpire all on the field are on view...

  • Karthik on August 4, 2008, 10:18 GMT

    Victor Trumper, jumping out to drive. That's the defining cricket photograph, for me.

  • Alok on August 4, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    It is not exactly a cricketing photo, but the my favourite one has to be of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Robert Croft and Joel Garner, standing together on a cricket ground in their whites.

    There are no smiles, and the body language is one of unremitting hostility. You can see it in their half hidden scowls, their taut muscles barely hiding the underlying menace and danger that these men bear. In a way, this photo (taken maybe five years before I was born), sort of cuts across time and space and gives me some measure of the fear and intimidation faced by batsmen of that era. Sure there are (in)famous Youtube videos of these guys actually bowling, but they don't capture, sufficiently the dread a batsman feels when knowing that this barrage of fast bowling would go on throughout the day, endlessly. In a single stroke, it increases my respect for a batsman like Sunil Gavaskar, thousand-fold. Against the stories of his stonewalling and selfishness, I remember that he stood up to them

  • riverlime on August 4, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    Surely no one forgets the immortal "Those within and those without"? Surely that picture transcends individualism.

  • Vivek on August 4, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    I can recall a b/w shot by Savita Kirloskar of Tendulkar and Azhar looking out of a dressing room. The youngster, his eyes sparkling, seems excited as if looking forward to the day's play, while his captain looks jaded and bored. If I am not wrong this photograph was first published in the Mid-day, but later donned the cover of the short-lived Cricket Talk.

  • Anshul on August 4, 2008, 8:12 GMT

    Jonty Rhodes, unsurprisingly, has made for some amazing action shots.

    There's the most famous one from Edgbaston 98 when he leapt backwards at point, a four feet above the ground to hold the catch at full stretch. It has become so iconic that Cricinfo uses it as his profile picture: http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/46973.html

    Then there's the one from 92 world cup when he dived into the stumps to run out a stupefied Inzamam.

  • Sharath on August 4, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    One cricket photo that stands out in my mind appears in John Wright's "Indian Summers". It's a low angle shot of a seven to eight year old girl clutching the wire frame at the boundary, eyes wide open with anxiety (or is it confusion?) at what's happening on the field.

    Below the picture, Wright wrote: "I only wanted to give the people of India the cricket team they deserved" (or something to that effect)

    I stopped staring at the picture only to wipe the tears off my eyes.

    Those of you who've seen it know what I'm talking about.

  • Ravi Kumar on August 4, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    My interest in the game starting by cutting pictures from Sportsweek in the late 70s. Two of my favourite photos are 1) Packed offside for Sachin during his first test hundred in Old Trafford 2) Sachin and a lot of seagulls after he got out in Adelaide (I think) in the 1992-93 tour.

  • Supratik on August 4, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Brilliant piece on a forgotten but immense part of following cricket. The two photographs that remain etched in my memory is the end of the first tied test when the Joe Solomon throw ran out Mekiff. Where the sun was setting and the long shot shows the ground half in shadows and the other half where the sunrays were still beating down. The other one is of my hero Sunil Gavaskar down on one knee playing the extra cover drive, concentration etched in his eyes that were peering below his panama hat (no skull cap). This was against England in 1979. There are many other photos of Gavaskar in action that remain etched in my memory. There is another one which funnily is still at the top of the mind - one where Holding has kicked out a stump in frustation against the Kiwi umpiring in 1980. The fascinating part is that his right leg is almost at 120 degrees angle to the ground just shows the man's flexibility!

  • John on August 4, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    Rhodes flying in the air to beat Inzie?

  • Tilo on August 4, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    The picture of Andrew Flintoff consoling Brett Lee on the pitch after Australia's loss in the 2005 Ashes immediately springs to mind for me.

  • Paul Pinto on August 4, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    The best cricket photograph ever taken must surely be Hamish Blair's shot of Brian Lara evading a bouncer against Australia in (I believe) the 2003 series. Lara is completely off the ground - his feet are almost as high as the stumps in the shot, and he's strained every sinew to avoid this ball hitting him. Perhaps it isn't appropriate of Lara's talent to showcase a picture of him avoiding the ball, but in this case, I believe the picture portrays his commitment to excellence - the commitment to succeed against the very best, no matter what it takes. His record against Australia obviously needs no footnotes.

  • Kunal on August 4, 2008, 4:44 GMT

    The impressionable and enduring photo in my mind is that of 16-year-old curly haired wonderboy Sachin Tendulkar. The photo captured his follow-through after he had completed an aerial offdrive (a few degrees off his trademark straight drive). It was during an ODI against New Zealand in New Zealand. He was in the blue outfit and had faced Hadlee in the game.

    The image has lingered forever, even as I keep oscillating between "Shouldn't he retire?" and "Should he play?" :-) I think the photo is pretty central to the debate because it somewhat defines what he was and could be... and what he is today. After all, at that level, it's not in the runs you make but how you make them.

  • shaniva b on August 4, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    True, the Tour de France has an unbeatably scenic backdrop on which to paint its colours, but cricket too has it's fair share of unmatched imagery. There are the colourful crowds from the Subcontinent that the Tour de France cannot hold a candle to. There is the picturesquely manicured turf. There's coloured clothing. Frankly, every sport has it's share of magical photographic moments that etch themselves into our memory and in brilliant photos. That's the nature of professional sport. It lends itself to great photography.

  • David Barry on August 4, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    I'm not sure that love of cricket photography is quite as widespread amongst fans of the game as you suggest. For me, only one cricket photo stands out in my memory - the one taken at the end of the 1999 World Cup semi-final, showing all eleven euphoric Australians and one dejected South African.

    In terms of other sports, I'm not sure that cricket could beat cycling. There are a couple of fantastic sets of photos of this year's Tour de France on boston.com - of course, the backdrop of French countryside gives them a slight advantage over most sports.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • David Barry on August 4, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    I'm not sure that love of cricket photography is quite as widespread amongst fans of the game as you suggest. For me, only one cricket photo stands out in my memory - the one taken at the end of the 1999 World Cup semi-final, showing all eleven euphoric Australians and one dejected South African.

    In terms of other sports, I'm not sure that cricket could beat cycling. There are a couple of fantastic sets of photos of this year's Tour de France on boston.com - of course, the backdrop of French countryside gives them a slight advantage over most sports.

  • shaniva b on August 4, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    True, the Tour de France has an unbeatably scenic backdrop on which to paint its colours, but cricket too has it's fair share of unmatched imagery. There are the colourful crowds from the Subcontinent that the Tour de France cannot hold a candle to. There is the picturesquely manicured turf. There's coloured clothing. Frankly, every sport has it's share of magical photographic moments that etch themselves into our memory and in brilliant photos. That's the nature of professional sport. It lends itself to great photography.

  • Kunal on August 4, 2008, 4:44 GMT

    The impressionable and enduring photo in my mind is that of 16-year-old curly haired wonderboy Sachin Tendulkar. The photo captured his follow-through after he had completed an aerial offdrive (a few degrees off his trademark straight drive). It was during an ODI against New Zealand in New Zealand. He was in the blue outfit and had faced Hadlee in the game.

    The image has lingered forever, even as I keep oscillating between "Shouldn't he retire?" and "Should he play?" :-) I think the photo is pretty central to the debate because it somewhat defines what he was and could be... and what he is today. After all, at that level, it's not in the runs you make but how you make them.

  • Paul Pinto on August 4, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    The best cricket photograph ever taken must surely be Hamish Blair's shot of Brian Lara evading a bouncer against Australia in (I believe) the 2003 series. Lara is completely off the ground - his feet are almost as high as the stumps in the shot, and he's strained every sinew to avoid this ball hitting him. Perhaps it isn't appropriate of Lara's talent to showcase a picture of him avoiding the ball, but in this case, I believe the picture portrays his commitment to excellence - the commitment to succeed against the very best, no matter what it takes. His record against Australia obviously needs no footnotes.

  • Tilo on August 4, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    The picture of Andrew Flintoff consoling Brett Lee on the pitch after Australia's loss in the 2005 Ashes immediately springs to mind for me.

  • John on August 4, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    Rhodes flying in the air to beat Inzie?

  • Supratik on August 4, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Brilliant piece on a forgotten but immense part of following cricket. The two photographs that remain etched in my memory is the end of the first tied test when the Joe Solomon throw ran out Mekiff. Where the sun was setting and the long shot shows the ground half in shadows and the other half where the sunrays were still beating down. The other one is of my hero Sunil Gavaskar down on one knee playing the extra cover drive, concentration etched in his eyes that were peering below his panama hat (no skull cap). This was against England in 1979. There are many other photos of Gavaskar in action that remain etched in my memory. There is another one which funnily is still at the top of the mind - one where Holding has kicked out a stump in frustation against the Kiwi umpiring in 1980. The fascinating part is that his right leg is almost at 120 degrees angle to the ground just shows the man's flexibility!

  • Ravi Kumar on August 4, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    My interest in the game starting by cutting pictures from Sportsweek in the late 70s. Two of my favourite photos are 1) Packed offside for Sachin during his first test hundred in Old Trafford 2) Sachin and a lot of seagulls after he got out in Adelaide (I think) in the 1992-93 tour.

  • Sharath on August 4, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    One cricket photo that stands out in my mind appears in John Wright's "Indian Summers". It's a low angle shot of a seven to eight year old girl clutching the wire frame at the boundary, eyes wide open with anxiety (or is it confusion?) at what's happening on the field.

    Below the picture, Wright wrote: "I only wanted to give the people of India the cricket team they deserved" (or something to that effect)

    I stopped staring at the picture only to wipe the tears off my eyes.

    Those of you who've seen it know what I'm talking about.

  • Anshul on August 4, 2008, 8:12 GMT

    Jonty Rhodes, unsurprisingly, has made for some amazing action shots.

    There's the most famous one from Edgbaston 98 when he leapt backwards at point, a four feet above the ground to hold the catch at full stretch. It has become so iconic that Cricinfo uses it as his profile picture: http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/46973.html

    Then there's the one from 92 world cup when he dived into the stumps to run out a stupefied Inzamam.