Singing while snapping at the World Twenty20
Well, that was fun!
I've just spent three weeks in Sri Lanka for Reuters, covering the World Twenty20. It was hard work but really very enjoyable. Lots of memories - there should be as I've only been back 12 hours. I normally forget things, but not that quickly.
I covered 20 men's matches and three women's games. Highlights and lowlights (in no particular order) as follows:
- Taking photos of Kevin Pietersen switch hitting in a television studio in Colombo
- Shooting Chris Gayle Gangnam dancing after taking some wickets
- Learning to drive a tuk-tuk and driving on the Colombo roads
- Handing out cricket bats, balls and prints to the kids I'd met and photographed near the R Premadasa Stadium
- Feeding an elephant bananas and watermelon
- Throwing inflatable cartoon characters at the Two Chucks
If I'm giving the impression that it was like a holiday, well, I suppose it was in a way. I love my job and the only downside is being away from home so much.
Overall I covered 15 men's matches at the Premadasa in Colombo. Photographers with accreditation had also to collect a bib before they were allowed access into the ground. The bibs were obtained from a cricket ground but unfortunately this was a different cricket ground to the Premadasa, which was about half an hour away (by tuk-tuk). When you have to do this every day, it becomes slightly tiresome but my personal tuk-tuk driver, Jayasiri, seemed to be content to ferry me around the city as he was being paid rather handsomely.
The first match I covered at the Premadasa was Ireland against Australia and as I entered the field, wearing my plastic bib (it was more of a jacket, I suppose) I noticed that 95% of the photographers were sitting in a line at one end of the stadium. Let's call it the media centre end, or better still, if you will, the free food end.
The information I'd received in paper form stated that we could sit just about anywhere so I lugged my equipment to the far end of the ground and after seeing that my background was quite acceptable I proceeded to set up. The internet man eventually supplied a cable and I was connected to the internet. Another man organised some power. A young lad organised an umbrella and I was ready for the kick off.
This pattern was followed every day that there was a match or matches at the Premadasa. I'd enter the field and lug my stuff to my under-populated spot in the ground. Another advantage of sitting on my own was that I could plug my headphones in to the computer and sing along to my favourite songs at the top of my voice without anyone being disturbed. Well a couple of Sri Lankan policemen in tracksuits might well have been disturbed, but that was just bad luck. In fact they should have been pleased as a few years ago I was a professional singer and was regularly paid for singing with a punk/new wave band called Pudenda. Okay, I was paid a couple of times but it amounted to dozens of pounds. By the way, a big shout out to any Pudenda fans out there … Errr, let's move on now.
Again, I was sitting on my own (no doubt singing very loudly) when India played Pakistan. I knew that if I changed my position and moved to another spot, I'd regret it. Anyway, it was an exciting match, a great atmosphere and I managed to get a couple of photos that I was happy with.
India's Virat Kohli got rather excited as he dismissed Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez and raced down the pitch looking like he had a loyalty card for free Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the rest of his life. Actually, looking at the photo closely, it appears that Kohli carries quite a lot of stuff in his pockets during a match.
Although India won the match, it was Pakistan who eventually progressed to the semi-finals.
I would go on, but I can feel some serious jet lag coming on. 'Night.
(Philip rises slowly from a comfortable looking armchair, has a big stretch, yawns and shuffles off stage left)
Specifications: Nikon D4, 600mm lens, aperture f/4, shutter speed 1/1000, ISO 2000, big umbrella
An Australian freelance cricket photographer based in England, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches around the world