The joy of Cabbage
England's recent six matches against West Indies was an extremely important tour and one that really had to be covered photographically by the excellent agency of Reuters. That's what I told them, anyway. Amazingly someone somewhere in the organisation agreed with me and I was booked to cover three one-day games in Antigua as well as three T20 matches in Barbados. Let's just take a moment to take that in, shall we? I was going to cover six matches in Antigua and Barbados. Antigua and Barbados - those places are in the Caribbean!
I've been to both these countries before. They are both beautiful. It's a fantastic place to visit and the people are very welcoming and friendly. I was, of course, going to miss dreary, rainy England, but there was work to be done. Well, a tiny little bit of work, anyway.
Having covered a training session the day after I arrived, it was straight into the first one-day international. One of the nice things about one-day and T20 matches for me is, I don't bother setting up a remote camera high up in the stands, so I can turn up to work literally a few minutes before play.
I'd worked at the Viv Richards Stadium only once before - when England toured in 2009 and the ground was deemed to be far too sandy for the Test match to continue after ten balls. Although some members of the media and officials knew the match was going to be swiftly abandoned, I did not. The England openers and West Indies fielders left the sandy field as I was standing in a shallow swimming pool at cow corner trying to get a nice shot of spectators watching a Test match from shallow water. It wasn't ideal by any stretch and I had to try to run 250 metres in 9.58 seconds to get the essential photos of the England players leaving the field. I'm fast but not quite that fast.
This first one-day match was pretty much a stock-standard one-dayer. Early wickets, a fight back by the batting side, and about 270 runs on the board. West Indies scored 269 runs, to be precise. Then England had to bat. Normally I would just sit in my chair behind my camera with a 600mm lens attached and try not to miss any good photographs out in the middle. This day I was distracted, though. Directly behind me was a local guy yelling at the players, throwing his hands about, cheering and laughing. He was a hugely passionate fan and he had a great look as well - with a long, dreadlock-type beard. He was living every single delivery.
This guy was making far better pictures than the actual game was. I started shooting pictures of him and I didn't need to watch the game at all as I could tell what was happening on the field just by his amazing reactions. I got loads of pictures of him but I think this one might well be the best.
I chose to shoot wide open (at f2.8) so that there would be a small depth of field and he would stand out from the rest of the crowd in the shot.
I'm not sure the photo was published anywhere but I do think that "Cabbage" (I asked his name at some stage during the afternoon) deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated. Cricket without a few frenzied fans would be pretty dull. West Indies won the match and he was obviously very happy indeed.
I suggest if you get the chance, come and watch cricket in the Caribbean. It is perfect. Oh, apart from the mosquitoes that is - bring some spray with you. I've been literally bitten alive by the blighters while I've tapped this out for you. Oh yes, I'm still here, everyone. I've stayed on in Barbados for a little holiday.
Specifications: Nikon D4, Nikkor 70-200mm lens at 130mm ISO 400, shutter speed 1/800th, aperture f2.8
An Australian freelance cricket photographer based in England, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches around the world