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Shot selection

Six, six and ouch!

Remember when Stuart Broad got his nose broken earlier this season?

Philip Brown
Philip Brown
Stuart Broad was struck on the nose by a Varun Aaron bouncer, England v India, 4th Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day, August 9, 2014

Philip Brown

Please allow me to send a special welcome to you if you've never read a Shot Selection before. Welcome. There are plenty of older articles on this site, so please feel free to read. I might be giving a massive prize for the best comment left before the end of the year, so get reading now and commenting now.
I've talked before about luck in sports photography. You can have a big slice of luck and get a special photograph, or be unlucky and get nothing out of a major moment. Big moments during a long day of cricket can be and usually are few and far between. You need to be incredibly patient to be a successful cricket photographer.
Getting good photographs matter to most of the photographers who are on the boundary day in and day out. To most of us it is a competition to get the best photos and to get those photographs used as many times as possible on websites, in newspapers and magazines. A few probably turn up just to get their pay cheque and a free lunch but most snappers are there to compete wholeheartedly with the other photographers, and at the same time have an enjoyable day.
I suppose Gareth Copley and I have probably covered the most cricket in England of anyone in the past six or so years. It is rare when both of us are not covering an England Test match either at home or away.
Gareth took a fantastic picture of Jonathan Trott being run out at The Oval in 2009, which won him some of the biggest awards going. It's a brilliant photo and many of us sitting nearby wonder how we could have screwed up capturing this incredible moment of someone flying though the air as the stumps were thrown down.
More recently I sat next to Gareth at Old Trafford. Stuart Broad was batting against India. He was batting in full Broad 2014 mode, and that means he was swinging away at every ball. He had just hit two sixes in a row so I had decided to shoot the next delivery, no matter what. Broad swung away again and the ball glanced the top edge of the bat and went through the grill of his helmet and into his nose. This all happened very quick as you can imagine.
Broad was squatting on the ground, obviously hurt, for many minutes, so there was no opportunity to check the back of my D4 camera and see if I had captured the moment of impact. Gareth was next to me and announced that it hadn't "made" for us from our angle, so I assumed he knew what he was talking about and there wouldn't be a photo worth sending.
When I looked at the back of my camera I was pretty pleased with my picture, as the ball was just splatting into Stuart's nose. In this case it was best to crop the image to a top half as it brought more attention to the position of the ball. Nearly all tightly cropped photos that get rid of a player's legs are frowned upon by cricket photographers as a rule.
So some days you win and some days you lose. Broad went off to hospital, where he learnt later that day that England had won the Test and that he had been awarded the Man of the Match.
Specifications: Nikon D4, 600mm lens at 4.5, 1/1250th sec, ISO 400

An Australian freelance cricket photographer based in England, Philip Brown has photographed over 150 Test matches around the world