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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and other viral trends cricket has been involved in

Jason Holder (middle) taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge © West Indies Facebook page
Jason Holder (middle) taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge © West Indies Facebook page

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become a rage all over the world, with some of the most well-known faces getting drenched in ice-cold water to spread awareness and raise funds for the Lou Gehrig’s disease. The cricket world is no stranger to such global trends either, with cricketers indulging themselves in some of the latest trends such as the Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake. Amit Banerjee takes a look at some of the biggest worldwide trends that caught the cricket world by storm.

It is official. The ‘ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’ is the biggest trend of the year and one of the biggest pop-culture phenomena of the last few years.  In the age of social media, where one has access to global information literally at the touch of a screen, it is not uncommon for such trends to go viral from one part of the world. Since the advent of the ‘internet culture,’ a number of sites have given rise to memes, which in turn has become the latest — and currently the most popular — tool for expressing one’s thoughts. We have had fads such as ‘Gangnam Style,’ ‘Harlem Shake,’ ‘Planking,’ and ‘Flash Mobs,’  among many others which spread like wild-fire courtesy the internet.

The ongoing rage of the Ice Bucket Challenge has caught the imagination of people all over the world. The activity, which began its spread in this year’s summer, could be the biggest social movement ever judging by the way it is trending these days. It involves a person being challenged to either pay a certain sum to the ALSA charity, or get a bucket of ice-cold water poured over their head. Hundreds of celebrities have already participated in this event, ranging from the likes of from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The trend soon caught up with the world of cricket, with Chris Gayle being one of the first to get a bucketful of ice-cold water poured over his head.  He nominated a few of his West Indian team mates for the same. Others such as Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad, Joe Root, etc. have followed suit and have posted their feats on social networking sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, garnering the attention of millions of their fans. This is however, not the first time that cricketers have participated in social trends such as these, given how tech-savvy and socially aware the current generation of cricketers is.

Following are some of the trends which cricketers have embraced and have brought in a breeze of liveliness into the game:

Gangnam Style: Who can forget the vision of West Indians, especially Gayle, riding an invisible horse during the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. Gangnam Style, a song  by South Korean singer Psy became a viral hit within a few days of it being posted on Youtube, becoming the most-viewed video on the site in no time. While Gayle incorporated it in his post-match victory dances, he was emulated by others. Kevin Pietersen performed the dance on live television in front of Sourav Ganguly and Wasim Akram, Virat Kohli did the famous step after India’s victory in the Champions Trophy final in 2013, Adam Gilchrist during the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), among many others.

Gayle caught everyone’s eyes in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 with his ‘angry version’ of the dance after the West Indies beat Australia. This followed after an exchange of words between Gayle and James Faulkner.

Harlem Shake: This Internet video became an online rage in the early months of 2013. The video, which features the first 30 seconds of the song ‘Harlem Shake’ by Baauer, has two distinct parts of 15 seconds each involves a crowd of people. The first part is that of the intro in which a person dances to the song alone, with others acting seemingly unaware of his or her presence. The second part features the bass drop in which the rest of the crowd joins in.

The meme was famously enacted by the players and staff of the English county side Northamptonshire, who performed it on the occasion of Red Nose Day. Northants Cricket promised to donate 200 GBP to the Comic Relief if the Youtube video got 200 or more likes. Other clubs such as the Scarborough Cricket Club also showed their moves.

Northants Harlem Shake:

Scarborough Harlem Shake:

While it’s safe to say that the ever-expanding social media is now entrenched into cricket, one can also opine that cricket is richer and livelier with the influence of social media. Such activities also act as a bridge in connecting cricket with nations which are not familiar with the game. Who knows, an American browsing through Gangnam Style videos on Youtube might stumble upon the West Indian celebration after their World T20 win and develop an interest in the game. Maybe the ICC can implement this as a tool for promoting the sport across the planet!

Complete coverage of cricketers taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)

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