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‘Rock and Roll’ the real reason behind Joe Root’s mysterious ‘pinky celebration’

Perhaps the ardent England cricket fans would surely remember that this wasn’t the first time Root pulled off that celebration.

It was a rather subdued celebration from Joe Root, which disappointed former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who was in the commentary box, yet a small gesture towards the England team dugout, with captain Ben Stokes responding to it with a similar act, immediately went viral all over social media. Root scored his maiden fifty-plus knock in the ongoing series against India, bouncing back from a poor run of form en route to notching up a record century on Day 1 of the fourth Test against England in Ranchi. After raising his helmet and bat aloft, he looked at his team members outside the ground and gestured with a pinky finger. But what did that celebration mean?

England’s Joe Root, left, gesture as he celebrates his century on the first day of the fourth cricket test match between England and India in Ranchi, India, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.(AP)

Perhaps the ardent England cricket fans would surely remember that this wasn’t the first time Root pulled off that celebration. In July 2022, after scoring a ton against India in a rescheduled fifth Test in Birmingham, en route to his match-winning knock of 142 not out, the former England captain looked up towards the dressing room and wiggled his little finger. A day before that, Stokes had done a similar.

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There is a ‘Rock and Roll’ connection to that mysterious celebration which also involves their head coach Brendon McCullum. The gesture was in fact a tribute to the former New Zealand captain and his love for the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Heading into the match, McCullum had watched the American rockstar’s biopic and started doing that iconic gesture in the camp.

“Ben (England coach McCullum) has wanted us to be entertainers, he’s mentioned trying to be ‘rock stars’ on the field,” Root later mentioned after guiding England to a seven-wicket win. “Ben watched the Elvis Presley film the other day, and he’s been doing that all week, so it’s a little tribute to him.”

Root’s record century kept England alive in the contest after India debutant Akash Deep’s opening three-wicket burst sent half of the visiting side back to the dugout before lunch. The unbeaten 106 single-handedly carried England to 302 for seven at the end of Day 1.


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