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AFP photographer becomes World Cup star with stunning crowd catch

Updated June 03, 2019

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Ian Kington found himself in the spotlight after he took a one-handed catch while handling his camera with the other. — Photo courtesy ICC Twitter screengrab
Ian Kington found himself in the spotlight after he took a one-handed catch while handling his camera with the other. — Photo courtesy ICC Twitter screengrab

An AFP photographer found himself being acclaimed by a capacity crowd at the Oval on Sunday after he held a stunning catch during a World Cup match between Bangladesh and South Africa.

Ian Kington was stationed at the Pavilion End of the ground, near the steps leading up to the players' dressing rooms, when South Africa captain Faf du Plessis went to a fifty with a soaring straight six off spinner Mosaddek Hossain.

As the ball hurtled towards him and some of his fellow photographers behind long-off, Kington — keeping hold of a large telephoto lens with his left hand, calmly caught the ball with his right and then, grinning broadly, turned to show the crowd he had held onto the ball.

“That is a good grab, that is a classic catch,” said television commentator Mark Nicholas, a former captain of Hampshire, when a replay was shown.

Kington's effort became the 'play of the day' on the International Cricket Council's official tournament website, as well as that of the BBC, while being widely shared on social media.

"I had two frames (photographs) of him (Du Plessis) hitting the six and then the instinct is to look up and see where the ball is," Kington told AFP.

"Obviously it's quite tight for space where we sit and I couldn't move," the 49-year-old from Kent added.

"I had my long lens camera in one hand and I just sort of reached up and it stuck and I caught it."

What made Kington's catch all the more impressive is that he is not a cricketer himself.

"I've never played cricket in an actual team, I've just joined in a bit with my mates," he explained.

Reflecting on his new-found celebrity, Kington added: "My phone keeps going off. It's nice to do something that means you've got a story to tell, but I guess that's my five minutes of fame."