The independent voice of cricket

Australia v South Africa 2022/23

Watch: Kagiso Rabada re-enacts iconic Merv Hughes ‘crowd stretch’ at MCG

Rabada Merv Hughes crowd
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: Kagiso Rabada channeled his inner Merv Hughes with his own rendition of the famous ‘crowd stretch’ from the 1988/89 Benson & Hedges World Series, during the second Australia-South Africa Test in Melbourne.

Rabada, stationed at the boundary ropes in the 82nd over of Australia’s innings, decided to indulge in a few light stretching exercises. In no time, the crowd behind him followed suit. Rabada then began to engage with the crowd:he slowly lifted one arm, going higher as the chorus grew behind him, the noise reaching a crescendo before he rolled his arm to conclude the loud cheer. He repeated it with his left arm, and the crowd continued to cheer along.

It took some back to Merv Hughes’s crowd antics from decades ago, during the first final of the Benson & Hedges World Series between Australia and West Indies. Hughes’s stretches at the boundary ropes made the crowd follow along, giving cricket one of its most iconic images. It even turned into a Visa commercial.


More recently, it was all-rounder Ronnie Irani who worked up the Sydney crowd during England’s tour to Australia in 2002/03, turning his light stretches into a literal dance and leaving the audience in splits.

Watch Rabada’s crowd interaction here:

Here’s Ronnie Irani, from 2002:

And here’s Merv Hughes, doing his thing:


Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99