Off-spinner Graeme Swann pioneered the dance – where the subject twitches their arm back and forth to imitate a garden sprinkler – and the England team performed a synchronised version of the dance to the Barmy Army, the travelling England cricket fans, upon securing the Ashes.
But Swann and the rest of the England team ended up in trouble with the law when they performed what onlookers called a ‘wet’ version of the sprinkler dance in a Sydney restaurant.
“Swann just pulled out his googlies and started spraying back and forth like it was a garden sprinkler, only it wasn’t flowers he was watering – and it wasn’t water for that matter,” said Noelene Woolaroongooloola-moolanooloo, a waitress in the ‘Aw, look’ restaurant.
“Then all the England team started imitating Swanny – and all of a sudden there were a dozen yellow sprinklers spraying all over the place like Steve Harmison,” continued Woolaroongooloola-moolanooloo.
“Talk about a sticky wicket,” she added, when prompted to add a cricketing pun to her description.
Several Aussie dignitaries attending the restaurant, including Rolf Harris, Karl Kennedy and Russell Crowe, were caught up in the English water attack, which was lauded for its consistent line and length.
Star batsman Kevin Pietersen’s version of the dance was noted for its unorthodox technique, while left-arm spinner Monty Panesar – known for his energetic, excitable celebrations – was described performing the ‘yellow sprinkler’ “like a urinating cat on a hot tin roof”.
The incident is thought to be the most serious involving English cricketers in Australia since Mike Gatting ate Rodney Hogg during the 1986/87 Ashes series.