Cricket & your City, Cricket in your City
Tell us about cricket and what it means to your city, how it is followed, any RCB fans there?
We want to know about it all
We want to know about it all
Long time back, I read about an interesting instance in a low scoring Ashes Test. A young Australian batsman grounded his bat after taking a run and then turned around to dab a very moist pitch. As he swiveled to return to his crease he heard the English keeper appealing. Baffled he looked at the square leg umpire who reluctantly raised his finger and said to the keeper "if you appeal sir, it's out". I narrate this story because I genuinely feel as much as cricket has changed, it is the same. Yes there aren’t many uncovered wickets and overs are not 4 balls each. Yes the no. of people coming to watch a Test match are dwindling, but do we still not find the desperation of the English wicket keeper, the apprehensions of the umpire, the naivety of young batsmen. And do all of those not add to the romance of the game. Irrespective of the format a true cricket lover knows what to criticize when to applaud. I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot for various reasons. Wherever I’ve gone I’ve found some cricket and I’ve seen such stories unfold. Currently I’m living in Noida, originally just an industrial town in the vicinity of the capital it is now a commercially self reliant catchment which is bursting at its seams like most suburbs around the country. The demographics of the city are as interesting, with influx of poor Rikshawallas from other parts of UP and Bihar and Sauvé Corporate head honchos living/working across the street from each other. It’s a very Indian thing for these 2 economic classes to benefit from the proximity of each other. Even more interestingly an even larger band of lower middle class is being created. This is the majority of Noida’s population. It still watches a lot of TV, it still cant afford a laptop and the kids know exactly what mobile plan they’re on. Such economics have spurred a very mixed flavor of sports lovers and cricket admirers. It’s equally interesting to discuss the game on the one hand with the my Bengali car cleaner to whom Ganguly should still make a come back and with my o so proper colleagues at office who’s opinions are politically correct and well revised. I don’t find many RCB fans in my city, and as I write this a weird thought finds space in my head - what’s my city? A studied idea an over deliberated thought of digital world being a highway of information and opinion exchange comes to the fore. Yes most of my RCB related discussions happen online, with other fans haters, observers’ et al. So as I discuss with these fellow cricket enthusiasts from all across and with different back grounds my opinion of the game evolves. This process of evolution is what I write about cricket or rather cricket write I.
Cover a local cricket match.
How the game was played, controversies on the ground, injuries and who bags the gold at the end
of the match. Build the excitement with your words.
of the match. Build the excitement with your words.
Since the time I knew that I had to report on a game of cricket for this competition my biggest worry was “Where would I find this game” and even if I travel around the city on a rainy weekend will I find a game with enough masala to make an interesting write up. This feeling of doubt was soon followed by self aspersion as to why being such an ardent fan have I not been doing this anyways. Why can I not pick one of the matches from my classic archives and ctr v it here. It took about half a day and an Indian Test victory to get over self loath and venture out. Yes I saw the final day of the test match and what a match it was. So what’s the logical next in this write up? Pen down an account of a historical Indian Test victory. I can rant enough about how great Laxman’s innings was, how Raina has come of age in the series and gained so much confidence, about Sachin’s maturity and Dravid’s misfortunes in the series. But I’m going to choose against that, because enough and more will be written about it anyways. Instead I will cover an interesting outcome of the game. It’s not unnatural for kids to get on the streets and playgrounds and try to emulate what they saw on TV. My balcony overlooks the car park where through the week kids alternate between football and cricket. The game of the day for the kids in my colony was cricket, a 10 over 15 yard version replete with shrieks and fake stares. Runs could only be scored on the offside and straight if the ball crossed the bowling crease. Nothing had changed over years since I’d stopped playing in this car park. If the ball directly hit any of the cars the batsman was out. If it went into the balcony of any of the houses it was out. There were 5 members in each team but with the cars and these restrictions it seemed like runs would be difficult to score. I could not hear the names of all the ten players, only 3 – the two captains Sahaaj and Aditya, and the third kid Rohit, the resident dhobi’s younger son. Sahaaj won the toss and without hesitation elected to bat. Tar wickets don’t change much :/ and if the first innings takes too long to complete chances are you wouldn’t get a bat if it gets too dark or the kid who got the bat has his mom calling out or worse come around looking for him. So you always bat first, always. So Sahaaj and another kid walk into bat first. It goes without saying that Sahaaj and Aditya were the best players of their teams. Both had all round capabilities and as Sahaaj looked up after taking guard he knew he’ll find Aditya running in like Sreesanth. Aditya ran in from a run up double the length of their pitch and send down a delivery so wide of the leg stump that there were arguments on whether he should continue and who will fetch the ball, the batsman or the fielders. Amongst this din, Rohit ran those petty yards and tossed the ball back at Aditya. The next few deliveries were straight but did not yield any results for either teams. On the last ball of the over Sahaaj pinched a single by hitting the ball towards the Honda city in the covers. His partner on the runners end (lets call him kiddo 1A) had firm instructions to run. It was clear that for the next 20 overs it’s going to be a battle between the big pride of these little cricketers. And that’s exactly how it turned out, Sahaaj smashed the next bowler for 2 fours in the over and took a single on the 5th ball. Kiddo 1A drove the last ball over nicely for what looked like an easy single but Sahaaj wouldn’t have any of it. The rest of the innings followed a similar pattern except in the 7th over when the score was at 35 sahaaj drove one of Aditya’s half volleys upishly in the direction of Rohit. Behind Rohit was a Maruti Esteem. Had he let the ball go it would have hit the esteem directly and Sahaaj would have been out. Reacting through reflexes though he attempted to catch the ball but his hands weren’t soft and the ball popped straight out. Aditya cried out in anger but then almost as a reflex he went silent as if he had been told by his folks “don’t be rude to poor people …blah”. I’m pretty sure had it been another kid Aditya would have blasted him. I’m also sure that little Rohit understood exactly why he wasn’t shoute upon. As much as he was used to this behaviour, he looked hurt. Anyway, he put his head down went and opened his eyes a little wider praying that no more catches come his way. Sahaaj’s team scored 52 in their 10 overs and were pretty pleased with their effort. Aditya couldn’t stop fuming. He went on to open the innings for his team , bad idea. Sahaaj with most of his team’s runs behind him was brimming with confidence. No ways were they losing this one. Doesn’t matter the context cricket is a funny game. Aditya smaked Sahaaj for 2 fours of the first over and instead of piping down he was just getting more frantic. They had started well. By the 3rd over they were at 22 for no loss and Aditya was pasting the tennis ball around. The sun came out as if to watch the heroics of little Aditya. Sahaaj cudgeled his brain vainly for the next 3 overs after which he did something extraordinary. He did not bowl the 7th over, he tossed it over to another kid (let’s call him kiddo 2A). Aditya opened his stance up as if to say this is the last over of the game. 2A took a few nimble steps to the popping crease as though on the velvet of a cat’s paw and delivered a foolish length delivery. Aditya uncharacteristically heaved at it with all his might got a top edge and was caught and bowled. It was a very soft dismissal and Aditya smashed the bat to the ground. It did not matter to him who was coming next or how far they were from victory. The next few deliveries of the over were uneventful with a single run scored of them. Sahaaj with his tail up reduced the Aditya’s team to 40 for 3 when little Rohit walked in to bat. Rohit did not play every day, and he was certainly not accustomed to the responsibility of finishing the game for his team. Aditya was just gazing blankly, as if playing the next day’s game in his head. Rohit’s grip on the bat was shaky, he decided to palm the back of his bat with his bottom hand for better control. Somehow he negotiated Sahaaj’s last 2 deliveries. Into the 9th with 12 to win. Rohit is back on strike as a single is taken of the 3rd delivery. Rohit flicks the ball in the air and it lands safe. Sahaaj has brought the field in and Rohit picks up 2. 9 to go and they pinch a single of the last ball. 8 runs of the last over there was no surprise about who’s going to bowl it. Aditya suddenly seemed to have been shaken out his trance. No runs of the first ball, 8 of 5. Aditya declares that he will run for Rohit. Sahaaj moaned for a while but could not beat the argument that he had done something similar a few days back. As he grudgingly goes back to his run up, Rohit is tensed, Aditya expectant. Second ball’s flicked in the air again, no man’s land. Batsmen pick up 2 to make it 6 to get. It could have been one hit had Aditya been there, but it’s the tiny Rohit. To everyone’s surprise he manages to flat bat a short of the length delivery almost like a tennis forehand straight down the tarmac. 2 fielders try to come across, misfiled and 4!. 2 runs to get in 3 balls. Aditya and Sahaaj are probably in the same school and this victory whichever way it would go will be spoken about for a long time to come. There’s a lot at stake. In the midst of all this little Rohit, who probably does not study and is not part of the daily affairs of these kids except for making sure their clean uniforms are delivered on time looked like he had something to play for. And now he had only a single to tie and a double to win this one. He plays his favourite shot the scoop to the leg, this time though 2 fielders hustle on to it, its only going to be a single as the ball is zipped back to Sahaaj. As Sahaaj looks up he notices that both Aditya and Rohit are mid pitch. Rohit had panicked and ran for the first run as Aditya hollered at him to stop. He stopped but only to freeze. Sahaaj hit the wall on which the wicket’s been made for the last 15 years (some legacy right) and the game was over. Rohit without saying a word rushed back to the inconspicuous space that he occupies under the stair case of a building and both Aditya and Sahaaj just went silent. I don’t know what the kids understood and how they felt because soon they were discussing which game to play next. I will definitely be up in the balcony around the same time tomorrow though to see if little Rohit turns up.
I CAN BE RCB'S CHIEF BLOGGER BECAUSE..
I like the brand of cricket that RCB brings to this still evolving form of cricket. If twenty20 will be spoken about 20 years down the line, people would say that RCB pioneered the method in madness strategy in this format of the game. The intermittent situation evaluation and 10 over targets are concepts brought in by the RCB management. I have been supporting RCB for 3 seasons for the all of the reasons above, but when i started off, just like a kid it was because of my instinctive fondness for 2 great cricketers Rahul Dravid and Kallis. I can be a the chief blogger because of my passion for writing, the club and above all cricket.
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