Sunday, March 25, 2007

Full circle in half pants

When I was in the 3rd standard, my uncle took me along to play cricket with his friends. For the next 4 years, I was almost always the youngest one on the small rectangular field, bordered by houses on 3 sides, with a cemented pitch at the centre. With Cosco tennis balls for which all but I contributed, we would play 16 over matches in the summers and 14 over ones in the winters. Since there were so many waiting, batting came at a premium. And as the kid on the field, batting was all that I could do. I almost never got a chance to bowl. I would be sent out to open in the hope that I would come back soon.

I remember the first ball that I faced. I just didn’t see it. I closed my eyes, swung my bat, and then, seeing the ball in the gap, ran as hard as I could. For quite some time, that’s all I did. I tried to see the ball, put bat to it, and ran desperately. Seeing how badly the odds were stacked against me, I held onto everything. If I was out first ball, I would spend the entire evening sulking, and my mom would’ve a hard time cheering me up. But come next morning, I would be up and looking forward to afternoon. Always the first one on the field, putting the stumps, sweeping the dust off the pitch.

In my 4 years at the Universe Cricket Club, I never realized what it bequeathed me. It all came back a full circle much later, during engineering. As the 2nd year Mechanical team in the inter-branch tennis ball tournament, we didn’t really have a chance. Our college has a huge cricket culture, and guys there are really good (FYI, Kumble is an alumnus). We got a scare in our first match. From then on, everything was a blur. We won match after match against much more fancied teams. I don’t even remember how many 50s I scored in those 10 over matches. I guess while the others just wondered how I was so good, I knew what fighting for each of those scampered runs had taught me.

11 comments:

Charlotte said...

Aww. And he's a cricketer, too :)

Ruchika said...

Thats pretty inspiring stuff... and accidentally so!

suhas said...

If only the Indian cricket team had practised at the Universal Cricket Club...

Ravi Heda said...

i remember few of the huge sixes u had hit in that tournament :)

Anonymous said...

great going baba ali!

i miss the good old times.

satyajit said...

@charlotte: I spent the better part of my childhood playing

ruchika: thanks a lot..good to have to you back :-)

suhas, ravi, anomymous: writing this post made me badly badly get back to playing..i cant imagine, at some time, playing used to define me..in class 8, if I had not done badly in the exams, maybe i would've gone on to play serious cricket..

Nasal Crooner said...

well nothin like inter-dept footie.. 4th year..
wat says mite?! :)

satyajit said...

paka: awesome! the final was something..

Tikna said...

sulking after getting out first ball: things haven't changed much eh.. rondu :)

satyajit said...

tikna: oye, watch it!

PritS said...

Abe I used to think that you are a paidayashi bowler. That too a fast bowler. :)