"So,We are seven in all!"
"No,six.I ain't playing."
The moment I uttered these nonsensicallytrue lines,every eye in the sorrounding turned to me.each one of them as menacing as the next in line.The cap stepped ahead.
The Scene : A game of cricket
The Place: My friend's colony compound
The purpose:whatever you might like
"Listen up H.We need men right now.And you are one of those that i expect to stand and put your hands up.",poor fellow sounded desperate.
"But I am not good at cricket." Yes.Unfortunately,that is true.
"I don't care.It is enough that you know to play.You are in" and then there were seven.
Honestly,I didn't know what was there to be so emotional about.It is just a goddamn game.But no,people here take everything else other than life seriously.So,we marched to the ground.Seven totally uninspiring and incompetent fools.Against a team,who wouldmilk us for 250 Rupees' if we lost....(which i guess is obvious).The captain was my friend,and i had hardly expected such boisterous reception when i landed at his house.I was immediately dissapointed to know that the joy was more out of finding his 7th player than on seeing a long-lost friend.
The captain of our rival team walks...nay,swaggers to the centre of the pitch.He is a pretty good player.I can deduce as much when a 6ft 2 guy with the perfect built walks near you.We are ready for the toss.The coin goes up,we call tail.And we win....the toss.
So jock looks at my freind(though i doubt i should call him that after all this) and asks
"New guy?Where did ya catch him?" right!from the Byculla zoo.Why?Do i look familiar.
"Oh!He is an old friend.Pretty good with the bat." What?????Wha the...who in.....why did.....AAArghhh!
My cap turns to me and throws his gloves to me."You open"
"But .....I am really not good at this."
" That is ok.We got backup." how reassuring,thanx a mile cap.
So i walk out to the field.The guy at the other end is as nervous as i am.I loosen up myself.check out the field settings.Take'my guard' and ask for divine intervention.
I would have posted the entire details of the match,but i guess the story of my batting is a summary of it all.We didn't have much fielding to do....OOpps!Did i give away the climax.
The first ball.A beauty.Pitches on good length.Has a late swing to outside offstump.I do the perfectly precise demo of 'how to leave such balls'
The second delivery.Pitches in line.On full.I dig deep and manage to keep it away from my stumps.
The third.It gets interesting from now on.Pitches short.Rises to my shoulder length on the offside.I rise up on my toes.Flash my blade at it.Sehwag style...the good lord bless him.The ball flies over third man.to the boundary.Rejoiced and jubilated,i look around.My runner is walking towards me like a zombie.My cap is staring open mouthed at me.The rest are happy.
The bowler is now furious.He runs into his work with renewed vigour.The fourth ball,is almost similar.The ball pitches in 'my zone'.I go for a straight drive.The ball just delays itself.It moves after i am fully into the shot.The next moment,a searing pain rises to my head from my ...eeehhhhmmmm area.I just can't breathe.
Now,I am furious.I get up.Take a deep breath,and ready for the next one.The ball is a 'lollipop'.
I just push it towards fine leg and scamper a single.
My partner lasts the next ball.I regain strike for the next over.
New bowler.Surprise...this is the cap himself.He looks menacing.He looks determined to take my wicket.He marks his runup
The first delivery.Pitches short and keeps rising.It is a BOUNCER!!!I duck,as best as i can.The ball ducks with me.Trick one.shit!I turn away.The ball smacks me on the side of my skull.I suffer a brain hammehorrage(Forgive the spelling).Bowler,comes right next to me.Apologises as if it were compulsory.walks happily back to his crease.
I get up.For a moment,I think i've lost my eyesight.But then,The keeper hands me my specs.I put them on.Wiggle my head and get on.Every anthem from "The Eye Of The Tiger" to "We Will Rock You" starts playing in my head.No pain,no pain.that is all i say to myself.
By now i've faced six deliveries.An over.This is the longest time i've stayed on crease...alive.The blood in me gushes.
The next ball.A widish good length .I cut it through the covers.It races,so do i.We get a two for it.By now,my teammates have regained confidence in me.I have too.They are cheering me.
I am now swaggering at the bowler.He is calm.The next ball is abeauty.It pitches almost perfectl in his'zone' near offstump.I am drawn to it.It moves,not out but in.Right through my gates.I try to adopt some defense,but can only swing the bat at it in a visibly awkward manner.My middle stump...The stump goes flying to the keeper.It is vindication for him.My short lived heroics come to an end.
The rest is history.My entire team scored 29 runs of 8 overs.6 of which belonged to me.We were releived off the field in 4 overs.Need i add more.Yes,of course i do.
I do not like to brag about myself.But the antics of mine that day,convnced me that i can play cricket.That stupid,awfully boring and impossible game that my dad criticises me for not being able to play.Oh!!just one problem,he won't beleive me if i told the truth.So should I .....maybe add a bit more masala........?don't worry,he loves stories.