Saturday, August 26, 2006

My cricketing exploits-part 1

Here's a lovely post from RajK, a close friend and a supremely talented writer. Although his post is inspired by Sidin's now legendary post, moments of nonsensical brilliance allow him to often overshadow his inspiration.

RajK's post shook me up from my own reverie and I decided to blog about my own cricketing career. Now, before you go googling, let me inform you that you won't find me mentioned in cricinfo's records, or in records anywhere for that matter. That's because some careers go beyond record books. It is the unadulterated joy, the delightful display of incredible incompetence that my fans remember-not how may runs I scored or how many wickets I took. A popular myth goes that I had more auto-rickshaws than the runs I scored and the wickets I took put together. That's baloney, of course, since I never knew how to drive a rick.

The Xploits, as they are commonly known, are strewn across my illustrious career. But the one I recall proudly goes back to my undergraduate days. Presidency College in Kolkata, in spite of all its academic glory, has a terrible sporting track record. Yet, in the Calcutta University record books, we have been mentioned the most often-by a sheer coincidence, underneath the 'against' column every time.

Nevertheless, sports were pursued with much enthusiasm. We also had inter-departmental matches. Now, as participants or as spectators in these matches, roles that incidentally could be exchanged at will, one could miss all classes and bask all day in the sun. In one such match, I was told to bowl. Now this wasn't surprising at all, since our team was terrible-which is actually a redundant statement, since mine being a part of the team could never suggest anything to the contrary. Anyway, we had two decent bowlers both of whom had finished their quota and hence my services were called upon.

Now, I think I'm a decent offie- I had once almost spun a ball. My stock delivery was of course the one that went straight,even though I hoped it'd behave otherwise. So, I proceeded to bowl-a wayward run to the wicket, a gentle loop on the ball (a gift, it would seem to the naive with only the very discerning fully comprehending the subtlety involved), the fielders all in attention, the batsman half-forward and half-back, unsure where the damn ball would pitch. And then- as if by magic- the ball disappeared. The puzzled batsman thought that it must be the fastest ball ever bowled; the keeper busily looked for holes in his gloves that the ball must have made on its way through; the third man, gently snoring as he rested himself against the goalpost, suddenly woke up and ambled towards the boundary to look for the ball in the bushes.

You see, the match was being played on a mat-one that extended till half the length of the pitch. An amazing display of consistency ensured that I managed to land the ball on the edge of the mat every time, forcing it to embarrasingly disappear underneath. The Umpire initially called it a no-ball; not surprising, since the ball was nowhere to be seen. But our vehement protests ensured that his verdict was changed to the delivery being called a dead ball. I think I finally managed, after much sweat and toil, to bowl three legitimate balls and the over was ended after the two teams realised that they didn't have floodlights and hence had to conclude the match before the sun called it a day.

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Blogger Rajk said...

Talk about control of lenghth! Doen't get better than this, eh?

Waiting for part 2. Weren't you a batsman too, ever?

9:30 AM  

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