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Cricketing Inventions and Lessons from a Bored Afternoon

by Bored Member

by VM

I never thought that an odd invention from a bored summer afternoon would occupy my childhood fancies so much. What could possibly happen when it’s so scorching hot that you aren’t allowed outside, you don’t have a proper bat, and less than three people available for a team game? Stick-cricket happened.

As the name suggests, it’s a modified form of the game we love, only with rules tweaked to make a game out of the several restrictions that I describe. It’s mostly played with only two people using a stick – often curtain rod - and a harmless plastic ball or occasionally mock-tennis ball to minimize any damage to our surroundings. A box or shelf doubled up for stumps and a line drawn with chalk delineated the batting-crease. There was no wicket keeper, unless we could afford a third player, and no fielders, well, actually there was one fielder: the bowler. There was no umpire either, the batsmen would have to “walk”, in this case to the bowling crease, to bowl to the person who he has just faced as bowler. Honesty was necessary and inevitable, for anything contrary would mean returning either to the books or the boring TV. No “in-the-air” shots were allowed, for that could cause damage at home and invoke the ire of the folk at home. The rules were thus set up.

So how does the batsman score? Well, the bowler would run up for a few steps and bowl to the only other player: the batsman. The batsman could then hit it some distance and run to the other end, quick enough to reach there before the bowler could pick up and throw to the end the batsman is running at. Hitting the end from which the batsmen is running from would not constitute a run out! So the game goes on like this.

If you’re thinking that it’s a boring game, you may not be too far from the truth, though it must be said that it kept me occupied and saved me some very boring afternoons. But more that anything, playing this game was in many ways the moment of truth for the cricket fan in me. It taught me how hard it can be to hit the ball for single, without dragging it on to my makeshift stump, how valuable the reverse sweep could be, and what talent it takes to hit a four. I must add that we did get better at scoring, but only with a lot of practice and meanwhile learned the art of patience. Most importantly, it turned me from a jingoistic cricket fan to an appreciative fan who would attempt notice the details, and most importantly realize that it is after all a game and not war, as was often portrayed by the newspapers then. Maybe this is why I like Test cricket more and than any other form. Perhaps this is also why most of favorite batsmen are the more patient like Dravid, Kallis and Chanderpaul.

Do you have a cricket-based invention from childhood or a cricket-watching moment of truth? There’s no better place than here to share.


Gaurav Sethi said...

VM - find it quite incredible that you ran singles in stick cricket, seeing that it was a confined space.

Even now, when i play cricket with the kids, in a smallish ground (with the ugly MCD fountain and equally ugly flower beds), insist on touch is a run. Times we play with leather, tho don't wanna run hell for leather! Guess that's a childhood thing, coz even ow the kids' run like hell!

Viswanathan said...


You reminded me of the afternoons I spent playing 'one bounce' cricket.

It is similar to your game save these two:

It involved no running and hence 1 run whenever you manage to put stick to ball.

You could be out if the bowler/fielder holds on to your shot on the bounce.

Taught me two things, to play with soft hands and also to cheat. :)

Gaurav Sethi said...

ott - on the bounce in driveway, indoor cric always on. also, if the ball was hit full on to the wall, out. hit outta the house, out! could've called the game, "i want out" instead.

Cheating's an honouable tangent, rave on

straight point said...


in school we sed to play cricket with our hands (would you believe it) i studied at ASVJ school at daryaganj delhi and they wont allow to carry any foreign object (yes they called bat coz it could harm kids) but how could you dampen the spirit of we found this novel way...we would fold one hand on back and other would hang like a bat and mind you enjoyed as much...

reminds me of famous gazal of jagjit singh...

ye daulat bhi le shoharat bhi le lo...bhale cheeen lo mujhsee meri jawaani...

magar mujh to lauta do bachpan ka saawan...woh kagaz ki kashti...woh barish ka paani...

oh, dont know what you have done...

Gaurav Sethi said...

SP - that detail of one hand behind the back, that's brought it all back! Hand Cricket was a noble sport. Just as French Cricket was downright weird, but did play that recenly, and it works well in little spaces.

that is some ghazal, grt to listen while guzzling. Heard JS sing that at Srifort, totally transports you.

Like what VM has done here.

Anonymous said...

NC, we were bored, so decided to force the run. Sometimes we got bored of running, and sat down for "breaks". There were times when the breaks would last till the next afternoon. :)

Ott, I've heard of one-bounce cricket from some of my cousins. But they played with the real bat and tennis ball outdoors. Btw, we all learn to cheat sooner rather than later. It generally started with running and catching with the inky-pinky-ponky to determine the catcher.

Wow, SP! That's amazing. Remember at lot of guys back in school who would swish their hand, in imitation of the straight drive. Beautiful isn't it?