Bored Members - Guests | Media | White Bored | Interview | Bored Anthem - Songs | Boredwaani | Cartoons | Facebook | Twitter | Login

That was cricket

by Bored Guest

When does one generally get started in a particular game or sport that gives a sense of joy and fulfillment?

Looking back to three scores and more of years in my life I wonder when I really got started in cricket. While yet at school, we played cricket with rubber balls and a two foot long wooden plank tapering at the top for bat. Three little sticks drawn from the nearest tree, at one end and one at the other made our stumps.

But the rules of the game were impeccable. The distance between the captain’s big toe and the small decided the space between our three stumps. The distance between the wickets was to be the 22 normal steps measured with religious seriousness by the captain that moment.

He also measured out a bat and half from the stumps on each end to mark the batting and bowling crease. The captain was privileged to perform all the pre-game rituals because he was big enough to be a big bully and rich enough to buy the ball and the plank of wood called bat.

The captain divided the available boys into 2 teams and the process of selection was strict .Each team should have at least 4 batsmen – boys who could hold the bat correctly and take a good looking stance and of course the ability to hit the ball with a straight bat, because a cross-batted shot would ‘break the bat ‘.

It is immaterial that few of us knew at that age what it is to play straight or across. A rule is a rule. When you don’t like someone you declare that he plays cross-batted shots and that was the ultimate cricketing insult.

The definition for a good bowler was very simple. One who could swing his arm around without a jerk and release the ball above the head level was a bowler. If it is done with some velocity then he was a great bowler. Usually there were at least a Lindwal and a Miller on one side and a Truman and a Statham on the other.

The no-ball rule was the same as the back foot-behind the bowling crease rule of those days. The ways to get a batsman out were the same as in standard cricket but an additional clause was needed to bring order in the field.

Generally we carried one ‘bat’ and the runner usually carried a 3 foot long stick in his hand in lieu of the ’ bat’. When a single was taken the two should exchange bats. For this they had to move out of the safety of the crease.

Then both should declare in an audible if not loud voice ‘B.C’ (the short-form for ‘Bat Change’. If either fails to follow this rule, they do so at the risk of losing their wicket ‘run-out’).

The game started (on all weekdays) only after all players (dear to the captain) are on the field. If it becomes known that one or more of the chosen ones should come late they shall notionally be included in a team. The less than mortals who dared to come late shall be consigned to the team fielding first with the stipulation that they should bat last, if the light didn’t fail, by then.

The game could start only by 5 pm everyday and there was hardly an hour of good light condition. As an insurance against some players not getting a chance to bat at all, a fair rule was in operation that a batsman in this crease for twelve balls or till he makes twenty runs whichever came earlier.

Some batsman could misuse the rule by playing out the full quota of twelve balls a sub-clause to the rule was made that if a batsman plays three consecutive defensive shots (balls left alone were also construed as balls played defensively) shall be declared out for time warning.

We made a thousand little laws that day outside the rule, but each new law added had some innocent logic behind it. Now looking back to the cricket we played some 60 or more years, we can only lovingly admire at the inventiveness of the child’s mind. Amid all the sick hurry of the game as it is played today, a mental transportation of the self to an age of innocent joy is blaming. I would say ‘That was Cricket’.

by M Rajagopalan
A self made wicketkeeper & opening bat, he was one of those early cricketers in South India who was paid for his bus fare and food to play in a far off town.

6 comments:

straight point said...

welcome on bored RM!!

very well written and brilliantly executed nostalgic piece...

all though the cricket is still same...bat on ball...but authorities are hell bent on making it complicated...

RajaB said...

Prof MR welcome on bored sir !!

Naked Cricket said...

Welcome on Bored MR Sir!

Delightful read, and I have read this piece a few times now - enjoyed the details, esp the one about batting straight. That is inventive alright.

As a boy I'd copy Kapil's action, gonna try it again today - left arm raised almost across the face.

Thanks for the time travel, cheers.

aliens said...

Sourav bats for Dravid

On seeing the above title do not think that Sourav Ganguly has given up his decision to quit from all the versions of the game of cricket and is back in the scene. E mean to say that Sourav, nicknamed as ‘Dada’ by the fans has hailed the decision of the selection committee to bring back Rahul Dravid and thereby proving that only form was the problem associated with senior players and age had nothing to do with performance. Sourav expressed hope that the right hander would fare well in the upcoming tri-series. For the past one year Rahul Dravid – ‘ The wall ’ had been away from the one day format of the game. Sourav tried to strengthen his contention by citing the inclusion of Nehra as another example. Sourav’s statement assumes significance in this scenario as we find the three batsmen Laxman, Dravid and Sachin who are at mid thirties of age, delivering a consistent good performance.

http://nupek.com/sports/sourav-appreciates-selection-commitee/

aliens said...

Sourav bats for Dravid

On seeing the above title do not think that Sourav Ganguly has given up his decision to quit from all the versions of the game of cricket and is back in the scene. E mean to say that Sourav, nicknamed as ‘Dada’ by the fans has hailed the decision of the selection committee to bring back Rahul Dravid and thereby proving that only form was the problem associated with senior players and age had nothing to do with performance. Sourav expressed hope that the right hander would fare well in the upcoming tri-series. For the past one year Rahul Dravid – ‘ The wall ’ had been away from the one day format of the game. Sourav tried to strengthen his contention by citing the inclusion of Nehra as another example. Sourav’s statement assumes significance in this scenario as we find the three batsmen Laxman, Dravid and Sachin who are at mid thirties of age, delivering a consistent good performance.

http://nupek.com/sports/sourav-appreciates-selection-commitee/

Prafs said...

Man, lovely article.
took me back to the school days.
although they weren't so far back.
a 5 star read sir.