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Cliche!

by Homer

I am a Mumbaikar.Have been one all my life. No, that is not the cliche.

And one of the important rites of passage that comes along with being a Mumbaikar, in addition to traveling in locals during peak hours and speaking Hinglish, is playing tennis and rubber ball cricket in the galli.Or a maidan, if you are so lucky. Or are living in Navi Mumbai.

Rubber and Tennis ball ( not to be confused with tape ball) cricket meant that anyone with reasonable pace could bang the ball in short and have the batsman playing anywhere between his chest and head. Or higher.

Playing in the maidan also meant a few mandatory rules. Under no circumstances were runs behind the wicket allowed. And often times, because of a lack of quorum, runs on the offside were disallowed too.

Which meant that the bread and butter shots were the front of the wicket hook and pull.. Variants included the lofted drive and the ada patta shot.

Which in turn meant that almost all, if not everyone in my group was a good puller and hooker of the ball.. Not so much a driver, because hitting the ball along the carpet with a packed leg side field, drew much scorn. From your team mates.

Anywho, this is the background.

And on the basis of this back ground, here comes the main story.
We went to Murud Janjira on a school excursion. Where, in our infinite wisdom, we decided to play cricket. On the beach. Correction - on a sandy beach. Plenty of hoo haaing later ( "will the ball bounce?", "how many tappa before the ball is called dead", " should we pull in the boundaries because the ball wont carry", "lets play under arm instead"), the game got underway.
And it took just one delivery for all of our preconceived notions to go out through the window.
For, a field that read five in the deep on the onside and four on the off, changed to two slips, point, short cover, forward short leg, short square leg, deep fine and a short midwicket.
For no one, and I mean no one,had accounted for either the skid or the bounce on that sandy strip.
Batsmen used to playing the pull and the hook were top edging balls, plenty of balls were going off the splice of the bat and there wasnt one front foot shot played in anger that afternoon.
Which brings me to the reason for this post - this little passage on Cricinfo

Dinda v Warner: The first over of Delhi's chase. Ashok Dinda sent down four successive dot balls, all of them short of a length and skidding into the left-hander David Warner, hurrying and cramping him. Warner attempted to short-arm jab three of those on the leg side but failed. The fifth was straighter and quicker. It skidded through Warner's defences before he brought his bat down and demolished off stump. For a batsman reared on the hard and fast surfaces of Australia, Warner was surprisingly beaten by Dinda's pace.


In trying to explain Warner's failing against Dinda, the writer resorted to a tired cliche - that because Warner is Australian, it is automatic that he is a good player of pace.(And that wickets in Australia are fast and hard) And he may well be, but what the writer forgot, or deliberately omitted, is the fact that prior to the game in Kolkata, Delhi had played three games on the trot at the Kotla. And given the nature of the Kotla wicket, with a tendency to stay on the lower side and stop a bit, it wasn't much of a surprise that Warner was late first up when playing under the lights on a slightly bouncier and skiddier Eden Gardens track.
Because it was a matter of adjustment. And swishing across the line without taking into account either the wicket or the conditions is just bad batting. Whether you are Australian, Indian or a poor old sod from the maidans of Mumbai.
And sometimes, the explanation is just that simple.. Without resorting to cliches.

8 comments:

straight point said...

great analogy homer!

but i beg to differ...

when i saw that dismissal i told my bro that rather than the pace he was dismissed coz he erred on judging the length of the delivery... the ball was not that short for the kind of shot he played...

wrong shot selection i would say...

Ankit Poddar said...

great post homer, and a brilliant analogy...

but then you had won on the first line itself ;)

I am a Mumbaikar, and been one all my life! And was that Aksa by any chance..

because that is the nature of that wicket.

Naked Cricket said...

Good stuff Homer, you son of a beach!

With our tennis ball games, it was usually the lack of fielders that made it one side play - or at times, runs beyond a certain tree, pole but both side play. Runs behind the wicket were looked down upon. But that's behind us now.

Think there's something in the Kotla-Eden angle, after playing 3 home, batting first, DD would have got done in anywhere batting second.

That Dinda delivery was 127kmph - i'd go with SP, he misread the line but looked like he was beaten by pace - knowing Warner's versatility maybe he was beaten by pace and length.

kny789 said...

on the subject of pace (and because i really wanted to point this out), Sudeep Tyagi bowled an 85mph delivery on wednesday. Words cannot describe how shocked I was. He is Indian you know.

Homer said...

SP,

And the wrong shot selection was prompted by what? The fact that he played in Australia all his life or because he was playing in Dilli and had not made the necessary adjustments to the pace and bounce of the Eden wicket?

Thats my point :)

Cheers,

Homer said...

Ankit,

No idea what the name of the beach was. We were to go visit the fort, that never happened :)

Cheers,

straight point said...

homer...

tho it sounds similar but its not the case... one can err in judging the length of a ball anywhere be it oz, kotla or kolkata pitch... was my point... :)

straight point said...

so tho in a way i am supporting ur conclusion that he ended up with cliche... but only difference is that my reason is bit different... :)