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Hunting Sidhu: The Alternative Cricket Movement

by Bored Guest

“Eh g**du! Have chor, yaar!”

This is what my dad would say to me, every time I watched cricket instead of studying.

I guess he won in the end. My parents crowbarred me into doing medicine, instead of my patented idea of sitting on my ass all day, and waiting for a million dollar idea to come into my head.

In fairness, it could have been worse – at least there was no family corner shop or pharmacy for me to be burdened with. And thank goodness that my parents weren't accountants.

As a kid in London, I couldn't get away from cricket. I was a die-hard, obsessive fan, constantly refreshing scorecards during my lunch breaks, and blessed with an uncanny ability to recall Sadagopan Ramesh's Test average and Indian opening combinations over the past decade.

Throughout my teens, I had idly mastered the art of shadow-batting in empty corridors, and right down to Harbhajan's 'stop-and-hope' follow-through, my shadow-bowling was coming along nicely.

Fast-forward a few years, and through several bizarre twists of fate, I find myself condemned to studying medicine for six years in a small town in the Czech Republic.

You will know the country formerly known as Czechoslovakia as famous for stunning architecture, The Velvet Revolution, and beer.

Expat students view it as infamous for mass-produced communist-era tower blocks, bone-chilling winters, gypsy-baiting and mullets.

Frankly, I would not have cherry-picked this location as a mind for young, curious minds to thrive. Yet, in practice, this relative adversity is what is needed to bring out the best in people. Many will go through our six-year course as relative zombies – gliding serenely through, as contented but as bored as they will ever be. There is an overwhelming feeling of 'meh' that engulfs our mini-community of 500-odd foreign students.

From watching the Kitply Cup on a shaky live stream, to playing Xbox through the night, to bingeing on four packets of instant noodles for dinner, my student life could not be deemed as 'enriching'. Frustrated, I eventually reached the stage of perennial ennui where enough was enough.

Combining my passion for cricket with my love for writing and growing social conscience, I decided to start the 'Alternative Cricket Movement'.

Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, I found 20 of the best bloggers going, and convinced them into submitting their finest work for a book: The Alternative Cricket Almanack 2011.


"So good, they made a cake out of it."

Our book is self-published, a collection of the finest articles you would never have read otherwise. The overall quality of cricket writing is at an all-time low – perhaps the avalanche of matches does not allow writers to even pause for breath – but I was determined to take a stand and show the world that there are passionate, immensely talented underground writers who are chomping at the bit for an opportunity to have their voice heard.

The quality of our book is there for all to see – there is an eclectic mix of articles, with witty satire interwoven with deeply personal anecdotes. As well as this, our original turns of phrase make for a totally different experience. Throughout the book, we are unapologetic in our honesty, a quality I feel that cricket journalists and commentators are lacking in.

We often get the feeling that many cricket writers and commentators try to be 'in bed' with certain cricketers, as well as pandering to public opinion – woe betide the evil man who even contemplates criticising Dhoni's defensive field settings. It's a wonder that some writers even have the time to put pen to paper, when they seem to spend most of their time fellating the player du jour.

Furthermore, we don't just want to lead the way in terms of cricket writing, but encourage others to do their part for a good cause. Therefore, I decided that all proceeds from our book would go to a good cause – in this case, the Afghan Youth Cricket Support Organisation.

Afghanistan is a country in need of a role model, and we have seen through the likes of Tendulkar and Murali that cricket is potent in terms of transcending politics. If we can unearth just one Afghan cricketer from a small village, who plays in a World Cup – ICC elitist snobbery notwithstanding – then he could be talked about for years, if he dismisses a Dhoni or a Yuvraj with a magic delivery, or hits consecutive sixes off Steyn or Malinga.

Kids would emulate their hero, and perhaps they would have some semblance of hope. Essentially, we are looking to inspire any number of young people with this scholarship fund.

No need to point out the unlikelihood and naivety of it all, but who's to say what can and can't be achieved? All great ideas started out as being preposterously ambitious. With pure intentions and public support, the sky is our limit.

And of course, in 2024, when our Afghan warrior hero strides up to collect his Laureus Sportsman of the Year award and/or Nobel Prize, his first words will be: "I'd like to thank my parents and dear friends, but you should all know: I did it for Sachin."

You can buy The Alternative Cricket Almanack 2011 – beri cheap – from Amazon (US and UK) and from Flipkart (India)


Read our blogs at AlternativeCricket.com, where you can read about Ian Chappell ending up in hospital after eating humble pie, and the now infamous Ugly Oscars

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter @AltCricket.

by Nishant Joshi

2 comments:

straight point said...

welcome on bored nishant...

i read this long post only for sachin...

Naked Cricket said...

Welcome on bored Nishant.