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An estimated 5-minute read

@ Recruiter: Sir, Here is Why Cricket is More Important Than Moots

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“Next time, the eleven of us are on a corporate deal, or fighting it out in the court; we’ll know that you don’t win till the scoreboard says so”.

Cricket in my college is a lesser religion. People worship soccer more fastidiously. Nonetheless, cricket is a religion. Interbatch tournaments, inter-college tournaments, a league tournament etc.; cricket has a good share of worshippers. So, here you go; presenting before you: a cricket match.

A.      Our Team

We have the best of teams. We have the worst of teams. Out fast bowlers are the best. Every fast bowler of our 2nd year team has represented the university. Our fast bowlers: Shah, Talwar, Kalia (thats me) and Sihag are all fearsome (even our names instil fear).

Shah is short, lean and as strong a steel; Talwar is an inch and a half taller and muscular courtesy the gym. I am as short as Shah, stockier and owe my strength to my Punjabi origins. Then we have Sihag, a Haryanvi Jaat, six feet three and built like an Ox. He bowls at a slow medium pace but swings the ball like a pendulum. 

Our batsmen are the worst. Our hopeless batsman can’t hit fours, can’t take singles and they can’t even bat the full 30 overs.

B.      The match

We won our first match and drank on the road hiding beer bottles in newspapers, which do a bad job at hiding. The semi final match was against the first years and we know what first years do: there would be serious politics being played within the team; the captain would be the most hated guy; and the most talented guy wouldn’t be in the team. We knew it through experience.

And some news: Talwar was off to Kerela for a moot and wasn’t playing the match.

C.      Well done batsmen

Our batsman did surprisingly good with 190 on board in 30 overs.

Sihag opened the bowling and began as usual, the ball coming in from a 10 foot height, moving and swirling in the air, making bee like noises. He hit the wood thrice.

We sledged the shit out of their batsman. I am a poor fielder but still was fielding in the inner circle for my sledging abilities. A batsman complained to the umpire; we laughed, the umpire laughed too and next ball the batsman was out. In about 10 overs, they were 60 for 5. We were celebrating and talking about whom we will play next. We just needed 5 wickets and we would be in the finals!

Shah was breathing fire, the ball making Bazooka like noises. Whoom! Wham! It was either the body of the batsman or his pads, but never the wicket. Alas! The captain of the first years, who is a real good batsman, was smashing Shah. So most of the Whooms and Whams were from the batsman’s blade. Things were changing like Calcutta’s weather.

D.      The shoulders dropped

I was given the ball, still newish and instead of the inward movement I get, the ball was out-swinging. I knew this tendency and was worried. A partnership happened, a long one. Choudhary, the first year hit me like anything. He hit any bowler like anything. Sihag was ineffective, as he is with the old ball. Pandeyji, the leggie tried but wasn’t good enough. We were losing.

Our shoulders dropped. Sihag’s Ox like shoulders dropped, my proud Punjabi shoulders dropped. Wasim, who was playing with an injured leg, told us from the bench to buck up.

We were losing. I was bowling too full. I changed ends but nothing happened.  Come on Kalia! Use the shoulder”. But the shoulder had dropped. And then an edge of their wicket keeper batsman was dropped. The shoulders dropped more.

E.       A ray of hope

Some overs later, a wicket! Pandeyji got Chaudhary out!

Now the team’s blood flowed better, the mouths talked more and the raised up sleeves showed lots of aggression (and some biceps). Shah bowled over number 29 and the first years needed 10 runs to win with two wickets remaining.

Last over-4 runs-2 wickets. I got the ball. It was all on me. The score keeper shouted “Kalia! You don’t have overs left”. What! WTG?! We told him to check, the whole team, all eleven of us.  He checked and confirmed that he was right.

Pandeyji took the ball and in the first ball, a nicely tossed up leg spinner, a wicket fell! We all fell over each other. A ray of hope! A visible, clear ray of hope! We needed one wicket, they need four runs. Next ball, Tilli, who is in the first year team for nothing, edged the ball for a four.

The sun was burning down. The ray of hope had become too concentrated and it charred our hearts. The first years came running onto the field. We were devastated. Holding our hair, banging our heads on the ground. Handshakes followed. Nobody blamed anyone on the field. It was a hard fought game.

F.       After taste

In the library, in the mess and near Biju Da’s shack we looked at each other, nodded in exasperation and smiled. ‘That wicket’, ‘that ball’, ‘that 1st year’; the images flashed continuously. And then we forgot. A lesson, however, stuck on.

We learnt more about law than the ‘off to Kerela for a moot’ Talwar. Next time, the eleven of us are on a deal, or fighting it out in the court; we’ll know that you don’t win till the scoreboard says so.

 

PS- Dear recruiters, we all are team players and can ‘take on a job individually and work efficiently in a group’. (words straight from my cover letter).

PS 2- @ Recruiters again: That we lost the match makes us better team players.

PS 3- I am not regionalist and I don’t drink.

 

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