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A typical cricket maidan where kids in India spend their weekend mornings playing cricket

A typical cricket maidan where kids in India spend their weekend mornings playing cricket

When you look back at your childhood some memories always linger in your mind. For me as a kid growing up in India playing cricket was normal. The best memory of playing cricket was when few friends form a team and start playing matches with random teams we find in the ground. We wake up at around 6:00 AM, gather around at a common spot and leave to the ground with our kit. Sometimes we would have a pre-scheduled game and sometimes we would go to the ground, find a great spot, pitch the stumps and wait for find another team who are looking for a game. It was fantastic experience. We had a decent team and had lots of fun playing together. We had players from all age groups and it was fun to play as a team and enjoy the time spent with each other whether we win or lose.

Even though we played for fun, the fact that we kept losing played on our minds a lot. This changed when we played a game against a team we did not even know, scored just 48 runs in a 12 over game and bowled them out for 48. So not exactly a win but gave us a huge amount of confidence. That was the first time we did not lose a game.

That tied game was followed by our first win as a team and it was unfortunate that it wasn’t a bet match :). The memory of that game is still fresh in my mind. We were playing a team who had beaten us couple of times before so obviously we did not have much hope. We did not even have a full X1 and picked out a guy who was at the ground and was hoping to get a game with some team. The funny part is that he turned out to be our best bowler of the day. This was just a friendly game and they won the toss and elected to bat first. We did not start that well with the ball but eventually restricted them to a decent total. Considering it was just a 16 over game, we had done a decent job in keeping them down to just 95 runs. We wanted to win this game badly but before we realised we were 4 down for about 17 (I don’t remember the exact score or the overs but remember the situation)  and things weren’t looking good for us.

That’s when I came into bat and my cousin was already batting at the other end. Having lost 4 wickets already we decided to go for the broke as we realised that keeping wickets isn’t going to help at this stage. It was counterattack of epic proportions and the opposition hadn’t expected this. I have had few partnerships with my cousin before but this was the best. The fact that we kept hitting boundaries at will was just amazing. I couldn’t believe that this was the same team to whom we had lost before as they were completely falling apart with every passing over.

At the end of the 14th over we needed just 4 to win with both of us still at the crease and I was really nervous as this was going to be our first win as a team. The first three balls of the over, I wasn’t able to connect and I decided whatever happens I am going to throw the kitchen sink at the next ball I am going to face as we had enough batsmen in the hut even if I got out. The ball was short outside off stump and I hit the ball as hard as I could, the ball sailed over the boundary over the cover fielder for a six and that was it. It was our first win as a team and that too we completely hammered them in the end. It was a great feeling. Even though it was just a tennis ball game and wasn’t a bet match we enjoyed the victory.

We would go on to win couple more games after that but nothing as sweet as the first one. We stopped playing after that summer as people got busy with academics and I left to US the following winter for studies. But those memories will never fade away. Memories are all we carry throughout our lives and that sure was a great one for me.

Kids playing cricket in India

Kids playing cricket in India

I was like any other kid in India growing up in Chennai. Like most I was drawn to Cricket at a very young age. A wooden plank and a rubber ball and you are good to go. Cricket is one of the most inexpensive outdoor games anyone can play. For me as a kid I started playing the game even before I understood the rules. Even the harshest critic of the game now would have at least had a couple of hits during his younger days. I still remember the first time I watched any cricket match. It was India Vs Pakistan and Sachin Tendulkar smashed Mushtaq Ahmed for two consecutive sixes in Sharjah.

Since then I have been hooked on to this great game. Cricket has been a part of my life in one way or the other for almost 18 years now. I used to watch almost every game that India played, kept track of the records Sachin broke (I Still do) and played the game whenever possible. We even had a team in our locality in Chennai and we used to play some matches with random teams in the play grounds when we were young.

The playgrounds in Chennai during the weekends were an incredible sight. Starting at 6:00 AM in the mornings teams used to run to the grounds to catch a spot to play a match. The matches mostly will be fixed between two different teams and they will agree to play in a particular place at a particular time. It will mostly be a bet match. The money never used to be huge but still enough to keep the teams competitive.

It was fun and we also played our share of bet matches. We did not win too many games but it was great fun. On a Sunday, getting up early in the morning, assembling outside a team member’s house. Riding our bicycles to get to the ground to catch a good pitch to play our game used to be a thrilling experience at that age. We have had our share of losses but even though we played the game as hard as we can, we always had a hearty laugh about the game later when we met again in the evening.

I remember the first ever time my team had a tie and the first game we won. It’s all part of a memory I will always cherish. The game has been so close to my heart and has remained a passion. When I was a kid I always wanted to be involved with the sport. I used to think, even if I don’t make it as a player I would at least become a presenter or commentator or writer or even a statistician. Even though I could not achieve my goal and ended up as a software engineer, the game still lives close to my heart. The main reason I started blogging was due to my love for the sport.

Cricket is a game of extreme emotions and unlike other team sports it is played for a longer duration. In the other team sports you don’t have enough time to go through various emotions during a game. Cricket is a game where you can be happy a minute and shattered immediately after that.

I have learnt a lot from the game. It has taught me the virtues of life like patience, competitiveness, team spirit etc. Even though I hardly get to watch any games these days and mostly follow the scores online, I still try to keep in touch with the game. I write about the game whenever I get time.I still have a dream of reporting cricket for living in the future but that might not happen.

The game has been really close to my heart for all these years and will continue to be so throughout my life. I am not sure how involved I can be with the game in the future but I will always cherish the memories the game has given me till date.


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