Monday, January 31, 2011

Cricket: A step into my Dad's shoes...

As far as I can remember, I have always loved to play the game of cricket - like anybody else from my generation. During childhood, most of my afternoons were dedicated to playing the Game at Sahadevkhuta (several venues). We had some simple rules. We first divided players (any number more than 6 was considered good attendance) into two teams. Both the teams had to field for both the innings consisting of 6 to 8 overs. There was a ceremonial toss of the coin and there you go.

My first big opportunity, which I failed to capitalize on, in the Game came when I was in my intermediate. The opportunity was to become a part of the Fakir Mohan Junior College Cricket Team. And as always, I was fighting against the odds. First, I didn't have a sports shoe - in fact I didn't have a shoe in any form or shape. I had no track suit or the white pants that players used to wear. Second, like any typical Indian family, my folks were against me following any sport. But, I desperately wanted to be part of the team as it would have given me access to play with leather balls (normally, we used to play with cheaper cork balls) and also use some decent cricket equipment - like pads, gloves, thigh pad, and helmet etc. For the experience bit, it would have been great.

Although, I was in a tough spot, I didn't want to give up without a fight. I soon figured out that there was an extra pair of old shoes at home. The pair belonged to my father and was two sizes more than what I would have liked. On top of it, the shoe was kind of a slip on without any laces. I filled the top part of the shoe with some papers and could manage to wear it without too many issues. I had to also keep my escapade secret as the ramification of my parents and elder brother coming to know about my adventure would have been worse than the shoe.

And on the first of day of the trials I faced another challenge. I was told by some “sure shots” that the shoe I wore was not meant for cricket and that I should wear a proper sports shoe. I was able to convince them by saying that I was in the process of buying one. On the first day of the trials, I bowled well (I was a decent off spinner) and could guess that I will find a place in the top 15 if not the playing eleven. However, little did I know that that fateful afternoon, by elder brother had spotted me participating in the selection trials.

So, when I came back home, I was told by my brother that I had to stop going for the cricket trials. The secret was now out and there was no point in me being a rebel in this case. But, I did like the feeling of stepping into my father's shoes. Literally, in this case.

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