Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Pullman Game

Some games, leave you happy, some sad, some disappointed and some fuming. Very few games, like this weekend's street-fight type match against WSU, left me thinking "this is why I enjoy the game so much". 2 weekends ago our team was in one of those "win all the remaining 4 games to qualify for play-offs" situation. With last week's game won, we were looking to keep our hopes alive. After getting up at 3:30 AM and after 5 incredibly boring hours of travel, we won the toss and chose to bat. 'M' & yours truly went to open. This was a chance I had been waiting for almost 6 games. I wanted to show a kind of temperament, staying ability and shot selection that did not resemble driving abilities of a Nesamuni Bus Driver. Since I had been obsessing about this for 6-7 weeks: before facing every ball I told myself to (a) remember to stand on the toes while playing (b) not go for the 'nesamuni' cross batted slog over mid-wicket (c) play on the V. 40 overs is a long time and I decided to let runs come to me instead of searching for runs.

M is a stylish batsman and he also had zero temperament. Its like our team policy. So in the first over he hit a splendid six with a square cut clearing, what I thought was, a very long boundary. I stoutly defended the second over. Brutally forcing myself to defend half-volleys. I wasn't giving it away. The 3rd over, M cross-batted one over mid-wicket and the skier was dropped. 2 runs. Then M played the exact same shot. This time he was caught. Meanwhile I continued to stoutly defend the 4th over. Then the 6th over . Got off the mark on the 8th over with a flick to fine leg. Total Relief. 10th over first ball - the ball was short and slow. Too much to resist. Six over square leg. Regardless, I cursed myself for losing control and defended the next 4 balls. Last ball: down the leg-side wide. Or - should have been a wide. But the automaic flick that you play for such a ball seemed to result in a 'dockku' sort of nick and fell into the hands of the keeper diving towards leg side. 40 minute resistance ended with nothing to show. So freakin' devastated that I might as well gone and jumped into a well. On a spongy sort of wicket where the ball stops and comes, the team collapsed barring one partnership (where one guy scored 8 of 90 balls and the other 38 of 53 balls) and we were 134 all out.

Opened the bowling too, which was a surprise because my shoulder was busted ( 2 weeks ago I couldn't lift a key) and I thought I was out for the season a.f.a bowling was concerned. The first over was bowled by a Bangladeshi "person". He is 6' 4" tall and 30 miles wide - I keep telling everybody that if you cut him up, you could feed Bangladesh for a day. He bowled 12 wides in his first over. Another team policy. My first over goes for 2 runs but feel incredible pain in shoulder like it would fall-down any moment. My shoulder gets totally busted when spell is at 3-1-11-0 and I am done for the match. The openers begin to cross-bat like crazy and soon they are 55/0 in 10. That becomes 60/1 when one cross-batted heave lobs up to fine leg. 80/2 when the other opener tries to cross-bat a full-toss and misses. 103/2 with 32 required and 8 wickets in hand and 21 overs to go the batsman edges. Huge noise and deflection to the keeper. As he begins his walk, he notices that the umpire (batting side umpire because we can't get a neutral umpire to travel 5 hours) is unmoved. So he comes back.

Fight begins, our team stages a walkout, they argue, we argue, bla bla bla, batsman says crazy shit like "if i think i hit it, I would walk out. I am honest" etc etc. When we resume after the 20 over break we are pumped up and start sledging the batsman like crazy. They get to 110/2 and this batsman edges another catch to point. Then they begin to collapse under the weight of 4 maiden overs and some increasingly serious sledging. Some unexpectedly good bowling from our team makes them 115/6. 20 to win 4 wickets in hand and you'd expect most bowling teams to really go for it. Our team bowled 14 wides. Bringing the total wides bowled to 53 for the match. When you are defending 135 - many would call that really "cool" stuff under pressure. However we managed to pick up 3 more wickets during those 14 wides.

Tension and animosity is as thick as the Maharajah Nagar XI Vs EB Colony XI match played in Palayamkottai almost 20 years ago. The opposition is yelling "thank you" for every wide we bowl. The leg umpire (batting side) starts giving "no balls" for general full-tosses. It is crazy out there. I have never seen such a road-fight level cricket in this league before. But it was incredibly exciting. 1 wicket to go, 6 runs to get and its a race between our wides and their collapse. Suddenly their batsman decides to play a shot. I think they forgot how to play shots because they had played over 80 dot balls and they got their last 25 runs through wides. The ball lobs up to mid-on, all eyes are on that solitary fielder stationed there. He was probably cursing himself for standing there. Thankfully, he catches it and we live to fight another match.

7 comments:

MLC said...

cricket le romba intrest illai aana purushan-oda appappa paakara pazhakam yenaku .. but aftr yr prev post i was wondrng what happend and in this post, u built up good tension and it was a relief to read tt u managed to avoid a visit to the poultry farm!:-)

Rastafari said...

got to admit your write ups on cricket makes for some tense reading. match la ulla tension a oralavukavathu post il kondu varinga!

and getting out at that time and like that was cruel.

Ashes follow panliyo?

Alan Smithee said...

This sounds like a deleted scene from "achamundu achamundu".

blackaccord said...

The Gentlemanship in desi cricket or the lack thereof is worse in these batting team umpiring games.. You might as well have the batsman or the non-striker do the umpiring.. We had a similar incident where umpiring was done by the batting team. I caught a ball almost 10 feet in front of the imaginary boundary line (indicated by small flags) and the square leg umpire wouldn't give it out because I didn't wait for him to come and check if I was within the boundary line.. next over I had the bastman caught and bowled and waited for umpire to come and make sure that i'm within the boundary line.. Ofcourse the opponent was a Golti team..:)

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. very strange that a 40 over game does not have a neutral umpire. Especially if u guys are playing under the US cricket association banner... Isnt the league supposed to provide umpires? Strange..

-G

Hawkeye said...

MLC,

avoiding that visit was key -)

Rastafari,

nandri hai.. yes following ashes.

alan,

amerikka vaazh thamizh maganin documentary.


black accord,

even with neutral umpires we dont move once we catch it near boundary line. if you move thagararu dhaan.

G,

the only games you dont have neutral umpires are the ones you have to drive 5 hours for.

sundar said...

'M' is my class-mate from Pilani, I think :).. excellent description.. edge-of-the-seat thriller..;)