so there i was staring down at the ground . i was looking at a lonely ant scurrying for its appointment with that black bug over there. standing at long off or long on or whatever that far end of the ground was called was rather boring business. despite assurances from both the captains of our under-10 cricket team that my corner was one that was frequently visited upon by the ball , i was rather skeptical. i knew enough cricket to realise that a tennis ball hit by a 8 year old with that rather cheap plank of a bat would never reach me without rockets attached to its rear. everyone knew that the bat was all that mattered. now had that been an SG , i'd believe that even the next door toddler who practiced tirelessly with a hollow plastic bat would be able to blast that ball to the moon, without rockets.
the ant had by now concluded business with the bug and was heading towards the pavilion. i looked up and realised play had been stopped and that meant only one thing. my game was about to start. you see i didnt own the bat or the ball or the wall on which the 3 squiggly stump lines were drawn. i could hit sixes and fours at will but only if everything including the bat was imaginary and of course during my long stands at the far end of the field i'd even imagined some hatricks while bowling ... to myself. yet my inclusion into any game of cricket being played in the staff quarters we stayed in was a foregone conclusion, for i was a golden retriever. wait let me rephrase that before u go thinking this is the story of a dog. i was a seeker a la harry potter long before rowling even imagined quidditch. any cricket team playing anywhere in that huge quarters knew about my unique capabilities and those were the days when a slazenger tennis ball, even a tattered old one was worth a lot more than one of those silly snitches.
soon there was a call that echoed all around the ground and to a man, the whole cricket team started chanting my name. i looked around and started to slowly walk towards the evil bushes that had recently gobbled up our ball, acknowledging the cheers from the crowds. then quickly broke into a run as the captain of one of the teams told me that i would not get the customary baby-over batting if i didnt come sooner. after interrogating the batsman and the fielders, i quickly calculated trajectory, accommodated for bounce and age of the ball , added in a few of my favorite constants for luck, dived into the bushes, scratched my scrawny arm on some of the branches, tore up some leaves to do unto the bush as it had done unto me and came out with the ball. i even declined any assistance to help me out of the bushes. i knew my job and the baggage that came with it. fully satisfied with my performance i went back to search for my ant when a boy from the other side of the quarters came huffing and puffing across the ground. that could only mean one thing. i strained my eyes to look at batsman, realised no one had given him an SG bat. assuring myself that there was no way he was going to hit the ball to me, i quickly left with the other boy. some other team needed my skills more than this one did.
yesterday i got to play the gentleman's game after quite a while. my first ball bounced near my legs and went towards long on, my next went one bounce towards point and my third ball went right over the batsman's head. yup i was bowling. my batting fared much better though. a greek guy who'd never played before insisted he wanted to try bowling and the other team, seeing it was me with the bat, gave him a chance. after much swishing and slashing, i made contact for a single. the best part however came when someone edged a ball into a corner of the concrete courtyard we were playing in. play stopped and i started walking slowly towards the corner with a lopsided grin. compared to evil bushes, this one would be a piece of cake.