These days, everyone has the IPL fever. Cricket is ruling us. They say cricket is like a religion. If cricket is a religion then I am an atheist. But things were not always like this. I did have a love affair with cricket long back, which had ended in a divorce.
Those days, I had joined college, fresh out of school. I was spotted by the coach of woman’s cricket team, Puri district. It was not like I was very athlete or something. It was just that I was easy to spot, purely based on my good height.
Cricket and me? I had played garden cricket as a kid. I was a tom boy and we use to play gulli cricket without any gender bias. They call cricket a gentleman’s game, much later I realized why they have kept ladies like me out.
After my selection, we attended practice sessions at some ground. Our coach was very enthusiastic about me. He discussed his plans of making me a fast bowler. I was excited for him and that he believed in me. In my heart, I wanted to bat and score a century and then raise my hand to my fans in the stadium. Awe, that would be a kodak moment..!
However, time would prove I was good for nothing. After, I registered; I realized that there would be hard work like exercise and lot of running around involved. That it was a major part and parcel of the game, any game.
Also. it was a nightmare to see the rubber ball that we used as kids was replaced with a cricket ball. Red was my favorite color but not here. We did not get along at all. Whenever, it was time for me to bowl, in a freak panic, I threw the ball far out, instead of bowling to the wicket.
Once, our coach seriously suggested that I should get my eyes checked. I always, I repeat always missed the target. At one point, I threw the ball so high that it went over a one storied building. Another time, the ball flew off my hand before I could bring it forward shocking our coach, who stood behind me.
One thing was clear, the bats man, in this case bats woman was always safe from me. I must have been the safest bowler. Was I ashamed of myself?
No ways, I had this bad habit of laughing at myself after each throw. My fit of laughter lasted quite a while. No one could stop my rolling with laughter spree and waited in patience for me to calm down. I continued throwing ball in all direction but the wicket and followed it up with bouts of crazy laughter.
Finally, the young coach gave up. He could not control my throw or my laugh. Next, he tried to train me to bat. This made me very happy. My dream was to be a bats man of some repute. I liked to wear pads on my legs and also liked wearing white pants and shirt. I had already bought those. I definetely looked the part.
To spoil things, the cricket ball played foul here too. I was fearful of the cricket ball. Every time I faced a ball, I closed my eyes or peeped though one eye making the coach believe I was winking at him. All his efforts were in vain again.
There was no time left for the match between our side, if my memory serves me right and Berhampur district. I was part of the Puri district team. Yes, I was the twelve th man.
It was January; I did not mind sitting out thorough the match and I thanked God for it. Our side lost, however we all received a participation memento of the famous Konark chakra. I was happy to call it a day as far as Cricket was concerned. I never went back to the field.
Believe me, I know how tough it is to go out and face a ball~