There is saying, "Cricket is a religion in India and Tendulkar is it’s God". I was no exception to this and very early as a kid I picked up the sport that our colonial masters had left to us. It is certainly not an athletic game and boring to watch if you are not into the game. Nevertheless it is a tough sport, I have had bleeding nose, iced fingers for many days because of it. (Even lost vision temporarily on both eyes on different occasions!). More than talent, it tests your mental temperament and your stamina and the ability to soak it under sun, be it 3 hours, one day or even 5 days.
When you play in the streets as a kid, barring a few exceptions, everyone wants to bat!
No wonder we have produced top batsmen in the world as compared to bowlers. An Indian bowling at 150 kmph consistently with a proper line and length is still a dream for me.
As Randy Pausch stresses on idea of head fake learning, he gives example of sports, on how they teach about working in a team, improvising on the spot and many things. In the end every sports teaches sportsmanship, to shake hands with the opponent and say “good game, mate”, irrespective of the result.
Even though it is called the Gentleman’s game, sledging has always been the part of it. Personally I have faced it many times. There is nothing worse in cricket than getting out due to a psychological ploy by the opponent team. (I hate wicket keepers, especially when they are up the stumps to spinners and keep blabbering at a centimetre away from your ears. But then, that’s the part of the game!). However, it gives great comfort, especially as a batsman if you get through the initial rough period and can see the body language of eleven people around you going down and noises getting zeroed with every shot you play.
I played for my district and zone as a kid, then dropped out lately. I wanted to bowl fast, but my action was no where close to be called as “clean”. I borrowed the style of bowling from the guy who taught me how to bowl; I was an off spinner. But I was never a big spinner of the ball, it was the faster one, the stock variation which hit the batsmen on pads or on sweet spot which paid the dividends. (Evil, but I liked it when their faces would become small!)
I did not have sound technique with bat to begin with. It is strange but true that, while batting you should learn to use your foot more than your bat. Footwork is all the classic players have. I had my times when every second ball I could cover drive the ball and stand tall, as if someone would take my photograph (phew!), but the period was short and after many years, I rely more on “hand and eye” coordination now.
Anyway, like the kid I was, I don’t aspire to play for state or country anymore, cricket is that part of myself which still brings some excitement and the zeal in me to get out of bed, go to ground and beat my body a bit. Even though I am in a country where cricket is hardly recognised as a sport, I am thankful to Cricket Lions Karlsruhe, for allowing me to do that.