Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An article by my father-In love with cricket

As a student I went to a school, which had plenty of sports facilities and a big enough playground of its own. It was a co-ed school but in those days in early sixties, boys and girls did not talk to each other. Socially it was not accepted. Of course, there were a few bold ones who defied the rule but they too talked furtively making sure teachers were not around.

Every year, after final exams, a cricket match was held between students and teachers. This occasion was looked forward to as girls and lady teachers remained present to watch the big match. And this was one day when students could take little liberties like girls congratulating good performance of a batsman or a bowler. The ladies’ presence made certain that boys played with vigour and received their cheers.

The captain of teachers’ team was our principal, a gentleman of such immense proportions and weight that nobody had ever seen him walk fast, let alone run, and having little knowledge of the game. Captainship was given as a mark of respect. While fielding, he was given a post at the boundary line with a lackey (usually a student) to run and field for him. While batting, he opened the innings and was given an underarm slow ball from half-pitch, which he tried to hit. He usually lasted for one over or thereabouts before being bowled or caught out. (No LBWs for him & he didn’t take singles). After his royal departure, serious action would start.

The teachers’ team had one Parsi gentleman known as ‘Parsi Sir’ as he was the only Parsi person in the school who was really a good and keen cricketer. He invited his son Jal to play for teachers though Jal was not in our school. Usually students won but for this father-son duo and occasionally a stray teacher who stood between students’ victory. Both teams wore flannel cream-white pant-shirts as cricket gear.

This particular year, students’ team had some good players including ‘yours truly’. The captain of the students’ team was one Suresh, very funny and full of mischief known as Suresh-sursurio as he could smoothly sneak away from any difficult or unpleasant situations, but a good fast bowler. Students had won the toss, had batted first and had made a reasonably good score. Now teachers were batting and students were finding it difficult to uproot the Parsi father-son duo. Balance was tilting slowly on teachers’ side. Suresh-sursurio was bowling furiously and desperately.

It happened suddenly. The stitches of Suresh’s trousers tore on the backside as he bowled furiously. The more he bowled, more stitches came apart. Now his V-shape blue underwear was clearly visible. Still, he continued bowling and the crowd; girls in particular, cheered, booed and went wild. In his next over Suresh took his tucked-in shirt out of his pants, continued bowling with his shirt flying as he took his long run. Imagine the scene and you can guess the howling and chaos it caused. When his over was finished, we advised him to stop bowling and to let someone else bowl. But the bull that he was, his mind was only on winning the game.

In his next over he took off his pants all together and bowled only in his underwear with his shirt flying high as he took his long run. The crowd of more than 800 students went wild. The scene, screaming, hooting, whistling, distracted the Parsi duo’s concentration and both were out one after another in a span of three overs. Thereafter, students’ victory was easy. Suresh was the shining star that day – the ultimate hero.

I suppose in today’s scenario, Suresh could have easily given Gangulis & Sreesanths a run for their money.

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