Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Cricket debacle. 

No. It's not about the Indian Cricket team. You can relax and read ahead now.

I play tennis ball cricket in office practically every evening. It's a wonderful thing to compete with guys who know your strengths and weakness. Every single player has his favourite shots and his totally abysmal areas. For example, I am a reasonably good offside batsman and I can pick runs off my toes on the onside too but I am not comfortable with the pull shot or the hook shot. Therefore I am almost always bowled a good length incutter aimed at my stomach. Of course, some days I get lucky and pull that for a six and the formula against me changes for a few days. Likewise, I know which batman I can bowl the yorker to and to who I can get away with a screamer down the offside. To top it all, we play on a circular helipad (concrete base), which covers about 30 yards and the rest is all lush green lawn. Needless to say, NOBODY dives on the helipad but there have been some scintillating catches at the boundary where the fielder comes running in and dives to hold on to the catch.

So much for the preamble. Today we had a match with another group in the company. we had a practice match yesterday with those chaps and beat them hollow. Therefore everyone was in a buoyant mood. After all we do play everyday. What can ppl who play once in a while do against us. As the title mentions, well...quite a bit.

First up, we played on another ground nearby which was an ok pitch (mud) and grass all around. This ground is not preferred by us for our daily games because the boundaries are too short and a good shot is, more often than not, a six. We won the toss and put them to bat. The logic being that they do not have an idea about the potential of the ground and would not know the runs needed for a win. We started off well with only 15 runs coming in the first 4 overs with the fall of 3 wickets. I bowled the 5th and 7th over and gave only 7 runs and took a wicket. Then it started. An innocuous drop catch, a missed stumping chance, a run out throw to the wicket hitting it and shooting off allowing for more runs. A six and a few fours later, the target was 60 of 10 overs. No sweat. Our chaps went in to bat. All of a sudden we realised our folly. You see, this match was set up by one of the players who used to play regularly with us. He had got ppl from his dept. who we did not know. On the other hand, he was expertly setting the field for each and every one of us. On top of that, their bowling was excellent. Good pace, mostly yorkers and widish outside the off stump deliveries with a slip and a second slip at square. We tumbled to 45 all out in about 9 overs.

Lessons learnt:
Do not underestimate the other team.
Do not assume that good bowling on one pitch is enough to bowl on another pitch. I am so used to bowling on concrete that I had to be extra cautions about not slipping on the ground. This robbed me of an few extra yards of speed. Possibly that defended shot could have been a bowled.
Get lots of batting practice. Balls that I whack on the helipad were finding edges and snicks in the 3 overs that I batted. Reason: change in pace/bounce of the ground. Plus, learn to wait for the ball and play on the backfoot. I gave my wicket away to a cross bat shot on the front foot which found the fielder at the boundary behind the bowler. A more balanced shot would have been a sixer.
Fight to the finish. Lost hope is more dangerous than lack of skill. In the over I got out, I was batting with 35 runs to win in 18 balls and the only thought was the smirk and taunts on the face of the challenger who plays with us daily (oh, we are a fun bunch :) ). I should have batted sensibly and waited for a bad ball to whack instead of throwing my wicket to a good ball.

Long post I know, but I just wanted to write all this down while I am still smarting so that I can read this and rectify things before the next match.



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