The Icc cricket World Cup is reaching its climax with the knockout stage just round the corner . All major teams except England have qualified from group A while the fate of group B will be decided in a couple of days .
With all the cricket blogs and posts on my fb and twitter timelines I could not help but think about the time when I was a kid and played cricket on the street outside or in my apartment building
following are few of the memories that ill always remember
Breaking into the scene :
I was 9 or 10 years old and we had recently shifted in the apartment complex on main Mai Kolachi road . I was batting for the very first time and every one was shouting “chaka chaka”. Apparently they all hated the bowler for some reason. They didn’t know how I played , heck I didn’t know how I played ! All I remember is that this boy delivered the ball and drenched in adrenaline I slogged it for 6 . I instantly became the Brain Lara of my building and everyone wanted to be my friend . I had broken into the cricketing scene !
The famous catch :
It was my birthday and I had invited my school friends over . After the cake and everything we went down to play cricket. It was just supposed to be us but some kids were already playing in the parking area ( our cricket ground) and u cant just ask them to leave so we asked them to play with us. They agreed. The teams were made toss done and target set. One of my closest friends Munim was on the field on the offside while I was batting. The bowler came delivered a full toss and i did what i could do best-Slog. I hit the ball in the air towards the offside boundary. It was far from Munim and I thought he was never going to make it . But to the surprise and amazement of everyone Munim ran a good 20 25 feet, made a full length dive on hard concrete floor and caught the ball with one hand , tearing his jeans and injuring his knees in the process . We were hardly 11 yrs old but such was his dedication. He had become a hero . A champion with a bloody knee . We still talk about that famous catch .
The Phadda :
I was 14 and the older guys would occasionally bully the younger boys. They would ask us for money for the drinks ball tape etc.However one day I refused to pay. This boy Omair about 17 at that time came to me and said “kya bay ?”
“mai kyun dun paisay” said I
“sab daitay hain isliey”
“mai nai dun ga”
We came nose to nose but the other kids stopped us . Anyway the teams were made and play started. Umair was a very fast bowler and he made sure I would be in the other team so he could hurt me .
After a few wickets fell I came in to bat and Umair took the ball . He wanted to face me and make sure I regret not paying the money. His first ball was a very fast low full toss and I completely misjudged it. It hit my leg and hurt me bad. Umair didn’t say a word. Instead he just stared at me for a few seconds as if saying “take that ! ”
Second ball , I was expecting another full toss . A full toss it was . I flicked it to the leg side … SIX !
It was my time to stare .Take that Sucker !
Third ball , faster and it hits my stomach . Ouch !
Fourth ball , another full toss , I hit it in the air and another 6 it is .
How do you like me now ?
Dolly aunty and Chacha :
Every building has a villain . We had 2. One was a middle-aged single woman named Dolly . We called her dolly aunty . And the other was a very thin old man , a grandfatherly figure but always irritated for some reason . It was his mission in life to eradicate all signs of cricket from our building . We called him chacha . We don’t know his real name to this date . There have been so many incidents with dolly aunty and chacha but mentioning all would require another blog post .
Out of the most famous ones , one was when someone put a firecracker outside Dolly aunt’s house and she was so freaked out that she called the cops ! She called the cops on us innocent kids ! The police did come but they didn’t know what to do . We were only kids . They talked to dolly aunty and assured her it wont happen again but dolly aunty was adamant that they lock us up . How cruel . We witnessed the drama from a safe distance and later laughed our hearts out .
Another such incident happened outside chacha’s house. Someone broke his window with the ball and we all ran away and hid somewhere . The usual . However chachaa didn’t come out to scold us this time . Maybe he wasnt home .
After a while we go back to playing and had all forgotten about chacha . Few minutes later we hear a click…it was from chacha’s door ! The door burst open and he comes out in his shalwar and banyan with a viper in hand !
He was out to kill us !
We ran and he ran behind us completing the whole lap around the apartment complex . From then onwards we never played outside his house .
Chacha outsmarted us and was still fit enough to give us a good chase !
The inter-apartment cricket tournament :
Every mohalla has such cricket tournaments where the buildings compete against each other to become the champions of the neighbourhood . Ours was the Jason luxury condominium and we were up against the Jason paradise. Don’t be fooled by the names, its anything but luxury or paradise !
Anyway it was the last over and we required 8 runs to win . We were down to two last batsmen , one of them being yours truly . I was on the bat facing the heartthrob of the area, Ahsan . Ahsan was son of the famous classical singer Salamat Ali .
Ahsan was popular , he looked good and bowled nice and fast . But he also had a dirty mouth .
Before he started to bowl I went up to him and told him that I will hit the next ball for a four . I was just taunting him . He told me to go fuck myself . His actual words . It was no longer just a taunt now .
I had to destroy that filthy piece of rotten eggs .
He comes in balls fast and BANG ! I hit him for a four .
My team mates go crazy .
Next ball I take a single and the rest is bad history . I never faced another ball because my partner was bowled out the very next ball.
We lost by 3 runs but I had beaten Ahsan
48 off 12 balls :
The thing about playing cricket on the streets is that you don’t really need to know how to bat . You just need to know how to slog . I made sure I learned to do that .
I was out to bat one such day . The bowler was some kid who was very easy to play . My team expected me to put some big runs against him .
I missed the first ball .
The boys threw all kinds of colorful words at me . Street cricket can be very harsh . You miss one ball and you get abused like anything .
However , that didn’t matter much because I hit the poor kid for six every ball the remaining 5 balls . The colorful words were now directed at the poor chap . I hit a few more the next over and was finally caught out on 48 runs off 12 balls .
It is my favourite innings.
We went on to win the match and I was the hero that day !