I just read the title and went back to my childhood. Two images flashed by my eyes and I’m going to go with one of them.
While in the longer run if I’d think harder, this wouldn’t be one of the moments that was more defining, it still did have a good feeling about it.
We were teenagers back then, rather in our early teens. We used to play cricket every evening in the huge field behind our apartments.
There were two groups which used to play in the same field. Once, we got together and decided that the two groups / teams will have a sort of a tournament. A 3 game tournament to see who’s better. And so it began. The first match started and we won the toss and chose to bat first. I am an average player when it comes to cricket. I’m more of a hook-it, if you hit wonderful, if you don’t wait for the next ball or get back to the pavilion. I was a better bowler than a batsman. But not as pathetic as I make it sound either. So essentially I wasn’t among the openers in the game. I came on the field generally after a couple or more people were off it and made whatever I could of the opportunity and went back home.
So the game started, and as you must’ve already guessed, we were in a bad state when I entered the pitch. We continued to be in a bad state after I entered the pitch too, but I was still on the crease. People at the other end were falling to loose balls, catches and bowl outs. We had amassed around 60 runs when everyone except me were out and back in the pavilion warming their bums.
I was now left alone at the crease (which is generally not the rule in cricket, but we’d tweaked it to our benefit before the match started). So here I was, a mediocre batsman with everyone jeering for me, and the last batsman of them team.
I was backing myself up every single ball. I knew that the moment I let even an ounce of doubt in my mind about the next ball and how i’d face it, I’d be on my way out. I kept scoring runs, hitting ground shots and running safely. I played through the evening until the end of play and we were pushed to continuing it the next day.
The next day I came in and was in top confidence. I’d thought of it through the night and the day at school. The day started and I was playing great in the same touch as the last evening. Playing beautiful shots timing it to perfection. I’ve never felt better in my life hence, at the batting crease. There was one moment where the ball was pitched short, juicy and a lollypop. I lofted the ball towards the boundary in the hope of scoring the max, a six. I looked at the boundary to see a man standing there waiting to catch it. My heart was in my mouth and I can still see that scene in front of my eyes. He was on the square leg position, standing right on the edge of the boundary and the ball was coming at his head’s height. He dropped it!
The whole team stood up in joy! Elation!
I backed myself up again and continued to play. I never got out in that match. Played till the opposition had bowled all the stipulated 20 overs. Sadly I never kept a score of how much I scored. But I must’ve scored a century is what others speculated considering how much we’d scored in total and how soon the rest had fallen!
We won the match by a good margin, bowling the opposition out well within the total.
I needn’t say how satisfying it was since it’s still fresh in my mind almost 13 -15 yrs later. But I was proud of myself for having done something a little unexpected and to the joy of the team in a winning cause.
That’s the story my friend… !
By the By