January 31, 2008

The devil of small things.

The makeshift commentator idled away: “Thank You Umpire!” Seemed like a long time anyone, leave alone a commentator, had thanked an umpire – that too for signaling a wide ball. But this was an inter-school cricket match at St Paul’s, and there was a tad more bonhomie than in that 2007-08 India-Australia test series, Down Under.

Of course, this was only a Ten10 tournament – and any way you look at it, ten-over a side games will generate far less friction than locking adversaries in for five days. And once they become sworn enemies, is there any point in playing – that too, twice a year, as if the annual reports of their cricket boards cannot be inked without their blood. No thank you, I’ll pass.

Meanwhile, Commentatorji was wired to a white-noised neta’s loudspeaker, and rambling repeated thanks to the umpire – while I was sucked to the backroom’s rear window. Suddenly another classic film title rolled past, and mine was a room with a view. Not quite Hitchcock, but the batsmen were going for the kill.

Still, I approved of the overtly conservative field placements – there wasn’t one but two third-man positions. Can’t fathom why most captains are dead against a third man - Is it because the cheap ticket holders hang around there? Mind you, right now I was the only crowd behind third man; almost like pole position, literally, or hanging Mirinda manlike from a billboard, only more secure.

In spite of me, the cheap ticket non-holder, the third man fielders weren’t budging. Not even when the ball zipped past. Reckon that’s why the wicket keeper was standing way back to tiny tot’s out-swingers – a new cherry can do amazing things, even when placed in a little hand. Even from a distance, I half expected a Sachin Tendulkar uppercut.

But the batsman (boy?) was more intent square off the wicket – and as the cheerleaders and their followers were all stationed there, you can safely say, like Sehwag, he was playing to the galleries. And naturally to the gallows!

But no matter what, the watching school kids remained unmoved, like mute spectators– almost akin to an India-Australia World Cup final in neutral, non-cricketing Switzerland.

Thanks to the commentator, it dawned on me this wasn’t because of any eviction notice or stringent spectator code, but the playing teams were both from outside. Is that the way forward – no home series to secure best behaviour? But then, is there a corner in the world that the “Bharat Army” or the “Invincibles” won’t go to – Tierra del Feugo, here we come! Falklands, here we go!

Meanwhile, the commentator thanked the Umpire for signaling a no ball. Next, a wicket fell, and all hell broke loose. You’d be forgiven for thinking Harbhajan Singh had knocked Rickie Ponting over again. Or Australia had just won No. 16, the Sydney test. Frankly, if you play cricket, a big wicket always warrants a big celebration. No matter how small you are. Though somehow, in front of these school kids, the players in that 2007-08 India-Australia test series, Down Under, seemed a lot smaller. And no matter what, I just can’t get that bad taste out of my mouth. They were to me, to warp a phrase, the devil of small things.

For the entire series of "Rear Window & Room with a View" pictures click here


meraj said...

some really cool pics there...where? oh...the post on the other blogsite (where one cant make any comment).

enjoyed the post as well.

Naked Cricket said...

tanks mman! the link for the pics is at the bottom of this post.

Samir Chopra said...

Which St. Pauls is this? Darjeeling?

Naked Cricket said...

Delhi St Paul's. Cathedral though there isn't!

Samir Chopra said...

Interesting, I didn't realize there was on in Delhi (where is it?). St. Pauls Darjeeling has one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world. (Check this out: http://www.spsdarjeeling.com/)

Naked Cricket said...

Thanks for the link, Samir. That is some photograph on the home page - don't put it beyond Oberoi Hotels to perch their intentions up there on 7500 ft, the next Wildflower Hall!

Ottayan said...


"but the playing teams were both from outside. Is that the way forward – no home series to secure best behaviour?"

I believe it will be the way forward. The Pak-Australia series will ensure that.

Naked Cricket said...

Hi ottayan,
good to see you here :)
A Pak-Aus series in India- It's been playing on my mind for the last few days. Imagine the influx of Pak cricket tourism; more interestingly who would the locals support? 50:50 or 70:30 Pak. It's a mouth watering prospect. Games at Mohali, Kotla and one in Mumbai!

scorpicity said...

10 overs a side... hmm... gave me some fond memories of the good ol days... cheers

Naked Cricket said...

Welcome scorpicity!
Btw in the semis, one team got cleaned up in 8.5 overs. The stuff T20 teams are made of, eh?

scorpicity said...

absolutely... reminds me of those old street cricket games... slog away.

Have added you to my roll... cheers

Naked Cricket said...

cheers scorpicity! Will do so too, once blogrolls and rocks with me.