July 08, 2008



How to rekindle an old flame

You are not Zimbabwe.

You can play.

You are not Pakistan.

Ask them, they will play with you.

You don’t have to watch back to back one day games, broken players, dead wickets, idiot bowlers, foolish fielders, crowdless games.

You can play.

If you don’t have a bat, beg, borrow, steal. Maybe even buy one.

Not the heaviest or the lightest, or the costliest or the cheapest, but a bat with a reason.

Maybe it’s a faux Sachin bat, with the MRF logo, and the Tendulkar scribble signature.

Maybe it’s heavier than bats are supposed to be.

Maybe you’ll play long enough to pick up one of Tendu’s ailments.

Maybe you’ll feel a connect every time you lift the bat, drive straight or snick one to slips.

Even if there are no slips. You know where they stand.

So, what are you waiting for – an IMF funding, buy the bat. Buy them Cosco balls.

Walk out of the store as if you were opening the batting. Expect people to stare, applaud, buy more bats, create a chain reaction.

Run windmills with the bat. Feel the distance between cricket politics and you increase – to an eternity.

Feel, if you want to play, nobody can stop you. You are not Zimbabwe. You are not Pakistan.

All you need is someone to bowl, someone to bowl to. Cars, walls, evening walkers to field. A driveway or a road. The cranky old black gate. Streaking bikes.

You can play anybody. A chauffer who looks like Chanderpaul, a neighbour who looks like Nasser Hussein, a kid who looks like the nephew. Even the niece.

Because, like Zimbabwe, if the folks let them be, everybody just wants to play.

Because, like Pakistan, even if the roads are unsafe, everybody wants to play.

Because there are no lawns left to play. And there are no safe places left to play.

On Earth, or in the neighbourhood.

And go on, sing Cat Stevens aloud, “where do the children play?”

But before you get too caught up in muddled thought, play.

Play it again, Shyam. Play it again, maan. Play it again.

Play till your t shirt is heavier than your bat. Play till the bat grip is sweatier than your t.

Play till you knock something, and you half expect a grown up to yell, like you were a kid.

Play till you forget what cricket has become.

32 comments:

vmminerva said...

Brilliant write up!

Q said...

What a beauty NC, what a beauty!

Pure mix of emotions and the high ;-)

Naked Cricket said...

Thanks a bunch vmminerva!

Naked Cricket said...

Q - very uncanny - i wrote this as a continuation of the previous piece earlier today, and then, i read your comment about watching, writing and playing cricket. It's therapeutic as hell. Next cricket yoga.

Q said...

Cricket Yoga? Sounds interesting NC... Can we rope in Shilpa Shetty for it? ;-)

Trideep said...

Amazing write NC.

Straight Point said...

nice to see your 'cracking' form back...

yes i play with balls sometimes ;-))

Naked Cricket said...

Thanks a bunch trideep!

Q - am against tying anyone down.

Naked Cricket said...

cheers SP! and for complete empowerment, balls to everyone

Q said...

Whose talking abt tying down NC ;-)

Wasim said...

You have really rekindled the spirit.

Naked Cricket said...

cheers wasim! The spirit should always be willing...

Wasim said...

SP, are you expert at ball tempering :-)

Straight Point said...

how did you know wasim? ;-))

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Had all but forgotten ...Quite awesome writing , G , Quite awesome !Super....

John said...

Oh man!! What a write! I'm going to get that bat from under the bed.

Naked Cricket said...

B - get back, get back 2 knock A Jadeja over.

Naked Cricket said...

Cheers John! Sounds like a splendid idea ol' chap.

UTP said...

cricket...has... become something that is not cricket... i dunno what?

Neno Cricket said...

Cricket BABA ! :)

cheers !

Neno Cricket said...

added you in my blogroll...

keep visiting my blog...

Naked Cricket said...

utp - cricket comes around, so will you. cheers.

Naked Cricket said...

you're on neno

Soulberry said...

Damn! You make me want to play again! maybe this evening...in the rain...with chappals and a cosco and a shirt wet and plastered...yes, I think I'll go out today and hit a Sehwag into the lovely young lady's window three floors above at the point boundary of my cricketing space.

Lovely way to begin the day with this read. (applause)

Jrod said...

Talking about Zimbabwe and Pakistan...

Do you like to fight injustice?

Yes, that is truly an exceptional quality you have.

Please sign the Save our Bill Lawry petition to keep the Corporate vultures from ending the career of our favourite excitable one.

Think of the children.

Naked Cricket said...

way to go sb, but what will make u write again? cheers!

Naked Cricket said...

jrod, i signed up many moons ago

scorpicity said...

ah.. finally a post and it echoes my sentiments... marry me nC..lol

allpaddedup.com said...

brilliant write up mate! just enjoyed reading it...

Naked Cricket said...

scorpi, that'll be a m of inconvenience - like the england xi.

Naked Cricket said...

Glad you did, cheers APU!

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