CRICKET AND LIFE- THAT LAST OVER
It was the last over of the match, the opposition needed 9 runs of 6 balls. The first ball I bowled went swiftly past the batsman into the hands of the keeper. I was quite exhausted and tired, sweat was oozing out of my body and my t-shirt was clogged. The last match was equally tiring, though I had gone wicket less but had a good economy rate. We had lost the match and we needed to win this one, to save some honour. Exhausted and tired physically and pressure mounted on my head, I kept reminding myself, I needed to bowl five more balls, fast and swift, that would chuck the batsman. I took another run up and bowled a fast low full toss, the batsman played it towards leg side and took two runs. Now the equation was 7 runs needed out of 4 balls. Quite possible for them and quite possible for me to pull a victory, the dangerous batsman who had made 24 runs in the last match was fielding at mid on, he had hit us for 3 long sixes in the previous match. Even in this match, he wreaked havoc for a while but perhaps a ball of mine bowled with pace beat him as he charged forward to hit the ball, it went through the gap between his bat and legs hitting the stumps. I didn’t celebrate, I just got a sense of relief, now that he was out, We can win this match was what I thought. I got ready to ball my third ball of the last over, I ran fast with all my might and again delivered a low full toss towards the leg side. He pushed it towards long on and ran for a single. Now the equation, was six runs from three balls. Cricket was my love from teen days, a sport I used to play regularly everyday without a miss. Though short in height, I always thought of myself as an excellent bowler and I actually was, my friends used to say. I took a lot of passion in bowling, learning the craft on the ground, I got ready to bowl the fourth ball of the last over, I ran fast with all my might and exerting force through my shoulders released the ball with all my strength, the ball went through the batsman with a fiery speed tilting the off stump, bold, it was a perfect yorker. I got my second wicket and we were just one wicket and two deliveries far from victory, they needed six runs from two balls. I was always an ardent follower of cricket, someone who shed tears when India lost the world cup in 2003, Someone who danced with his friends when India won the world cup in 2011 but like every love, this too became a thing of past. From a full time passion, it became a part time hobby. The new batsman took guard and as I got ready for my next delivery, Ankit came to me and advised me to keep the ball towards the off, as the batsman on the crease rarely hit the ball towards the off, now Ankit was the Glenn McGrath of our team. Someone who had full control on the line and length he bowled, he took four wickets in the last match, but I was not him, I couldn’t control the deliveries I bowled. I was quite famished by now, I was perspiring and my body was shaking sending shivers, it was my 7th over that evening and i had pushed myself to extreme that day. Just two balls more and the ordeal would be over, I thought. I ran with my left out strength and bowled the last second ball, the ball went slow, a slow short mid pitch delivery, the batsman wacked it towards leg side for a huge six. The match was over, the winning team were joyful on their last moment victory. I was too tired to express grief, the batsman climbed on me and lifted me up to tease me, at the end of the day we were all friends. Though as few minutes passed by and my heart beat became normal, the loss did affect me for a while as the losses I had all through the years be it on ground or life itself flooded my mind. May be I wasn’t that match fit to pull off another yorker, I was 25, in the prime of my youth but the stamina and endurance of my teens was lost. The injuries that happened all through my life while playing, those fights in schools and colleges, the beatings I got and those multiple road accidents that happened might have weakened my body. As always I pushed aside all this thoughts, at the end of the day I was quite happy to play, to bring back those playful days of school and college is a joy in itself. You win some matches, you lose some. Isn’t life the same….