It’s that day of the week for which every cricket loving young Indian boy, not to exaggerate, literally live their life for, Sunday! As always the only thing we want to compulsorily do is to play Cricket. We had discussed yesterday evening to reach Maidan on time, however, everyone knows there are few mavericks, no matter how many huddles we do, they won’t appear on time. We had taken best of three, six over per side matches with (naive mistake of using with rather than against) our regular opponent.
Playing Cricket on Maidans is not as simple as it looks, starting from the critical selection process to the batting order, everything (almost everything) has a scope for debate. It is also the hot favorite topic for discussion that evening and the next Saturday until the new Sunday’s achievements and mistakes come up.
Since Cricket from Maidans is mostly a very short affair of around four to six overs per side compared to actual internationals which either has 50 overs, 20 overs or the five-day Test Matches. You have to get going from ball one, lack of pavilion or space for the batting team makes thing noisier for the batsmen on the crease since all your team-mates stand beside the leg umpire and you get a lot of required/unnecessary inputs from them.
The ball used is depended on the size of the ground. If we are playing on a big ground, we go for Tennis ball which is the most popular form of cricket played in most of the Maidans of Mumbai. If it is played between the spaces of parallel buildings, a good-shot ball is used in the best interest of uncles, aunties and their home windows, more importantly for the safety of everyone. In rain, red or white rubber balls are used since they carry well even if it’s very muddy.
Potential at the exhibition
Although this form of Cricket doesn’t yield anything significant monetarily, in fact, most of the times, you have to contribute to play tournaments, to buy the bat, to maintain the wicket (pitch) but these aspects don’t stop anyone from doing their best on the field. To be honest, Maidans will give you bowlers who can bowl longer and consistent line & length spells than few of the best international bowlers we have, batsmen whose Technic will give run for the money to good international players and fielders who will give everything to take the catch and save runs without bothering about the field which is filled with red soil and rocks in equal proportion.
Batting Team umpire sometimes a hurdle in completing the Match –
Yeah! Matches do get abandoned due to various reason in Maidans, one of them being umpire from the batting Team. The close run-outs and nicks are the most controversial things occur on the field. It sometimes gets extremely heated that the only option left is to draw the game and have bitterness until next one week, however, the good part is everyone gathers coming Sunday again and we start playing with & against each-other forgetting what happened last week.
The Caretakers –
Nimbu-Paani and Poha are our go-to refreshments in Maidan. Sarbatwaala, the person making Vada-Pav on the small wooden stall, and the Mavshi who brings Poha are the people everyone run towards whenever we feel hungry or weary. They don’t even bother asking for money when we are busy with the game.
Someone fielding at long-on for the opposite side of the ground facing you at cover will clap for a drive you executed effortlessly or say “Well Bowled, Well Bowled” if you have beaten the batsman, they may not necessarily know you however whenever anything worth appreciating happens boys don’t leave a chance to acknowledge it…
Match going down to the wire –
The series was well poised at 1 all, in the final match we needed seven runs from three balls with only one wicket in hand. Our well-set batsman was on non-strike, at the striker end the batsmen was not someone who would come with us to play regularly, he had only came today by force. He was struggling to get bat on ball, everyone went up to him and asked somehow to connect the ball with bat or body and get off the strike and he successfully did that. Now 6 needed off 2, our set batsman was on strike, he hit the next ball in the air and thankfully it landed safely, by the time fielder collect and threw, they had run two.
Four needed of one delivery, keeper adjusted the field a bit. Bowler took his run up slowly thinking where to pitch the ball, he lands the ball at good length area, batsmen mistimes it however to our luck ball just passed the bowler from his right and by the time it reached long on they had already on their way to the second run. But two wasn’t enough, the flat throw came from long-on and it felt we will fall one run short however ball just bounced in front of bowler and went above his head, fielder from cover was already backing up but ball bounced once again before reaching him in the area which was slightly uneven and to our cheer it deviated from him and they ran another run to tie the game and everyone from our side sprinted towards both the batsmen in delight.
Not only in Maidans, we will keep playing cricket in smallest of streets and will always remain innocent nuisance to the residents. This game will remain the biggest source of joy for the people like us.
It will add to the blog if you want to put down your own Cricket from Maidan moments below in the comment field.