Thursday, May 10

The game ends with it, and you think if your Cricket has, as well!

Arjun comes home with a second hand, worn out cricket kit in his hands. His dad, a rickshaw driver, is although poor but has his ethics right, slaps him and asks, 'Kisse chori kiya he?' With tears, he tells him how the neighborhood rich guy Kishan has given it to him on loan on a condition that he would have to bowl to him every Sunday. Kishan loves to bat and there is no way he is going to miss this opportunity, while Arjun has no problems; he loves bowling, he loves cricket, he wants to be a cricketer.
He had seen many fights between his parents regarding his future. A normal fight would go like this-
'Hamare bache keerket nahi khelte, ameero ka khel he ye, tum usko samjhado nahi to hum uske taange tod denge. Phir dekhte he kaha se bhaagega'. Maa just weeps. She knows how much her son loves the game, but she knows there are certain things that are just out of their poor hands.

Twelve years later; his Dad still drives a rickshaw and he still bowls to Kishan. Kishan however has become a great friend of his by now. They both joined the Cricket Learning Academy together, sponsored by Kishan’s dad. They both have represented their school and college in their respective cricket teams. Arjun is a phenomenal pace bowler now. Some say, he with his wide range of variations, can deceive even the best players from the country. He received the West Bengal Player of the Award last year. He is sure he'd get a chance by now in the national team.

Then comes the IDL, Indian Delusional League, the league that is going to change Indian Cricket forever, and since the Board of Control of Delusion in India has so much money such great influence over the International Delusion Council, this league promises to be much more. The concept is exactly something similar to the football leagues all around the world.

Teams are sold. Bollywood biggies are purchasing one team, corporate biggies are purchasing another. Fancy names are chosen, media campaigns are launched, and music videos are released. It’s a rat race where everyone is trying to capture the fan market. First mover advantage, Cournet model, all the Economics you learnt in your higher secondary classes can be seen practically live here. The players are auctioned; transactions worth crores happen during the auctions, and the cricket pundits say they're normal. Because they happen in football and baseball as well? Schedules are printed and distributed to Paan waalas and Chaai waalas to distribute them further to an average cricket fan. A weak amount of hype is created for the awesome cricket-greats from different nationalities will come together in the teams, the Indian young guns will learn a lot from the Legends from all over the world-awesome cricket to be played and a huge amount for the Bollywood stars and how the cheerleaders dancing in miniskirts will ruin the Indian Culture. You wonder if your culture is that fragile. A player who could never score a fifty for his national team gets sold for a whooping 12 crores, while the player who scored three triple hundreds in his First Class career remains unsold. You wonder if this is about the gentlemen’s game anymore.

Amidst all this, Arjun has also been selected in one of the teams for an amount enough to get rid of his dad’s auto rickshaw and get him a decent car. There are many such Arjuns in this league; they show it in the first clip that is played when Extra Innings begins. The clip ends with a pre-recorded sound of claps playing in the background. The camera zooms over artistically on the faces present in the studio. The host of the show looks familiar. He introduces himself and you remember; he was a daily soap actor once, and then a chat show anchor. There are two other people present in the studio, you know them, they are former Indian cricket players, one was held responsible for match fixing and got his whole career banned, and other was held responsible for pissing off people with his unnecessary dialogues and unstoppable laughter. Imagine them giving lectures on Fair Play and controlled emotions on the field. Imagine them telling us what is right for the game. If Cricket was a girl, she would be humiliated. She’d want to escape. And after struggling with these people for an hour, she finally succeeds in escaping.

Before the first bowl is bowled, a question comes to your mind; you ask yourself if they have changed some more rules-maybe now they would give every batsman a 2 minutes break when he is not able to hit a boundary, so that he gets himself and his thoughts about life together. Just then you hear the grumpy voice of Ravi Khatri, 'Welcome to the first innings of IDL, oh my bad, the DLFO IDL, the score of the batting team is zero for zero, the run rate of the team is zero, which I think is not a very good start, both the batsmen will be looking to improve that!’

The game somehow progresses to fifteen overs, the commentators have changed now, and so has their styles. The first fellow Martin, asks the other, ‘Where is the best massage parlor in the city?’ the other one Sammy Morrison says, ‘See, what I can do with my eyes, see, can you do this? Heinh mate?’ Their discussion is halted when a wicket falls ‘Oh while we were discussing so many important things, a silly wicket has fallen, the batsman tried to hit the ball for a DLFO maximum but couldn’t connect properly, he wished it would go for a Luminouso minimum, but the fielder at the boundary took a spectacular Karbanno Kamaal. It’s 113 for 3.’ You go to Facebook and change your status to ‘I miss the times when six was called six and not DLFO maximum….has ruined the whole cricket.’ You get many likes. You wonder if this is the only good thing coming out of this IDL.

The first innings gets over, the batting team scores 186, there is a break for 15 minutes before the start of second innings and you wonder what they’d do now. A co-host who is at the stadium with a mic in his hand [they’re doing so many crazy things that you’ve to now describe ‘mic in the hand’ you never know] greets your television room with a smile. He starts, ‘We have with us Arjun, and so tell us Arjun how do you think you guys have bowled?’ Arjun has bowled an impressive spell in this innings. He took 4 wickets for just 28. He stammers and starts off in Hindi hoping the co-host will get a clue to carry on in Hindi, ‘Acha kiya humne, hume lag raha he hum itne runs bana lenge!’, the co-host throws his next question, ‘So, playing on the home ground, how do you think the atmosphere is?’Arjun doesn’t understand the question properly, he comprehends and says, ‘Atmosphere badiya he, baarish nahi aaye bas aaj!’ The host laughs as if his mission is accomplished. Arjun is left humiliated, there’s nothing he can do. If they had told him that he’d need practice on his English first and then on his bowling skills he would have done it. But no one said so. The co-host says, 'Back to the studio!' and you think, 'oh, some drama still left!'

The camera zooms in and the host starts off again with his repetitive lines. Some more people have joined in to discuss the Cricket. The host asks them, 'So, what is the story of your movie, Dangerous Ishq?' 'Oh, I can’t tell you this, you'll have to watch the movie for that; it's basically a story of....' You can't take it anymore. You change the channel to a prominent news channel. The bottom bar reads, 'BREAKING NEWS: Kalkata has made 186' and you ask yourself how exactly is this breaking news. Do the country of 120 billion people has nothing to talk about expect for this ridiculous IDL? It breaks your hearts to see the sad state of the whole country. You change to some other channel. It gets more interesting now. They have a slot dedicated to IDL. The news anchor discusses cricket with the guests-either retired cricketers who never got enough footage or normal human beings as if it's the nuclear deal. You change back to the live action.

The second innings begins; the two batsmen destroy the opposition bowling in the first few overs. Continuing the momentum they try to sneak a risky single and the fielder’s throw hits the stumps. The giant screen shows ‘Decision Pending’ and you are shown the clip. It’s a pretty close one. ‘This is very close; you can’t understand anything from this. You need a SlowMo camera for this. I think the benefit of the doubt will go to the batsmen. By the way, Martin did you notice how I changed slow motion to SlowMo’, the commentator passes his judgment. The batsman is given a not out, due to the lack of slow motion camera. Lack of technology you think? The game normally progresses and they show you the ultra slow motion footage of Cheerleads dancing, their thighs, their chest, their face, and their expressions, everything beautifully captured with the slow motion cameras. The batting team hits 45 runs in the last over to win the game.

The game ends with it, and you think if Cricket has as well!


Inspired by- Just another IPL post by Debajyoti Ghosh. 

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