I was once a great cricket enthusiast. My enthusiasm did not wane even when Pankaj Roy, the opener, was caught by wicket keeper Alexander on the first ball of Wesley Hall time and again, or when Bapu Nadkarni bowling 25 overs (out of which 23 were maidens) giving three runs and taking no wicket was a regular feature of the game. Most of the 5-day test matches ended in a draw. But the game was never boring. There were local cheerleaders, loud ones at that. Though the match would start at ten, we would assemble at the ground by eight in the morning, with our lunch boxes filled with paratha/achar and plenty of drinking water in ‘matkas’ and ‘surahis’. Beer was still not the in-thing for students. Of course, the two most attractive things were Rs 5 season ticket for students and six days official ‘off ‘ from school. Both impossible deals these days! We used to have our favourite cricketers. When they performed well, we celebrated, and we did not burn their effigies when they failed.
Now we play instant cricket. The pressure on the field is intense. It is fiercely competitive world. Often, the players are guided by things, more than passion. Both powerful hits and fiery bowling demand precision and grace. Cricket is all about certain restraint and discipline. Cricket is a gentleman’s game.
Dada, the interpreter of dreams,
a great cricket enthusiast was shocked to find empty Green Park stadium, in one of his dreams.
No long queues, the colour ‘white’ missing, a few ‘black’ heads could be seen, in a day-and-night limited-over match.
No second innings; no second chance; do or die, next man is waiting.
In the show of assertion, Dada wonders, how ‘ungentle’ should one become.
Not the boards, not the chiefs, not the bookies, only the lovers of the game can stop the menace on the ground.
In an empty Green Park, perhaps, Dada found the answer to halt the damage to gentleman’s game.