Playing Cricket After Four Years

Somehow, I managed to find an organized group of South Asians who regularly play cricket in New York City. And last week, after much anticipation and delay, I plucked up the courage to join this happy band. A quick review of the experience:

1) I can see why spreading cricket around the world is so difficult. We used garbage cans for stumps; we had at least two uncomfortable conversations with basketball players and picnicking parents (our ‘field’ was a NYC basketball/tennis court); and we had fences for our boundaries (which led to one lost ball).

2) Cricket is also a very, very difficult sport. We are a bunch of amateurs, which means every other delivery was either wide, a no-ball or absolutely horrible. (If I’m being truthful, I have to confess I bowled four wides in one over — an experience that made me empathize with Ishant Sharma.) I appreciate athletes playing at the highest stage more than ever.

3) Feminists talk about the ‘male gaze,’ but for a budding cricketer, there’s little more withering than the ‘fielder’s gaze.’ When you bowl badly, you feel everyone on your team looking at you and thinking, “What are you doing, mate?” Especially if you have, as I did, some over-eager captains who acted as if they were in a World Cup final, setting fields and saying things like, “Come on boys, keep the pressure up!” Er, sure. But it must be truly embarrassing for bowlers who fail to attack according to fields.

4) One last thing: is cricket more fun to watch than to play? This is a tough one, but after Sunday, I think I have to say ‘yes.’ Don’t get me wrong; I had a blast, but: if you’re not batting or bowling, you’re fielding. And fielding sucks — balls often don’t come to you, and when they do, the experience lasts about 30 seconds. And without a big scorecard, it’s not easy to keep the match situation in mind — you have no idea where your team is, what’s the target, etc.

But don’t worry: I’ll be there next Sunday.

4 thoughts on “Playing Cricket After Four Years

  1. Russ says:

    DB, fielding is interesting in proportion to the effort you put in. A bit like football/hockey. There are 10 other people on your team, if you stand still and wait for the ball to come to you you’ll spend 1/10th of the time doing something (probably a lot less). But like other ball games, there are always other roles: backing the fielder, taking or backing up the stumps for a throw. If you run around getting to where the ball might go, and calling for the ball (even just to relay it to the bowler) you’ll be involved regularly. Remember: What Would Jonty Do?

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Sorry, Russ, this advice may work for a club/professional athlete, but I doubt it in my context. I was placed on the on-side for most of the afternoon, and while I did run a fair bit, I also had to watch balls sail to the off-side and straight far more often.

  2. Prateek says:

    where are you playing. Would love to join this weekend. Been craving cricket for a while. ?

  3. there is much more fun in playing cricket than watching if you are an all-rounder.

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