Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Kissa Cricket Ka Part IV

While Gully Cricket awaits ICC approval (hey, the same number of people watch Gully Cricket as do Ranji), there is another form of cricket which has long gone unacknowledged. But perhaps that is fitting, since the main purpose of Book Cricket was to entertain students who had to sit through boring classes, while still looking as “study” to watchful teachers (Underground Cricket, if you will).

For those who don’t know, the rules and format are pretty simple. Take any book, the bigger the better (though smaller books had their own advantages. Read on). The “batsman” will open the book to a random page, and the “score” is based on the LSD of the even page number. 2, 4 and 6 are self-explanatory. 0 is “out” (no dot-balls allowed). 8 had many interpretations, from 8 runs for general players, to a single or no-run for seasoned veterans. Given the running between the wickets of Indian batsmen in that time, we didn’t need anything for 3 runs.

The zero-preparation and easy format allowed matches of all flavour (from ODI to Test to OPI – One Period International), played between bench-mates, or between benches. And as in the normal form of game, heroes (and some villains) emerged. Some “players” had such absolute run of luck that they were responsible for making some of our friends' loss of faith in so-called Probability, while others tried to restore that belief and the "cosmic balance".

And then, there were those who could emulate Bradman by getting exact score they wanted, with a skill which would impress even the best card-sharps in town. (You see kids, getting to know your text-books better is good for you). I can tell you some tales of a well-thumbed mathematics book (what? I like Maths. Anybody got problem with that?), with page number 10… well, let’s wait for those anti-match-fixing guys to go out of earshot, shall we?

The epic battles which raged in class included some ultra-low scores, with some runs thrown in between a string of 0's to avoid suspicion, and/or soothe our conscious. They also included some extra-high scores, particularly one innings, where the luck favoured us so much that the opening batsmen had scored more individually than Kambli-Tendulkar pair in their record partnership, before the bell rang. Before that, the opposing team had collapsed to a measly 17/10.

Thus, Book Cricket (along with pencil-football, and a form of pencil-battle), carried us across many a school days, while our teachers tried to make us understand that “energy crisis is over” or something like that. For those who haven’t played it yet, you can’t compare a well-played game of Book Cricket. Go open your books and start scoring.

And what reminded me of these happy times today? This match came straight out of BC, played on “home ground”, by people who were feeling particularly vicious about one team in the game.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

P.S. Click here for parts I, II and III in the series.


SiD said...

hahha... that was one hell of a form of cricket..
we used to have teams of 11 players... list it down on the paper with names and all.. opening : sidhu, sachin.azhar. jadeja etc.. and then play... the biggest tension was not the Homework that need to be submitted but that Sachin shud get a century... and it is only in this form that Srinaths and Venkatesh Prasads cud hit century..( a dream for any team if tail enders can hit it out)

Amey said...

@Sid: The team order would be copied from the latest match. The only difference being, since anybody could hit a ton and anybody could get out for a duck, everybody was a pinch-hitter and a night watchman rolled into one ;) As for Sachin's century, that's where the "specialist batsmen" came into picture.

I knew you would be one of the firsts to comment on this post.