destination india

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

blast for the blasters

We have heard of rockets blasting off from NASA airbases – journey to distant planets presupposes that the rocket carrying the payload of the spaceship will blast off immediately on completion of the count down. We have seen such jubilant scenes enacted in India also when our own rockets blasted off from coastal venues in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. However, when the rocket refuses to blast, it becomes a ballast weight – useful only to keep high flyers anchored down!!

Similar is the scenario in cricket.

When our favorite blasters fail to blast off, it spells miseries for hundreds and thousands of addicts – yours truly included. No amount of healthy tonics or planned diets can boost their energy levels – hence, mountain treks with kids in tow fail to create any impression on the viewer. Dwelling on the virtues of ayurvedic potions containing gold and silver to prove one-upmanship appear to be drab and lack charm. Ointments that guarantee immediate relief from pains fail to drive home the point since the individual himself is always prone to falling in the clutches of that devil called ‘accidents’ – one day it is a twisted ankle, next day it is a muscle pull or dislocation of some organ or another. It has to be remembered that legends remain legends as long as they can boast of differences that one can normally perceive.

Cricket is a game of fools – this observation is not mine but borrowed from what I had read way back in the fifties!! It was written that ‘cricket is a game in which one fool throws the ball, one fool hits the ball, ten fools chase the ball and hundreds of fools watch the ball’. Those more knowledgeable than me can certainly clarify who the author of this piece is. In today’s scenario, some more line needs to be added – ‘and millions of fools conduct research on the ball as to why it has lost its shape or why its seam should face in a certain direction or how it should be polished to retain its spinning characteristics’.

Apart from the ball, the leg also plays a major role in any cricket game.

There is a square leg, a fine leg, a long leg, a deep fine leg. And then there is the leg slip, leg gully and the leg glance. Of course, the most terrible of the legs is the ‘leg before wicket’. As it is, the batsman’s complete body is before the wicket – but, the reason as to why only the leg is singled out for unfair treatment needs to be studied. In fact, this single subject has spawned a large number of cricket accessories like stump cameras, third umpires, animation sequences of how the ball traveled, how the leg did not respond etc..

Thanks to TV, we have discovered that cricket is not only about legs but about balls as well. It certainly is an educative medium. Yes – it has helped all of us to acquire more knowledge. Unfortunately, they are still not able to predict as to which opening combination will click. Or whether our lovable cricket heroes have switched their preferences to roasted chicken legs rather than long legs and square legs.


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