THE ENGLISH GAME! - (Chai, Biscuits & Blog.)
THE ENGLISH GAME!
Chennapatna, Ramnagara District, Karnataka, Thursday, 17th Day of September 1959.
Those twinkling eyes, were watching the game unfold, at a distance, that evening.
The game had its origins in India, over 2, 300 years ago. Played by striking a gilli that was tapered at both the ends, with a long wooden stick, it was called the Gillidanda.
As the sun set over the horizon, the boy had mastered the game.
A Few Good Men:
It was like any given Saturday, windy and cloudy at 19°C
A few good men trudged along towards their line of duty.
It certainly wasn’t Ocean’s Eleven, the game was loaded in favour of the opponent at the half way mark.
The man leading the team said, “Let’s go and enjoy the game.” “Jawano lado” (soldiers fight) humne 183 banaye hain, lekin inko banane hain. (in Hindi)
At a place situated 51.52° N, and 0.17° W the few good men made the impossible, possible.
The eleven were crowned as world champions. India had won the World Cup by beating the mighty West Indians.
Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj’s eleven had created history at Lord’s.
The Romans called it the 7th day before the kalends in the month of Juno. Call it celestial or call it magical, India was destined to create history. At a place situated 51.52° N, and 0.17° W India’s national cricket team led by Colonel C.K. Nayudu, was invited to play its first cricket test match against England at Lord’s. It was a Saturday, the 25th day of June 1932. Cricket no longer remained an English game, the Indians had announced their arrival.
The earliest allusion to cricket in India, is dated as early as 1721 at a place called Kutch, where English sailors of the East India Company played this game.
The seeds of the British Raj in India, were sown, ever since the East India Company arrived in India in 1608. Indians were subjected to oppression, slavery and un-told misery for more than 300 years. The Indians fought for a voice, fought for an identity, fought for its culture and heritage, fought for the feeling of oneness and certainly fought for its ultimate goal, freedom.
At the stroke of the midnight hour when India gained freedom on Friday, the 15th day of August 1947, the English people would have barely imagined that in a matter of a few years the Indians would beat them at their game.
As is often said, the game of cricket is a great leveller and the English were soon to realise this the hard way.
The Romans called it the 8th day before the Ides of Februa, the stars engineered a celestial conspiracy, dark clouds of gloom were hovering over England.
1.6 nautical miles, inland from the coast, in the city of Madras (now known as Chennai) is a legacy left behind by the British, Fort Saint George was soon to witness the defeat of its colonial masters.
The Indian eleven did not have a strategy in mind, all it had was the spirit to wage a fight, and an attitude to never give up or never give in.
While at play, news came in, King George VI the last emperor of India, had deceased.
It was Wednesday, the 6th day of February 1952. It was time to exact a pound of flesh at the Madras Cricket Club.
On the sacred ground of the Madras Cricket Club, quarter of an hour before tea time on the fourth day of the test match, Coimbatarao Doraikannu Gopinath caught Brian Statham to herald victory.
The Indian cricket team was captained by a simple & shy person, who was called by the name Vijay Samuel
His simplicity is reflected in his praise of his bowler who made it happen, by him saying
“It was Vinoo Mankad all the way".
Mulvantrai Himmatlal Mankad had accounted for twelve of the twenty English wickets by conceding 108 runs.
The Indians had decimated the English, in a matter of 4 years and 179 days since India’s Independence.
The Romans called it the 4th day before the Ides of Februa, it was Wednesday, the 10th day of February 1932.
The Indians had defeated the English on home soil, registering their first test win in the annals of cricket history.
The Last Frontier:
Julius Caesar was warned by a soothsayer, “Beware of the Ides of March.”
The Indian captain was asked to follow on by the Australian tugger, India was 274 runs away from levelling the score line. The Australian juggernaut was hurtling towards 17 victories on the trot. Stephen Roger Waugh was three days away from conquering the last frontier.
On day three of the test match India’s score line read 52 runs for the loss of one wicket.
The Indian captain sent VVS one down. As play progressed India was tottering at 232 runs for the loss of four wickets. The next batsman who walked in was woefully out of form.
The batsmen who came in one down proved the adage cometh the hour cometh the man, right. The out of form batsman was India’s knight in shining armour.
Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman and Rahul Sharad Dravid went on to play their greatest innings ever.
VVS made 281 runs and The Wall made 180 runs. The Australians were set a target of 384 runs in 75 overs on the last day of the test match.
On the fifth day, the tide had turned in India’s favour. India won the match by a margin of 171 runs.
The Australian tugger could not conquer the last frontier.
Kolkatta was well and truly, the city of joy.
As Stephen Roger Waugh was packing his bags and cricket gear for the day, a voice called out “Beware of the Ides of March”.
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly had stopped the winning streak of the Australians. The Seventeenth victory went in favour of the Indians. The Australian honeymoon was over.
It was Thursday, the 15th day of March 2001, The Ides of March.
Within Twenty-two Yards:
The Romans called it the 3rd day before the Ides in the month of Mensis Quintillis.
The Indian captain was left sulking in the dressing room, his uncle had left Lord’s in a huff, by saying India was sure to lose again. The Indians had collapsed against the English cricket team.
All was lost.
The last delivery of the twenty fourth over saw the fall of “The God of Cricket” leaving his fans disappointed.
His wicket was lost to Ashley Giles guile.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar walked back to the dressing room. India had moved from 105 runs for no loss to 146 runs for the loss of five wickets.
Nothing of significance had happened during the day over planet earth, and Mohammad Kaif arrived to console Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) who was left aghast at the other end of the wicket.
The two young blokes were determined to settle the score of salt and tax, that the English had usurped from the Indians. The boys had chosen Lord’s, to settle scores.
It was a duel under the sun, the pair engineered a partnership of 121 runs for the sixth wicket and took India to victory.
The Indian captain did not leave his seat on the Lord's balcony, nor did he allow any of his teammates to move from their positions, during the magnificent 121 runs stand, which ultimately made a big difference.
Visuals of the bare-chested Indian captain waving his shirt around on top of the Lord's balcony went viral.
It was a celebration, no one would ever forget and still remains etched in our memory.
The Indians captain’s act allegorically represented the angst the Indians had against the misrule of the British for more than 300 years on the people of the Indian sub-continent.
A man was waiting to express joy, it was the same person who had left Lords in a huff, he had returned to meet his nephew. It was late evening London time, Saturday the 13th day of July 2002.
Stumped & Stunned:
The Romans called it the 14th day before the Kalends in the month of mensis December.
Nine wickets were lost in about hundred minutes. The visitors score read 36 at the Oval in Adelaide. The Australians had won the battle on day three.
The Indian captain Virat Kohli and his team were ridiculed by a few English players, the foreign and the Indian press. It was Saturday, the 19th day of December 2020.
A change of guard in captaincy, brought in Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane as the captain of the Indian team.
The Boxing day test at Melbourne was the hundredth test between the two teams India and Australia.
India bounced back with the three D’s determination, dedication and discipline, and went on to win this test match and create history. Adversity brings out the best in man.
The Romans called it the 3rd day before the Ides in the month of Janus.
The essence and effervescence of a good cricket team is, teamwork. It was an epic fightback by the Indian cricket team at Sydney.
While Hanuma Vihari was plagued with a hamstring injury, Ravichandran Ashwin was tormented with a back injury. Despite this, the duo showed character and resilience. The pair were in a partnership stand of around 45 overs, against all odds, to survive on day five pitch, to keep the Australians at bay with a match saving effort to settle for a well - deserved draw. It was Monday the 11th day of January 2021.
The Romans called it the 14th day before the Kalends in the month of Janus.
It was toss time at the Gabba in Brisbane. The Indian bowlers had a combined total of only thirteen wickets between them. By the end of day four the five men army had added twenty Australian wickets to their combined kitty of wickets.
The English had introduced Bodyline bowling against the Australians in the 1932 – 33 test series.
It simply meant hurling the cricket ball not only at the leg stump but aiming it deliberately at the body of the batsman.
The ghost of bodyline was resurrected from the Ashes on the fifth day of the Gabba test.
The Australian bowling attack unleashed an absolute barrage of short balls aimed at Cheteshwar Pujara’s body. With hits on his head, the elbows, the hands, and ribs, in an epic innings of 211 deliveries.
Cheteshwar’s resilience, is all what an ultimate warrior is made of.
Rishabh Rajendra Pant played a crucial role as an anchor with an unbeaten 89.
Team India on a Tuesday, made the impossible, possible, as they became the first team to beat Australia in a Test match in Brisbane in thirty three years. It was the 19th day of January 2021.
Indian cricket continues to shine in all its glory.
Panchavati, Race Course Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka, January 19th 2021
The septuagenarian looked at the ornamented showcase. It contained a gilli with tapered ends and the long wooden danda. Wasn’t this the Gillidanda he enjoyed playing years ago?
He pondered, wasn’t cricket an English game? A game of the ball and the bat?
He smiled, he said to himself,
“The Indians were destined to master the game of cricket, after all, the Gillidanda retained the essence and effervescence of cricket.”
The septuagenarian eagerly awaited the arrival of the Heroes of Brisbane.
Shri Gurudeva Datta!
Chai, Biscuits & Blog.
Sunday, 9th day of May 2021
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