Afternoon roar – The Twinkle says it all….

Around 3.30ish every afternoon, I struggle to put my head through the narrow grills of my window. Staying on the sixth floor has its own perks. One of them is an aerial view of a gully (small lane) next to our apartment. A battalion of ten to fourteen year old Tendulkars, Sehwags, Gambhirs along with two Zaheers and a Bhaji line up. Their specialty is the 20-20 format of the game. The warm up consists of roughly twenty minutes, where each one is craving for attention to showcase their idol inspired style. The pitch is hard. Trees and sticks demarcate fours and sixers. There are fielders everywhere; some of the older ones double up as referees. After much debating and arguments, the toss happens, the field is set and the batsmen and fielders take their respective places. The next two hours unveil the most passionate, enthusiastic, fanatical, chaotic, untamed version of the gentleman’s game.

The kids are over powered by their fervor and zeal to recreate their idol’s perfect strokes. These young batsmen have developed their own style of walking towards the crease. Some run towards the crease, some rotate their shoulder, some wave in the air with their broken bats taped with cinema posters or tied horizontally with a rope, some say a prayer. The bowlers too come with their own rituals. The senior ones rub their hands on the ground. These young kids have already mastered the art of giving importance to cricket and player persona. As the game progresses, appeals and arguments of no ball, being stumped, leg before wicket echo through out the neighbourhood.

Amidst all the energy, the chaos, the tension, the wickets, the master strokes, a ten/twelve year old managed to catch my attention. He is a batsman who falls at number three. Dark, lanky built with a headband and glasses. He walks towards the crease, concentrating on the trip of his bat. Settles down at his place and you can’t miss the remarkable twinkle in his eyes. The twinkle in his eyes sets the mood for a magical onslaught from his bat. His tamed strokes end up as fours and sixers. The bowler can be heard mumbling. Seeing this incredible young talent I couldn’t help thinking of Tendulkar’s twinkle in his eye every time he steps on the crease.

I am an ardent follower of cricket actually truth be told, I am fanatical about the game. Tendulkar’s twinkle in his eyes, Zaheer’s roar when he bowls, Sehwag’s love affair with his bat, Dravid’s persona dubbed as the wall, Dhoni is captain cool is what turns them into champions. I have never seen the Tendulkar twinkle in anyone’s eyes till date but this kid came remarkably close. He got run out in this game but the twinkle remains deeply embedded in his eyes. I hope that his love for the game takes him places and gets him a blue jersey in the future.

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    • Duncan Alexander Russell
    • December 6th, 2009

    A most enjoyable read. A fellow admirer of literary journalism, by any chance?

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