Cricket : A Gentelmens Game!

By: Abhishek Choudhari

CRICKET: THE GENTLEMEN'S GAME.

Cricket was invented in the vast fields of England, supposedly by sheperds who herded their flock.Later on this game was shown benovalency by aristrocrats, and now has the strature of being Englands national game. After a century now, cricket stands in the international arena, with a place of its own.

THE GAME

Cricket involves two teams with 11 players on each side. The captain who wins the toss decides whether his team bats or bowls first. If they bat first , their aim is to score a lot of runs and make sure the other team does not reach that score.

FORMATS OF THE GAME

Cricket is played in many formats , but the most popular are TEST CRICKET and ONE DAY cricket. In TEST cricket game goes on for 5 days, with each team batting twice - if time permits.

ONE DAY is the most popular format, with each team getting 300 balls to score runs. ANd the other team tries to outscore them within the same number of balls.

KEY PLAYERS

Three functions of the players are 1. BATSMEN, 2. BOWLING 3. FIELDING.

1. Batsmen - one who scores runs of the balls bowled by the bowler.

2. Bowler - One who bowls, and tries to get the batsmen "out"(dimissed from the ground).

3. Fielder - Players (10) who assist the bowler in achieving his goal, and prevent the batsmen from scoring runs.

BATSMEN

The game of cricket mainly revolves around batsmen. Crowds love the batsmen, especially when they wallop the ball all over the ground. Batsmen are the ones who whip up hysteria in the crowd, eveybody loves them, they are the Don Juans of the game.

Many batsmen are good, but only a few are great. Their style, their flair, talent is unique. To each his own - if I can quote this famous phrase.

From the numerous batsmen, from the 11 ICC (International Cricket Committee, London, UK) recognize , only a few achieve imortality. So what is the thing that seperates the boys from the men?

Many factors go in deciding, or rather making of a great batsmen. A natural talent is most definate, a good coach (Achrekar who coached Sachin Tendulkar), and obviously performing at the right time.

In my first article, Lets take a glimpse in the life and times of Sir Donald Bradman, the pioneer of batting flair.

SIR DONALD BRADMAN: THE AUSSIE ICON

Donald(Don) Bradman was born in 1908 in a small town, Bowral, (population 2000 people) near Sydney, Australia.

He started playing cricket seriously when he was in his teens, before that it was just another game. His favourite past time was hitting the golf ball with a cricket stump on to a tank. And this very "past-time" of his went a long way in improving his reflexes and co-ordinating his eye and hand movement.

Slowly with right breaks he got involved with playing cricket in school and local clubs, Scoring centuries (100 runs or more) with unfalliable regularity.

In 1920 he went with his father to see a test match at SCG (sydney cricket ground). After watching Charlie Mc Cartney score 170 runs , he said to his dad "I shall never be happy until I play on this ground."

Soon enough he recieved an invitation letter from the New South wales cricket association (NSW) to practise at SCG.

He joined the New South Wales Cricket Association, played for St.George and practised at SCG (Sydney cricket ground).

After a successfull season with St.George , he was selected to play for NSW state team. And in his very first shield game, his brilliance shown through, as he made a delightfull 118 at Adelaide.

Soon enough he was drafted into the national test team, for the home series against England. In his eight innings he scored 468 runs, with two centuries and two half centuries.

From hereon his career just soared like a bird with wings, as far as the human mind can imagine. Bradman, is the only one to hold the maximum number of records, although most of them have been surprassed as years went on.

He went on to become the greatest Test Batsmen the world has ever seen. With an almost unbreakable Batting average of 99.94 (means he score 99 runs everytime he went to bat), while today 50 is considered an excellent batting average.

The most historic moment in Don`s life as well as the game of cricket in itself, was the 1932 Bodyline series. England captain Douglas Jardine devised a method of bowling, so that the ball used to fly aound the batsmen's head.The bowler pitched the ball at a particular length so that the ball would rise upto the batsmen's head.

Australian batsmen were geting badly injured, and were unable to break the shackles. Jardine positioned upto seven players on the legside, close to the batsmen, to take the catch if the batsmen tried to fend off the ball.

Jardine did manage to keep Don down for the series. But as the series drew to an end, Don devised a plan to counter attack.

He would quickly move off to the leg side and hit the ball on the empty off side. When Jardine put fielders on the off side, Don hit the ball over the bowlers head with a horizontal bat.

A TV series called "Bodyline" was made on this infamous cricket tour.

Australia lost the series.

Don would have his revenge a couple of years later, when the Aussies went to England in 1930 for a 4 test series. This time Don was the captain, he called the shots.

He proved to be a nightmare for the English bowlers, as he scored 974 runs in 8 innings.He mesmerised the English fans with his mastery with the willow, and returned to Australia as a super-star, a demi-god.

A strature that he will maintain till today. Sir Donald Bradman is the only Australian to be knighted for his contribution to cricket.

Don Bradman is a legend, one whose name with Test cricket will be synonymous. His legend has been etched in the annals of cricket history in gold, forever.

Sir Donald Bradman, still continues his off the field innings, living a quiet life. He was always known for his gentlemanly behaviour, and courteous diposition.

He is one of a kind, and very few will ever match up to his talent. Thank you,sir, for your gift to cricket.

*** Sir Donald Bradman died on the night of February 25'th in his residence at Keningston, Adelaide. He was 92, unfortunately this great Batsman missed another century. But he has scored with the fans, and will be remembered for centuries to come.

Sir Don, may you rest in peace.

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