Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Alas ....Change....... has indeed come to cricket :-(
On the fateful day of March 3rd 2009 CHANGE has come to cricket. And How ? The games environment , ecosystem , fans , players , participants , officials , organisers , government and Nations will see and experience the game under a unprecedented shadow, A shadow that every one forever would hate but cannot ignore. A shadow of fear .
Those were those day days when the batsmen from the subcontinent feared facing the white lightning Geff Thompson or a Dennis Lillie. Those were the times when the feared quartet from the Islands in the west terrorised the tailenders with the smell of the leather. Times when shiney cheery grazed passed the nose or whizzed past the ear with beads of chilly sweat trickling down the batsmens temples. Batsmen after batsmen taking body blows or getting floored on the pitch. A sporting delight indeed for the craft of bowling or the adudacity of the bloke who weilded the willow with panache or defended with stout thud allowing the ball to meekly roll over to silly point.
An era when Douglas Jardine and the Bodyline sensationalised the 5 day game played between 22 gentlemen.
Cut to March 3rd 2009 at the bustling city of Lahore in an expectant morning . A testmatch underway with the story being built halfway. And then ..
Hell Breaks Loose ! Bullets whizing past unprotected , unassuming cricketers with a spring in their feet awaiting a keen days contest. The Lions from Emerald Isles fall like nine pins to brace for their lifes. Smell of Gun Powder hangs on the Air stranded outside the Gaddafi Stadium.Some of the resemblences of the shouts of go, go ,go ,go ..and no they arent calling to steal a third run for the throw from the deep. This is a go , go , go , go call to save their skins , an instincive urge to survive . No cherries here today morning but Sharpnel , Bullets and Granades. A 25 minute ordeal that only the battle scared lion hearts from the embattled Island could have come through. Gaddafi Stadiun a witness to a shameful act of cowardise outside its premises. A Nation so rich of some of the greatest cricketers to have played the game in the sporting cauldron of the Gadaffi Greens. Now a Nation and its heros hang their heads in unimaginable shame, A shame so depressing and bereft of hope. A shame which they have nothing to with ! A tragedy for the heros and for the hosts of the land of the Sultans of Reverse Swing and the Inventors of Doosra. A possibility that there wont be any rails for the Rawalpindi Express to run on :-( Change has come to cricket in Pakistan and Cricket Around the world.
Gone are those days when the partons would beeline from the wee hours to endure the blistering sun and the soaring mercury. All they cared for was to see first hand if a Vengsarkar cover drive at Wankhade was better than the one played with a resounding thud by Sir Viv Richards at Kotla. To sense the hum grow to a rapturous roar at chepauk when Krish Srikkant hooks the second ball of the opening over from the great Imran soaring over fine leg stands. The Buzz in the grounds after watching a patient Sidhu compile a painstaking 20 over the last hour and a half when Alla Border toses the ball to a naughty Greg Mathew to bowlwith the baggy green perched on this wild hair. And then the Iyer and Iyengars are on their feet as they have just witnessed a tiped Sidhu turn into a roaring lion dancing on his feet carting the first ball tossed at the Sardar depositing the ball in to the stands at the Walaja Road end.
A sleepy Lal Bhadur stadiun coming to life after consequtive boundries scored from Azzus Blade. One a deft flick played standing tall in the toes with the tounge bitten between the jagged tooth and the ball purring along the greens to ropes. The second a delightful square cut emerging from the sublime wrists send the cheery to the point fence like a tracer bullet.
Now Imagine soaking your self in such spectacle devoid of even an ounce of fear of the ball landing on your lap in the stands. The days ahead will be reminding you of terror from the time you secure a season ticket or a pass to a game. Right from Mommy home to the frisking at the entrance to the ever looming possiblity of a terror attack any time any where..the shadow of fear will certianly come to camouflouge the sporting mind.
For this fear there is no Sight Screen ( err Mind Screen ) that a batsmen can have or no pads to guard the shin bone. For the bowler no additional protection with a sweeper cover. This fear is here to stay . Robbing the Generations ahead of the sheer romance of watching the game unfold from the grand stands with only a card board adverisement strapped with a rubber band on your forehead as cover from the blazing aisan sun.
A poignant sight which will last a life time ..A Military Chopper evacuating a bunch of cricketers , entertainers , sportsmen to safety. If ever a picture could capture a thousand muted words on angst of a sports lover.
Change ..Unfortunately has come to Cricket :-(