June 09, 2003

aaahhhh......I am feeling soooo soar today...I have had a busy weekend. I was soo busy for the past three days that i couldnt even check my mail and got only 6 -7hrs sleep. I mean thats a good nights sleep for a normal day but for a weekend...it has to be 8-9hrs:):)

Well, on friday and saturday I drove Golf-carts at a conference. It was "Acoholics Anonymous" its basically a conference for people who have recovered or are recovering from alcohol drinking habits. I drove the golf-carts for 19 hours over two days. They made my legs and my rear...soar. It was fun driving people around especially the senior citizens and the physically handicapped. There were around 13,000 people attending the conference. They were all really nice and polite. i got to see around 700-800 harley davidsons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!these bikes are awesome, and when I saw the people on them I wondered....will I ever ride on one of these????..I mean its just an awesome bike....the best part about driving the golf carts was that I could use my DESI driving skills..hahah..I enjoyed it honking the horn and weaving through a group of people. But the worst experience was the I had on Saturday night...I was given a cart which had no lights and horn!!!!!!! Imagine driving that through a crowd of 5000-6000. I could barely see and I had to use my mouth as a horn..bee beep...beeeeeeeepp.....coming thru.....move to ur right.......man!!!!that was crazy dude....but anyway I got home pretty late and had to hit the sack as I had a cricket match the next morning in Columbus.

Well, we were supposed to leave Akron at 8:00 am but as usual some of the players came at IST and we left at around 8:30. We were scheduled to play Everest Cricket Club (ECC) who are two time finalists and 2001 champions. But...we have a good record against them...in the only match played between the two teams...that was last year... we won!!!!!!!!!yes Akron CC has a 100% record against probably the best team in the league:):) Well we got there at 10:45 but one of the cars got late so the start of the match was delayed. Its strange but.....I dont know why but everyone wants to use the restroom just before thematch starts!!!!!!!! so the match got further delayed!!!!!!!!!

At last.....it was time for the most important thing of the match..the TOSS!!!!!!!!I dread the toss as I always lose the toss. For my and my teammates surprise........I WON the toss for the change!!!!!!!! We had no hesitation in chosing to field....we consider ourselves a better bowling side:):) Our regular keeper/opener Puneet and our stand-in keeper/opener Phani were injured and were out of the game. So...I took up the responsibility of doning the gloves!!!!!Yes me a keeper!!!!!! I was all excited (which I regret now due to the soarness in my legs). We took the field...I placed my field like I usually do. We have a typical field set...keeper,slip,thirdman,point,cover,mid-off,long-off,long on,mid-on, square-leg. I mean most of the times we have these as the standard field positions. Consider me being unimaginative or defensive but I figured that it was best possible setting for our team..we change it as and when needed though....Kiran and Sunny our new-ball bowlers started the match. Kiran was a bit rusty in the first over but then eventually got going and was generating good pace and was bowling with nice line and length. He kept troubling the batsmen constantly and squared them up a number of times, in the first over I was glad that I didnt get a single edge....I would have dropped it for sure...then I got comfortable. Sunny started with a couple of wides...he is very slow but was swinging the ball like hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has this natural outswing which I could see for the first time as I was the keeper. Last year he had a bream debut of getting the opening batsman of the same team....ECC....bowled of the first ball of the match and of his career!!!!!!! I was hoping that he repeats that feat. He didnt disappoint us.........yes....he got 2 wickets in the first over with last two balls!!!!! he bowled two wides in a row then I asked him to pitch the ball in the line of the stumps....and with his outswing...he had a perfect ball...pitching on the off stump and moving out...a night-mare for any right handed batsman...the batsman made the fatal mistake of poking outside off and edged it...my heart started pounding louder though only for a split second ...I moved to the right and opened my gloves.....then..I caught the ball !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My first catch as a keeper!!!!!!!!!!!The whole team was delighted, Sunny was flocked from all sides and he was jumping like a.... little kid who just got his new toy..........The next ball was a repeat performance......same ball...same swing....same edge (of a different bat)...same heart pounding...same movement and same catch .....a different batsman....yes!!!!!!!! He got the next man out......and I caught the ball!!!!!!! Sunny was unstoppable this time around....he was running like a kid in a new toy store!!!!!!!!The team was all excited and enjoyed this double strike....I could see it in their enthu to encourage the bowler and each other. there was a lot of shouting...from all sides!!!!!Sunny was on a hat-trick......the next over kiran bowled well and was unlucky not to get an LBW decision. Sunny started his next over..his first ball was a hat-trick ball...i pulled the thirdman up for the slash...he bowled a wide...it was still a hattrick ball....everyone was shouting...the batsman played the ball in the air towards the long-on but I had pulled him up so the ball fell short of Manpreet and the batsman was relieved...but Sunny got his man...the same guy played on to his stumps later in the same over. We got the start we were hoping 15-3 after 5 overs.

From there the next two batsman played sensibly and took singles and occasional boundaries. they played really well, I made the bowling change which I thought was reasonable as the batsman were reading the bowlers well so I stopped Sunny and told kiran that he would be bowling only one more....that visibly upset him....he is the sort of the guy who likes to bowl out his quota of the overs...he was bowling well but I had to make the choice as I could continue with and finish his spell or try and get a break through with a bowling change bringing on Hari and Manpreet ...our fastest bowlers. Hari...was one of the debutants...but he had played at league level in Karnataka..so he was experienced..he bowled well and with his speed the batsmen found it difficult to score. Manpreet bowled well in his first over but then started bowling short. All the bowlers were having WIDE trouble...and the fact that the Umpires were strict was no helping...they judged the wide based on the markers next to the wiicket...which I felt were really close to the stumps. But they would be the same for both the teams so it was acceptable. The wides down the legside went for extra runs as me being a rookie keeper could not collect even one of the balls down the legside. I feel I let the bowlers down in that aspect as I was giving them a little bit of margin of error. I myself get made when the keeper lets the ball go for extra runs when I bowl so I knew that all my bowlers were upset with me but were not showing it may be for 2 reasons...one that I was the Captain and the other was that I was a first timer behind the wicket so they didnt want to make me more tense....thanx guys for that.

I brought on Sunil Advani (Adi) into bowling....he is a strange left hander...he only bowls left arm around and never bowls left-arm-over....that cuts down his natural angle. He is a good line and length bowler who bowls wicket to wicket line. When you ask him why he doesnt bowl over the wicket he will say"I always considered myself to be a righty so I bowl from the same side as the righties do" !!!!!!!!!....anyways he started off well and we were abt to got the drinks break. So i thought Hari might het a break through in the last over before drinks....he indeed got an edge...but I dropped it...the whole team was disappointed and I felt as if I let the team down. the partnership was shaping up and we had the perfect chance to break it and I grassed an simple catch....thats the price one pays for not concentrating on the game even for a second...when u are on the field u can probably get away slacking for a ball or two but when u are a keeper u cant.....I learnt the hard way and I was angry that the team had to pay for it. That ball was fast and straight and I was not concentrating on the ball but was thinking who should I bring on after the drinks break...that split second lapse in concentration cost the team a wicket. well at the drinks break we had a mixed response as to whether I should continue keeping or should I bring myself on???? I decided that we were having a pretty decent day for the bowlers and we have 7 bowlers so I continued keepping.

The post drinks session was a debacle......I dont know what happened to the team and what hit the bowlers.....nobody was encouraging the bowlers..the fielders were quite and the bowlers were bowling short and were getting hit for 4's and 6's suddenly the slow and steady pair started accelerating and in no time they went past the hundered. Our star in the previous two matches Avinash was hit for 13 runs in his first over and was not able to get his length. Adi and Manpreet also paid for not keeping the ball up and on the off-stump. I was getting frustrated and was running out of ideas...on Hari's suggestion I brought on Sirish (left arm)...another debutant...the change worked as he broke the partnership. Salman...opposition skipper..who was playing brlliantly at 64 went for a cross batted heave across the line and ended up giving a skier to Avinash at long on...he took an great catch tumbling forward. The whole team was relieved and I was glad that we caught a skier....its not easy to judge a high catch in a match...there is lot of pressure and lot of shouting on the field..its hard to concentrate...Baji took a great catch. Sirish then strayed on both sides of the wicket and went for 6-7 wides in the same over. Then the other batsman started opening up and we went for some more runs...thats when I talked to Kiran and decided to bring myself and Hari on.....I started of with a maiden...WOW!!!!!!!!!! where did that come from..i missed practice 2 times last week and the day I made it I was keeping..so I had not bowled in a long time and I started off with a maiden..what else can u ask for than a maiden in the 27th over!!!!! I felt that was the boost the team needed and I felt that as a Captain I was trying to lead the team by example. All did was to pitch the ball up and out-side off stump. In the past i bowled some good overs but I used mess it up with one bad ball or a couple of wides...so I kept telling to myself "Keep it straight...keep it straight". Then Hari got a wicket in the next over...he induced an edge from the new-man and Kiran got his first victim (I am not sure if he had caught any catches as a keeper before yesterday ). In came Prashant....feared biig hitter!!!!!!!! He started off with a straight drive of HAri which uprooted the middle stump at the non-strikers end. Hari must have been glad that he didnt try to stop it...he would have broken a finger.

My next over went for 10 runs of which 2 were wides down the leg-side and 2 runs of the outside edge on the off-side, Prashant smashed a 4 from outside off-stump to the leg-side boundary...it was raw power!!!!!!!!! Hari bowled a great over allowing only 2-3 runs. First ball of my next over was smashed for a SIX by Prashant but I got my revenge the next ball, I pitched ball slightly shorter (not intentionally) than the previous one and Prashant tried to hit another Six but Avinash took a great catch on the Long-on boundary. I think the extensive high catch pratice sesssions we have been having has helped our fielders. In the next over Hari got hit for a straight Six but came by allowing ony 2 more runs in the over. He finshed with his spell, he bowled really well. Two overs to go.....I was thinking whether I should bowl that one or the last over???? I decided to bowl and I asked Avinash to bowl the last over....My first ball was again hit for a Six........I thought.."ABd decision to bowl":(:(. But the next ball Rahul (who hit me for a six) fell for the slower ball. he tried wacking it on the legside and ball went miles high in the air....Sunny was getting under it and the way he was getting under the ball I was 90% sure he would drop it.....but the other 10% was strong I guess...........he caught the ball!!!!!!!!!!! Lawrence the guy who had been there from the 4th over then got deceived by a slower ball and completely missed it. He anticipated it again I guess but the ball was faster and he was a little on the shot which ended up being a regulation catch for Adi (which would have been a tough one for the rest of us). i finished my spell 4-1-23-3. Not bad I thought considering the fact that I started bowling in the death. The ended with a score of 186/8 in 35 overs.

we had done a decent job of containin them with good bowling for most of the match but the key for containing them was the fielding....the stars of the day in fielding were Hemant, Guru, Brijesh and Avinash. Hemant was almost entirely in the squareleg and fineleg positions for the match and was brilliant with his diving stops and was showing off his newly found arm by throwing accurate throws from the fineleg boundary. Guru was at the point position for most of the match and was excellent in cutting of single. He was always on his toes and pounced on the ball not allowing the batsmen any chance of a cheeky single. Brijesh was our work horse....he was made to run all over the field...he fielded in point, cover, fineleg, deepsqureleg and the squareleg positions. He was doing a wonderful job wherevere he was asked to field. Avinash took those awesome catches and was great on the field.

I was dead tired.....we had subs from subway and I took a short nap in the break. I was fresh and ready to go when we started to bat. I filled in as an opener for the regular openers (Puneet and Phani, both injured). Brijesh and I opened in overcast conditions. Salman...oppposition skipper....is a duplicate copy of Wasim Akram in his action and to an extent in swinging the ball. Both of us, Brijesh and I decided all we have to do is to play him off. So we didnt offer any kind of shots to ball outside off stump. I was troubled endlessly by the other opening bowler who had a gentle pace and brillaint control on swing. I played and missed 10-15 times. at 18/0 in 6.2 overs the skies opened up and the rain played the spoil sport once again. we had to split the points. Now we have had both of our games rained out.Thats too bad.

I didnt mention abt the result of the game earlier as that would have killed ur enthu to read on. I am sorry for that. But its taken me 2hrs to write this blog so I wanted you guys to spend atleast 15 mins reading it.Thats it for now..........

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