Some people believe cricket is a game only men play. This is the story of one of them. The one who was beaten by a girl. I am a weekend cricketer, playing in the corporate league. Like me, Sam is in his late 40’s. We are past our prime playing days. We play purely for our passion. Sometimes, passion breeds arrogance. Sad to say, Sam is one such player. Unfortunately, he has a (mis)conception that he is a great batsman.
A few years back we were playing a match. A group of youngsters was practicing on the nets near our ground with a few girls in it. Post-match, we were watching the children practice. The girls were struggling to keep up with the boys. It was obvious that they could not match the boys. Sam had a smirk on his face. He said, “I cannot understand why parents waste the time of their daughters. What is the point of sending them to these camps”? He said it too loud.
I cannot understand why parents waste the time of their daughters. What is the point of sending them to these camps?
The children were looking at us. The girls at the nets were clearly annoyed at his comments. The coach too was very grumpy with the comments. He came to us, and we both got a severe reprimand. I did not have the chance to tell him I was in total disagreement with my friend. We went back to our teammates.
Last weekend, Sam and I went to a match. It was a friendly encounter, which we were playing mainly for batting practice. The opposition team was going through their pre-match routine. There was a young girl in the group, aged 15 or 16. The opposition captain enquired with us if the girl can play this match. She was trying for the national cricket team, looking for practice. We were fine with it.
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Do you Recognize me?
Sam and I were heading to the crease. We opened the innings since we wanted to spend some time in the middle. When both of us were standing on the pitch, the young girl came to us. She asked Sam, “Uncle, do you recognize me”? As always, Sam was dismissive. I was racking my brain, trying to remember where I had seen her before. My memory failed me. She spoke to us, “I am the same girl whom you made fun of four years back while I was practicing with boys”.
I am the same girl whom you made fun of four years back while I was practicing with boys
Sam and I froze on the pitch. But Sam being the arrogant Sam, blurted, “Do not come to bowl when I am batting. I will hit you for 6 sixes”. She was glaring at Sam. Game on. She came to bowl in the power play. I was on strike. Sam came to me and said, “Take a single on the first ball, I will hit her for six every ball”. I immediately felt that this was not possible. I decided to keep quiet and focus on my batting.
She was a left-arm spin bowler. She bowled ‘over’ the stumps to me. The ball made a ‘swishing’ sound when she delivered the ball. The ball landed on the leg stump, took a turn, and beat the outside edge of my bat. The turn was quite sharp, it missed the off stump. The ball hit the wicketkeeper’s gloves with a strong thud. I didn’t even see the ball! Sam came to me with blazing eyes. He pleaded to me for a single. I was able to tap the next ball into the gap for a sharp single.
Sam took the strike. The batsman and the bowler were glaring at each other. They were getting ready for a duel. Now Sam had a great gift of saying the wrong things at the wrong place and at the wrong time. This was one of those moments. He spoke to the umpire, “please arrange for 4 more cricket balls. I am going to hit each ball out of the park.”
Please arrange for 4 more cricket balls, I am going to hit each ball out of the park
The first ball to Sam made that same “sSwishhhh” sound. The ball pitched on the leg stump and took a sharp turn once again. He was lucky. It almost took away his off-stump. Sam was shaking his head, as if in disbelief. He came to me in a daze and said, “Man, I did not see the ball”. He was nervous. No, he was afraid. Afraid, of the humiliation. His eyes clearly suggested” “Was I beaten by a girl?” The young girl had a smug look on her face. She said, “Uncle, it is 1-0”.
Pitching one the leg side, the ball again took a vicious turn. This time, it took out the off stump. The girl had bowled a ripper!!!! Dejection and humiliation were written all over Sam’s face, he was walking back to the pavilion. The girl was enjoying this shame parade. She said, “Uncle, play the remaining 2 balls of this over, I will dismiss you 2 more times”. Sam’s eyes were bulging out of their sockets. The little girl had embarrassed him. Game on.
She bowled the third ball, around the wicket. It did not turn. It came straight to the pads. He was LBW. The fielding team had a few laughs. I could see the veins on Sam’s neck. They were about to burst!! So much blood was pumping in them.
Sam had enough. He stepped out of the crease in the next ball and gave a mighty heave. There was a big ‘swoosh’ from his bat. Sadly, the bat and the ball were nowhere near each other. It was an easy stumping. Sam was stunned as if he was hit by a bolt of lightning. He walked back to the pavilion. The girl was mocking him. She said, “Uncle, once more”.
I saw him walk out of the ground in a fit of rage. He was throwing his equipment all over in a fit of rage. The “beaten by a girl” was written all over his face. I turned around and saw the girl looking at Sam. She was laughing. Loud, uncontrollable laughter. The fielding team joined her in a chorus of laughter.
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