Love for Cricket - Part 1
Love for Cricket - Part 1
Good morning dear readers!! My name is Arjun ley. I am an Indian. I am 15 years and for almost 13 years I have watched and played Cricket. My passion for this very sport had been fueled when history was made in Gwalior when Sachin Tendulkar had for the very first time scored a double 100 in an ODI match. I have watched the highs and lows of the cricket journey like when Justin langer got dropped in 1993...when Sunil Manohar Gavaskar made his personal highest Test score of 236, he demolished a record that had survived for 36 years...when Shane Warne made his debut against India at Sydney no one had imagined he would play for Australia ever again after the thrashing he received at the hands of Ravi Shastri and Sachin Tendulkar on his debut. Let alone producing what is now famously referred to as “The Ball of the Century.”....when India won the 1983 world cup cricket…. When the Australian Cricket team cheated which was probably the worst cricket crisis in Australian history which had not been experienced after the underarm and when the England team won the World Cup of 2019.
I love cricket as the joy of watching your team do well, the uncertainties it brings, and the sheer happiness. Sometimes you lose the games that are games that you cannot afford to lose and sometimes you manage to pull off a miracle. The game is such a leveler...you hardly know yourself unless you learn to appreciate cricket. The taste of defeat, the delight in winning, the heart-breaks, losing on the last ball, managing a draw, tied games, battling and battling till you pass out. It makes you think that life is easy and Cricket is hard!! Cricket became very popular after Kapil Dev got us our maiden World Cup and Sachin Tendulkar changed the way people looked at cricket. Cricket becomes a religion that people followed religiously and I love that.
My favorite cricket team is the Australians men's cricket team. Every single person there is amazing and each one has the Anzac spirit in them. but I do have favorites like...Steve Smith is a person who just lives and breathes cricket and he just shadow bats everywhere, Adam Zampa is a real dark horse...you never know when he is going to get you out. Nathon Lyon is probably the most nervous bloke you will ever see but through patience and perseverance, he always gets the big wickets. Usmaan Khawaja is a man of confidence and is someone with the talent and passion and its a real shame that someone so good isn't even in Australia's top 20 players. Mitchell Starc who had been under massive scrutiny had taken big wickets for so many important games. Pat Cumins is accurate, fast and he is a great bouncer and he never delivers poorly and his competitiveness is inspiring.
June 26, 2020
I woke up at 5 and got ready by 5:30 and left for M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. I reached there around 8 in the morning where there were about 200 players around the same age group as mine. They were all jogging, warming up, stretching, and shadow batting and fielding. So put my kit down and took out my cricket ball when my dad went to get a coffee from the near cafe. I looked around and the atmosphere was just so tensed up and strained and it was pretty nerve-wracking. If there were about 200 people here who were trying out for under 19...imagine how many would be there in places like Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai where cricket is the heart of summer.
Suddenly everyone starts gasping and say"omgggg", "woahhhh" and screaming hi, hello and I love you and stuff. so I immediately looked up to see 4 of the best players in my country- Virat Kohli, M.S Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar. everyone in the crowd was cheering and hooting for them including my dad!! when Virat held up his hand for silence. There was a pin drop silence and we could hear people from outside as clear as bell. that's when he started" good morning everyone...it is very good to be here and we are glad that all of you could make it today. only 3-4 of you from 176 of you will get chosen"
Rohit Sharma said, " so guys we will have a series of matches and we will divide all of you into groups and where we can focus on you guys and where you can show us what your talents and skills are and how you do in a team environment. if anyone of us thinks that you have a lot of potential then we will call you In so we can talk to you. This doesn't guarantee a spot in the team but it does bring you a step closer."
Sachin said, "if we find someone who is extremely hardworking, dedicated, and has a lot of passion for the game he will get a chance to play for the upcoming test match against Australia and he won't play for the under 19 teams but the senior's team. this can only happen if each one of you gives your everything, so good luck everyone"
Dhoni divided us into 16 groups of 11 members. 4 teams were to be handled by each cricketer. I ended up being in a team where everyone ended up being so good and competitive. Rohit Sharma took care of the team that I was in...so he lined us up horizontally where we all faced him and he could see us all. Rohit started saying" well guys this is a huge moment... so I want to see how each one of you is in all fields will get the bowling machine and each one of you one by one will go into the nets and hit balls...when I think you have had enough or someone else needs to come in then ill tell you. okay?"
We all said "yes sir" and the first guy that went in was a batsman whose name is Madhavan Kumasi and he went in and hit well....the 2nd guy that went in got hit on the box and Rohit immediately came in and helped him up asking whether he was okay and he replied with pain" yes!!" so Rohit decided that he will get a chance again later and out of nowhere Rohit calls out my name then I realized it was my turn. I was so nervous that I felt all the blood drain from my legs and hands and I looked nervously around and remembered what my dad had told me before we got here, he had said:" it has been a hard journey and you have worked so hard for so long and gotten so much criticism and now that you have come so far now all you gotta do is show people how good you are!!"
I nervously walked into the net and saw Rohit watching me from outside when a guy started the machine. So I have been practicing Leg spin, bouncing, and also swinging and I am a lot more confident with a ball in my hand than a bat since I know my skill set but I knew that today my job was to hit the balls this time...so just thought hit this ball and then go to the next and then the next. so I just started to watch the ball and before I knew it... I hit the ball hard and far and I kept doing that till Sharma told me "wait...dont hit the ball yet I'm gonna come in a second" with that he took off and came 5 min later with Virat, Sachin, and Dhoni. he started the machine again and by the time I had probably hit about 13-14 balls and my arms were a bit sore since I haven't batted much before so I played about 3 balls after Virat and the others arrived and I just couldn't do it anymore and I said: my hands are hurting...is it possible if I can hit the balls a bit later?" and Rohit looked at me and said"yes". I walked outside the nets and spotted my father waiting for me right outside and he asked me" how did it go?" and I said "pretty good I think and can you believe it I batted instead of bowling??!!"
My dad: "whatttt....why didn't you bowl?"
Me: " well Rohit Sharma said that he wanted to see if we can do all the things so yeah"
My dad: "so do you think you did well/"
Me: " I don't know dad...there is like almost a zero % chance that I get chosen"
My dad: " it doesn't matter whether you are chosen or not....its all about the enjoyment of the game!! if your happy playing cricket, play it, don't stop if you don't get chosen...this is, after all, a place to learn right kidoo??"
Me: "yes dad!! I'll do my best and we play to learn I guess"
June 27, 2020
Rohit Sharma came in today and he said"good morning guys!! today both me and Virat will be watching you guys play...So today we will do bowling for bowlers and fielding and batting for those who cant...so how many of you guys can bowl?"
There were 3 of us who raised our hands and Rohit and Virat decided which order we would go....so first me then Sai and then Aneesh. I got a ball from my kit and I looked up saw Mahdhavan and realized that I had to bowl to him first. I looked around him and saw that the pitch had cracks which meant it could go anywhere...so I decided to do some leg-spin. I have never looked at myself as the best leg spinner but I do have faith that my delivery will be good. the 1st ball I bowled hit the corner of his bat. the second ball I bowled hit the middle of Mahdhavan's bat. I only bowled 2 balls but I knew I was getting frustrated so I just looked at the ball and closed my eyes and quickly said to myself "this is who you are and this is your strength...don't mess it up!!".
I looked at him with a frustrated look and the 3rd ball I bowled bounced off the corner of his bat and a fielder immediately caught it!! So that was my 1st wicket for the game...and Virat and dhoni and all cheered as we bowlers took each batsman out one by one. I had taken 6 wickets for the game and was extremely pleased with myself!! My dad came to me right after the game got over and he said" Woah Arjun you were on a roll...taking 6 wickets for the game and awesome bowling!!!"ME"thanks dad..it was so much fun getting them out"
When my father and I were about to leave A man who was who worked on these fields called us and said"You are Arjun right?", me "yes I'm Arjun"
The guy said "the cricketers are calling you inside the change rooms as they want to talk to you"
the first thing that came inside my head was"holyyyyyyy" and my dad immediately said, "go there...ill wait here for you...go fast!!"
I made my way towards the changeroom then I took a deep breath and knocked on the door. Rohit came and opened the door fully and said"come in!!"
I saw all 4 of them sitting there with small notebooks with a chair facing them like there would be an interview and they all kept quiet and looked at me as I entered. Sachin greeted me and said"please sit down!" so I sat down and looked at them and forced myself not to ask them for autographs as they too much have been exhausted.
Dhoni: "do you know why you are here Arjun?"
Me: "I'm not sure sir"
Virat gave a huge smile and looked down at the sheet and looked back at me and said "how would you feel if you could play for the Seniors Cricket team for a test match against Australia??"
I was a bit in a shock...firstly I was in the same room as Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli..secondly they were actually talking to me and thirdly they r asking how I would feel about playing in the same team that they are in...i couldn't believe it mate... I was so happy that my little heart was doing a little tap dance.
Me: " it would be an absolute pleasure and it makes me better as a human being as well as a player"
Sachin: "what was your inspiration to play cricket"
Me: " my parents and the Australian cricket team...my parents never asked me to play cricket but anytime I asked them to play with me, they always made time and they always made it about the enjoyment of the game rather than the competition and I look at that with a lot of gratitude and The Australian Cricket team taught me that when things get rough you can either sit in perpetual sadness immobilized by the gravity of your loss or you could rise and show all the haters that you will always get back up no matter how far they throw you."
Dhoni: "what happens if you don't get into the team??"
Me: "well my parents have always taught me to think of every stage as a building block or a place to learn so ill work harder to get into it later."
Rohit: " well Arjun please come a bit early tomorrow"
Me: "yes ...also before I leave is it possible to get an autograph?"
all of them together said "yes..yeah...yep...sure"
I left the room with a sheet of autographs and a shirt with an autograph of Rohit's. I couldn't help but smile and stare at the autographs given to me and I rushed over to my dad who was standing near the bus stop. he looked over to me and said "how did it go?"
I smiled and said, "well we spoke and they asked me a few questions and I don't if ill get chosen but I did get autographs!!!!!!"
My parents smiled at me and my mom said: "I AM PROUD OF YOU". We got onto the bus and went home.
June 28, 2020
I woke up around 4 and my parents and I left around 4:30 and reached the cricket field around 6:30 and it was so quiet and peaceful. there were about 7 of us who were there in that field at that very moment and suddenly I see Rohit and Sachin calling us to stand together in a circle
we all stood together when Sachin started" good morning all of you...the reason we called you all here this early was that we wanted to do a one on one with each one of you and see which one of you is going into the test match and which ones would join the under 19-national team!!!"
Virat and Rohit started to decide who would do what... I became an all-rounder and played as a batsman as well as a bowler!!!!! today's match was pretty hard, the others were so competitive and aggressive and all I could hope for was just to get some runs under my belt! I managed to finish off at 119 runs and got 5 wickets for the game! Hussain(another player) and I had been the only ones to get a century or more...that feeling was absolutely amazing and at that moment all I could do was pat myself at the back!!
Dhoni" everyone today was great and everyone played well, So we won't delay our decision anymore so stand in a row so we can all see you!"
We stood in a row and my head was running around with the darkest things that could happen that very day and Virat said" Hussain, Raj, and Sai we have decided that you will be playing for the under 19 international team as you are all very talented and have a very good skill set. tomorrow we will talk to your parents and have some arrangements for your transportation to Mumbai!!! they cheered so loud that I was pretty sure that that the people in Cuba could hear them. the 3 of them ran to their parents and now there were only 4 of us and out of that only 1 person could get chosen. I knew we all were standing there with the fear that 3 of us would go back home and that it would be the end of a journey for us. Sachin said"well guys only 4 of you left!" suddenly Dhoni said"Aarav come with me" and at the same time Virat said"Harsh come with me" and Sachin said"Kabir come with me"
I was left alone with Rohit when tears started streaming down my face and I quickly wiped my eyes so that he wouldn't notice but he did notice, he looked at me said: "hey are you alright??" I quickly replied"yeah I'm fine" and turned my face away so he wouldn't see my fear. He then said" let's go play some cricket" I looked at him and questioned"I'm not getting chosen right?", he looked towards at the field and replied"why do you think so?", when I didn't reply to him he looked back at me and asked again"why do you think so?" I sighed and grabbed a bat near to me and said"let's play cricket"
after about 15 minutes the other 3 boys and the other 3 cricketers came out and when I looked at their faces I could have sworn they had heard some great news, they all were smiling and we all looked at each other and we stood in a row facing the cricketers and all I could think was "heck why am I even here?"I don't even belong here"!" no one needs me" and suddenly Rohit said, "Arjun you are chosen to play for the Indian international team with us...the reason why these boys look so happy is that they too will play for the under 9 boys as they too were extremely good."
When Rohit said that it put all my thoughts to rest and I couldn't help but just start crying and all the boys and cricketers started to hug me and say "congrats bro...good job...good luck". Dhoni asked, "we need your parent's phone number so we can talk to them."