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Cricketing the Labour Day Week End

Long weekend (its either a Thursday - Friday or Monday holiday along with Sat and Sun) in U S are like Diwali and Dussera in INDIA, they are like festivals that people remember them more than they remember birthday. And the two mosts events associated with these are Sales and Travel. People plan a months in advance for these long weekends. As a long week approaches typical discussion topic would be what’s plans for long week end

I generally don't like traveling much (Believe me I haven't been to San Francisco yet which is 40 Miles from my place). I generally do shopping on these Week Ends. So I decided to at stay home and lazy around.

I wonder why people bring Lunch on Fridays; they are all off by 3 pm anyways and start talking about the week end from Noon. Well when it’s a Long week end it starts from 2pm. I generally have deadly Fridays, I always get some work around 4 pm which takes like couple of hrs.

It was 5 pm Friday evening as serene as a grave yard in my office. I was typically on headphone & doing some programming stuffs, suddenly I overheard the divine term "CRICKET" in my office for the first time in 8 week. I couldn't resist myself and actually ran towards it. Two Desi's were discussing about it and I unceremoniously interrupted them and asked whether there any cricket club around. To my fortune I was talking to the Vice Captain of the team SyndicateCC playing for cricbay league (www.cricbay.com hard tennis ball game). On his guidance I registered to the team and by 8 Pm captain gave me a call for a practice match before the winter season begins. It was more satisfying than getting a call for the National Squad.

On saturday 8 pm (7:30 was the scheduled time IST applies even in U S) 5 player assembled at the Cupertino Middle School ground (Baseball ground), It was SyndicateCC 's home ground as they call it. Typically cricket is played in Baseball grounds with the muddy area serving the Pitch and 30 yard circle. The nice part of these grounds is that they are not similar in structure or shape. Some have long Leg sides and some have no offsides, some have shorter straight boundaries, some have huge grass overing and some have mud every where. So home advantage is always there so much like the International grounds. So you got to adjust your game very quickly.

I introduced myself to the team and was told that I was the youngest member in the team. (They expected me to agile and nimble footed). Typically 3 stumps at one end were pitched and before I took 22 foot steps, out came the measuring tape (after all professional cricket). It was more net practice for the next 90 mins. No sooner I realized that it’s a different ball game when playing in muddy surfaces, ball skids, bounces, cuts, spins a lot more than you expect. Having played in flat batting beauties (Law School Ground and Library/Physics grounds) adjusting to this conditions was a bit tuff initially. Realized why INDIA fails miserably overseas. For the first time in my life I enjoyed bowling more that batting. Got used to what is called rough outside off /leg stump, realized what footwork is all about, and the importance of taking singles. Because we have long boundaries, wind factor and thick out field.

Another team who wanted to play a friendly match with us came in. Typical introduction Mahesh Oracle, Rajesh Deloitte, blab blah, and again I was the youngest player. Match started and typical gully cricket rules, non-strike/keeper will be the umpires. There was lot of heated debates on wides and over the shoulder's no balls. Typically claims "It’s on borderline not a wide" by the bowler. "You stepped out so no no-ball". On couple of occasions it reminded me Pradeep's famous arguments "Its wok Its wok Its not wide" when was in bowling team. Even though these people are in mid 30's and are all s/w professionals they all have josh or spirit of a teenager. My captain in pursuit of quick single run himself out, later he said "Manish our mind is in 20's but body's in 30's. And when the bowler over steps (no ball) the captain comes to rescue, "We did not give it when you were bowling! so no overstep no-balls". I wondered why he used measuring tape in the first place.

Finally I was asked to bowl that last over with 17 required, golden memories of Munaf, Agarkar, haunted me; by God's grace it we won by 14 runs. There came the suggestion from the captain "Manish try bowling some yorkers in the next match. No sooner the match ended they began to get calls from their Home Ministers they all were jealous that I was single.

For the next 3 days I was nursing my body pains sleeping and taking painkillers, seemed like I had inherited all the injuries player suffer, shoulder, ankle , heel, back, hamstring, calf , thigh, groin etc. Now I have a reason to exercise and stay fit, "Keep my position in the team"

This was my best long week so far enjoyed it my way.

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