Man of the series: First time
There are some moments in your life which never reiterate with the same intensity. Living those moments are so refreshing and exhilarating that later in your life you feel content remembering them irrespective of what mood or situation you are in, because emotions generated from those past moments are so pure and powerful that even your overthinking mind cannot destroy its vigour.
One such moment happened with me last month that I will always cherish throughout the journey. It was about the cricket championship league organized by the company I work in. There were total eight participant teams and the league was supposed to finish within two consecutive weekends. But due to unforeseen rains we wasted two of the three game days . As you might know it is not a easy task to organize such events and run them successfully in corporate world. This made organizers convert the championship league to the knockout tournament. Each inning had to be played for eight overs with the maximum of two overs’ limit for each bowler.
With few exceptions no one was regular sportsman, I was surely not among them. Mostly the teams were formed by the captains with hardly much efforts as it was just another activity in life. Some were very ingenious about their batting, bowling line-ups and overall strategies, but most of us were either over-enthusiast or reckless to the event. Our team’s name was ‘Extreme Blasters’ (I didn’t like it as it is so common to be found meaningless and ordinary. Hail captain!). I am not sure but we didn’t have vice-captain, I think I was the one, anyway it was not important. With relatively good team players we were confident to spear up in at least initial few matches unless we were destined to play against the strongest first(which we were not).
To our misfortune, sun was blistering like it use to in Sahara desert on that day. Even the couple of runs between the wickets were so tiring that you feel ashamed of yourself for having so little stamina. There were some players who were playing after so long may be seven-eight years and not many were regular athletes after the school/college days where you are forced to physical activities. However almost all of us were wearing the same spirit as we Indians just love the Cricket, no other sport beats Cricket in India. Whenever it comes to Cricket all of us are expert advisers, talented critics and great strategist not to say the less. But there is a stark difference in having loud opinions and actually playing on the field with same in mind, only those who have actually played on real grounds would understand this, others just pretend to feel it (fucking hypocrites!).
It was clear that the finalist have to play 3 matches on a single day all of them knockouts to win the trophy. To all the lazy engineers it was not a easy job as your dexterity with ball and bat decreases exponentially with energy level (and under the sun it decreases with even higher order polynomial ;) ).
Our first match was not a tough one, however we had to stretch it till last over while chasing as it was the first match and nobody knew their strengths on that day. I was the opening bowler and middle order batsman according to our team planning. We had to chase only 35 runs due to our economical bowling and good fielding efforts. In all the tournament we never missed a single catch, we were strong believers of “catches win matches”. First match was a easy fruit grabbed with mainly team effort, all members contributed equally and we got sense of plausible strategies that will win us forthcoming games.
Second match was probably the most interesting match of the whole tournament and my personal favorite. Again we chose to bowl first after winning the toss. This time we were little under pressure seeing the performance of the opposite team in their last game. They had 2–3 very good all rounders. With not many mistakes in our bowling side we let them make 53 runs in mere 8 overs. Our main bowler was running out of form due to the pressure and couldn’t help me with the bowling efforts. He gave 10 extras only in wide, however our third bowler shared the bowling pressure and we did pretty good together. At around 12.30 under the peak temperatures second inning started. Unfortunately all the main batsmen were not playing their natural game, misjudging even the simple deliveries. Ball was coming slower on the bat making it harder to hit long-shots. We wasted many balls as well as wickets reaching the score of just 25 with 15 balls left. I was on the crease with another left hand batsmen. We had decent partnership with the advantage of opposite batting combination. I was playing my natural game, was aware that batting isn’t my main strength (after this day I changed my opinion). Pressure was rising with each dot ball knowing that we don’t have any good batsmen left. We knew if we win this game we were going in finals with at least second prize in our hands, this alone caused unnecessary burden. He got out, alas! All the team members probably lost the hopes. They screamed my name saying you’re the only hope. Here comes the next ball, Bang! it was not a wicket but a perfect boundary from my bat in the deep mid-wicket. I could here the sound of all team-members cheering with double the strength. Next few balls we made singles into doubles running our ass off and ignoring the heat. With constant breaks between the balls I was regaining my breath as it was boiling hot. There it was, the last ball and score tied. Only 1 run required, I was batting, hopes high, fielders closer to the crease. There he comes, the bowler bowling on the off side, short delivery. I flicked the bat, ball went to the third man and we easily completed the winning run. Hurray! I raised a bat to my members while completing the run, they were running towards the crease full with joy, excitement, relief and what not. They lifted me and we all were dancing in exhilaration as we had reached the finals. I was never lifted before for such reasons. Boy! I can’t explain that feeling when you win so important match for your team, it is so satisfying and joyous that I hardly remember feeling the same throughout my life. It was this moment that changed my opinion since childhood that I was a bowler, sure I was, but in addition I can bat too :).
Finals started with us batting first. The opposite team had been the strongest over all the tournament, we all agreed to that before playing. We made corresponding changes in our batting line-up. Even-though we couldn’t score in first 5 overs reaching only 23 runs. All the higher order batsmen couldn’t even touch the ball, trying to hit each ball across the boundary and beating in the effort. Everyone lost the patience under the pressure, we retired 2 of our good batsmen and I was sent on the crease. I did better than the previous match scoring with strike rate of 200. But we couldn’t even cross the 50’s mark reaching just 47 off 8 overs. Their strength was batting and they easily dominated our bowlers. Shoulder pain couldn’t let me bowl to my best. They won the match with not much effort. Disappointed, we returned to the pavilion with heavy hearts. We were not that sad though, as nobody had thought we will reach the finals with no preparations. We all were happy with our performances, we did our best while continuously playing in heat. Ups and downs, Life!
Silver medals to all of us and I was awarded Man of the series for all round performance. Wow! I said to myself after the announcement. I have never received any individual award in sports before. That day I learned some things probably most precious things. Throughout the tournament I was never running for the success, but for the perfection constantly analyzing the mistakes, keeping cool and doing the best I could while performing naturally. It was playing with team selflessly with presence of mind, motivating each other, making and modifying strategies, keeping cool and sharing pressure; all these things made us reach almost on the top in the tournament, so proud of that.
These moments friends, never hit you again with the same force. I will always cherish whatever I felt that day. Hope many such moments come in our life and we understand them, learn from them and keep them closer to our hearts.
Till then, may the force be with you \m/.