My dad, Jim, raised me up to love cricket. I never understood cricket, much like a child does not understand the religion that he/she is brought up in, but it was part of who I was growing up, watching the matches in the late hours of the night, or the excitement of having my first real cricket bat that I could play with in the basement of my house, or joining my first real cricket team for my school in New Zealand, though my form resembled a baseball player much more than an orthodox cricketer. There are many things to be proud of, having an Indian heritage, but the site of the Indian national cricket team going toe to toe with the best in the world, and prevailing surely tops the list for me. I have taken much pride in seeing the country beat teams like England, Australia, South Africa and especially their rivals Pakistan. It has been my impression that Indian Cricket is not a sport, it is a religion. That is based on what I saw tonight, and how light the traffic was for my drive home during the game.
Tonight I experienced a match that will go down in history. It was the first International Twenty 20 match that India played in. The new set up, which basically took 1 day cricket, a shortened version of the 5 day test matches, and made it even shorter by removing 30 overs from each side’s batting turn. (1 over = 6 balls being bowled) This made the game as short as an American Baseball game, and encouraged the players to take more chances while batting, rather than the usual defensive strategy used in the game.
India played none other than Pakistan tonight, in a heated match that really proved that this new format of the game will be widely accepted. India batted first, and batted in an impressive 141 runs in 120 balls being bowled. (each time a batter runs from one wicket to the other, it counts as a run. If the ball crosses a boundary on the ground, it is 4 runs, if it crosses the boundary in the air, it counts as 6 runs)
Pakistan batted well, but slow at first. Towards the end of their turn, they unleashed a series of sixers and four run shots, raising tension in the already nervous restaurant I was dining in. If you could believe it, the match came down to just 1 ball, as Pakistan managed to tie India in the 19th over.
The room I was in was depressed, drunk, and quiet, after the constant yelling, swearing, and other emotional outbreaks that were noticed just moment earlier. The final play of the game was brilliant, India managed to field the ball and throw the batsmen out, in a fashion that I have never seen in a match before. The game went to an unprecedented overtime, which took shootout scenarios in hockey and soccer, and attempted to incorporate them into Cricket. It was a sad attempt, as it was just a bowler aiming for the wickets with no opposition. Best out of 5. India made the first 3 wickets, Pakistan missed all 3. India won. It was some match, and will likely encourage this new style of cricket to continue, hopefully raising interest with the Americans, as its the only mainstream game I can think of that our countrymen back west will be reluctant to adopt.
Other commentary on my first real night drinking here….I got kicked out of my first bar. Not because of my deliberate breaking of the rules, but I tried to walk in to this place tonight without a girl and without nice shoes, instead wearing my Brazilian sandals. 2 minutes later I entered the same bar, wearing my crummy gym shoes, and a smile to let the silly bouncer wearing the beret and ridiculous looking red cowboy like shirt on know that I had gotten the better out of him. I was shocked to see that the place was empty with customers, yet filled with more of this silly outfit wearing employees, who seemed to be doing nothing useful but making me laugh. I met a friend there, who I shared a few drinks with. It was our first time meeting, as I had been put in touch with a former colleague who did their MBA with this fellow, but nonetheless, it was a great time getting to know someone new in the area. The most awkward part of the encounter, which was immediate, and tempting me to start laughing, was the music selection of the venue we were in. The couple only, yet 90% male bar chose to blast the song “my endless love” when I first started talking to my new friend in the city. I have been told that my poker face is discredited because of my uncontrollable dimpled smile, and I was really concerned that the song would be a distraction from my ability to make friends at this particular place. Well, I overcame an obstacle today, I am making slow but steady progress, and can hang with the best of them, even when tempted to lose it with such a song selection in such a venue. (You have seen Happy Gilmore I hope – “friends listen to my endless love in the dark….) I think it is rediculous that there are so many people at bars like this who aren’t drinking, but supposedly working, and there are such formalities – such as couples entry only, while the majority of the people inside are still men..
Anyway, I am never bored here ,with all these new sensations being exposed to me. I am really excited for Bombay this weekend. (I prefer Bombay to Mumbai), the festival is supposed to be huge there. One last commentary on the cricket match….I observed an Australian fellow who was the team doctor for the Indian team. For my readers in the US, have you not been under the impression that the majority of doctors in the US, and probably the world are Indian. I just found this very ironic while watching the game tonight….
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