Howzzat!

The green helmet in a bevy of blues

“That’s it, three rounds are over, now get going,” she said – no snapped. I smiled and made way. Welcome to my week two blog about playing cricket. I am over the moon with my brand new cricket kit (pads, gloves, thigh guard, and a wonderful hi-tech bottle-green Pakistani helmet). Currently I am in the nets – and get this – I haven’t been bowled out yet. In fact I have hit one on-drive, and a sparkling cover drive. And I’ve bent forward in defense, copy-book. I’ve edged one outside off-stump and almost edged another, but I’m happy still. And three rounds in the net pass before I know it, and I am told (no ordered) to get going.

A little bit on my kit before I proceed. The pads etc made a pretty big hole in my wallet and I insisted on buying a green helmet. Being the only Pakistani in a throng of Indians sporting blue helmets, I am, as always, happy to stand out. The place to buy cricket equipment is AJ Sports in Dubai (Karama) or Sharjah (Rolla). They have quality stuff, and wannabe cricketers like this writer can often be found there.

Right, so let’s talk a bit more about the net session. I’ve been working on my fitness and I find that I have better stamina. But my bowling in line, length and pace, is as insipid as it’s ever been and I can’t bowl a single decent ball. Ugh. I notice there is a new girl – I learn that she is quite a popular team member who was off for holiday. She makes small talk and actually smiles at me. I am pleasant as I introduce myself. A few moments later, I notice another girl pulling the new girl aside and saying, “You don’t wanna talk too much to people, okay?” Thereafter, she becomes as aloof as the rest. This is fun.

Almost an hour goes by and I notice people go out of their way to ignore me or simply be mean, and I can’t figure out why. But since this is my first opportunity to play cricket in a long, long time, I will not throw it away, and it will take more than dirty looks and comments to make me get my a** off the place – see what I’m saying? The day concludes with a dis-spirited self bowling the last bowl wildly down leg. Ugh. I guess the general hostility of the people around is kinda getting to me. As I walk off the pitch, a girl with a bowling action reminiscent of Brett Lee  nods at me and says “Well-played.” I am forced to do a double-take, and then nincompoop that I am, I thank her profusely when I realize she’s talking about the batting. She almost laughs at my complete surprise on the compliment and I give myself a pat on the back, because I’ve managed to embarrass myself yet again. I drive home, and listen to some beautiful Quran recitation on the way which helps to relax me. I thought it would be fun – playing cricket – perhaps it still will be? I’m hoping… let’s wait till next week to find out.

-m.

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