There is no doubt about it that Cricket is something that addles the brain. During my school life, I used to spend hours playing cricket, few more hours watching cricket, and the major conversation point with friends would be, yes you guessed it right, Cricket!
When we used to live in our old house, cricket was limited to either grounds (generally in school) or small rooms within our house (where my elder bro used to kick my ass). When we shifted to our new home (when I was 14) I discovered the wonder called Gully Cricket. A T-shaped junction in our colony used to metamorphose into a cricket ground every evening. The stumps would reside on the joint of T, and to score runs the only options were a very square square-cut, pull or flick (again hit very square), or the simplest of the options (which I used to take regularly) drive down the ground. To add to the complexity, we had many specific no-go zones (where once you hit the ball, either the house-owner does not return the ball, or you’d have to search for an eternity for the ball in the underbrush – this was the cover area). If you hit the ball there, you are out.
We generally used to play six overs a side matches here and scoring runs was such an arduous task that a score of 15 would be quite challenging. There were matches when even a score of 1 has been successfully defended! There are many memories associated with Gully Cricket – I once bowled a perfect out-swinger to get my bro out caught behind (one of the rare occasions when I got the better of him, otherwise he used to loft me over my head for sixes with monotonous regularity), I saw one of the best shots I have ever seen being hit live – the ball lands just short of good length and a fierce cut greets it the ball proceeds to take a very flat very square trajectory for a six, and many last ball finishes.
All this and more flashed through my mind as I saw a group of kids, outside my home, indulging in a game of Gully Cricket, even when the temperature outside was nearing 40 Celsius. Cricket surely does addle the brain!
P.S: More proof being offered by Jayaram. This is what happens when you get too involved in Cricket 🙂