Asli Cricket!

It happened today that while browsing through different TV Channels I landed up on Star Cricket that was showing highlights of the age old ICC Knockout Semi-Finals between India and South Africa (2000/01). Ah! Few minutes into the match and a rhapsodic feeling from with said 'Yeh hai Asli Cricket'. Suddenly a boring, hot and sunny Sunday afternoon became as lively as ever. A walk down the memory lane of how we were so crazy about Cricket, collecting Center Fresh cricket trump cards, maintaining a diary with names of cricketers in alphabetical order to help us fare better in the Cricket Antakshri in breaks in between classes (I remember A se Andrew Hudson). Brilliance!
It was the fag end of the Indian Innings when I started watching and a 20 something year old boy next door resembling Yuvraj Singh was smashing the ball all around the park. Utter innocence on his face, boy it was some sight watching him smash the Great Great Allan Donald who in that match gave 34 runs in his spell of 10 overs that too with 12 off the 3 boundaries that Yuvraj hit in his last over. Allan Donald, the speed machine of his time, it took me hours to imitate his bowling style, especially the jump before he released the ball, turned half a kilometer away from the stumps while in the air :)
On the crease with our Number 12 Yuvraj Singh was one of the greatest (of course after Sachin Tendulkar), our Dada who scored 141 runs off 142 balls in this match. With thin, natural, unstyled moustache Dada seemed in great touch. Later in the match, while India was balling, I even saw Lumble sporting similar moustache. Chehre pe massomiyat jhalakti thi
Then it was that one delivery when Yuvraj tried to clear the park off Kallis and ended up being caught by another Great Legend, Jonty Rhodes. A player jiske haath mein ball khud aakar gir jati hai, the man who never missed stumps! Asli Cricket?
Guess what happened when Yuvi left? The not so slim, India's then Jonty Rhodes, the person who smacked Zimbabwe in one of the matches I can see blurred images of, Robin Singh came on the crease. That peculiar posture, the way he held the bat, memories :) He was out the first ball, run out, in a mix up with Dada (something which wasn't new, I mean like quite a few times in the match, I could rightly predict what is going to happen next, ganguly being involved in a run out wasn't new).
This was still ok, but eyes went wide open and needed to be rubbed twice when I saw Vinod Kambli on the crease. Out first ball to give way to Vijay Dahiya and slowly other names who had guest appearances in the Indian Cricket Team started coming to my mind. India ended up scoring 295 and soon the South African innings started. I was smiling from ear to ear to see now-our-coach, Gary Kirsten walking down the field followed by few of his brilliant well-timed, zero-power shots for 4s. Another chotta sa masoom ladka, Zaheer Khan then bowled a superb yorker to get rid of Andrew Hall. This reminded me of what was commonly said about him then, 6 ki 6 yorker daal sakta hai yeh, kamaal hai, express bullet ki tarha jaati iski gend
I then witnessed the greatest ever Sachin on the field with number 99 on his back. Those were the days. Kal bhi aaj bhi, Sachin the cricketer and Bucknor the umpire. Along with Bucknor was the Sandeep Patil resembling Peter Willey. All this while I was waiting for Prasad to get that one edge and the umpire's finger to go up so that Prasad can then run down the pitch with the index finger of his left hand up in the air, but that didn't quite happen, though he did bowl that famous 'leg cutter'. I missed Srinath, Cullinan and Cronje :(
Cricket I think has become much more competitive now as compared to then. When it came to fielding it was common to see Cover stretching out his hand pointing towards the extra cover, asking him to go after the ball, the fielder running along the boundary in an effort to stop the ball coming towards the boundary, failing, because he wouldn't dive, just run. All this could be seen, along with the famous rectangular view on the top-left of the screen, showing what the batsmen are upto. Asli Cricket :)
Past experiences do create stereotypes in your mind, which are proven to be correct as in the case of Agarkar being thrashed by the powerful greatness, The Maritzburg Mamba, Lance Klusener who hit the ball so hard that it travelled to the boundary line 100 times faster than Shoaib Akhtar could perhaps ever ball. And when this ball hit the Pepsi board at the boundary, the bang sound was enough to tell you that Klusener hit that one. Talking about stereotypes, it wasn't only the case with Agarkar, but also when I saw Dada standing on the slip, with Kumble balling. I somwhow, knew he would miss if there was a catch and he did! Not once but twice, consecutively. But her was quick (thoda quick) in moving himself out and getting Dravid there. Finally, India won this match but eventually lost to New Zealand in the finals.
Kya din the, kya Cricket tha, 50 over, mahaan player, mahaan batting, woh kalaiyon ka upyog, woh cricket text book se seedha utha ke rakha hua Dravid ka Cover Drive, Long on Long off ko cheerta hua Sachin ka chauka, Bharat ke opening GendBaazo ki description mein likha hua "Right Arm Medium", woh Pavillion End se aate huey Javagal Srinath.
Wahi to tha Asli Cricket!

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desh said...

mahaan match tha woh
all this debate abt 50 ovr cricket is bakwaas, it will live on, it has too, otherwise bhagwana ke records waste ho jaayenge :)

Dk said...

is match ka ek mahan moment...prasad bowls a useless ball, kirsten plays, robin singh misfields...runs back and throws run out gary kirsten :)

today...prasad is our bowling coach...robin singh fielding coach and Kirsten overall coach.. :P

aur Sachin Rahul Bhajji Yuvraj sab wahi ke wahi hain :D

Prateek said...

haan... nice observation...i remember seeing it.. was first putting pics also... but cricinfo had written ki pehle permission lo... so just let it be the way it is now..

waise is match mein Sachin ne bhi same wahi 6 different type of deliveries ke over kiye the... kuch ball it ni short ki umpire ke peeche tappa khaati thi... kuch batsman tak pahuchti nahi thi :P

desh said...


sachin ke deadly medium pace bowling ek benson hedges series ke match main dikhi thi

40 ovrs ho gaye the, west indies ka ek hi batsman tha, koi lefty, saare main bowlers khatam, azhar bhai sachin ko laaye
sachin ne medium pace daali jo deadly swing hui, aur slip par azhar ne catch pakda

yeh us zamaane ki baat hai jab india kaale kapde pehenti thi

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Subin Jameel said...

Hello Prateek,

I saw your post about center Fresh Cricket cards.
I too remember collecting them painstakingly when I was young...I used to stay in Chandigarh at the time.
Collecting them was a huge hobby, unfortunately not so nowadays.

I gave away all my cards when I was young...this was so long back, I don't even remember how the cards look anymore...
I was hoping you have some cards for sale...

I am also a collector, but I collect rare Indian comics books...I have a page.
you can check it out..

However I wish to get some cards now for my nostalgia sake...I can't start collecting from scratch now..

I could also give you many vintage comics in exchange as well...These are also very rare and hard to come by, and not to mention..can be sold more easily as they are always in demand.

Do let me know Prateek, hope we can work something out. :)

It would be better if you sent me a mail at as response

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