cricket being very much in the air and in the news nowadays, it made me
reminisce about my brief foray into the game of cricket.
My association with good cricket can be compared to a miniskirt ?short but
spectacular. The first time was as a boundary line spectator in an
inter-school final match in which my school was getting a drubbing. A ball
that had strayed outside the boundary line was thrown in by me in the
general direction of the pitch. It landed on the skull of the opposing
teamís star batsman (the wearing of helmets was not in vogue in those days),
despatching him to the Civil Hospital, resulting in a victory for our school
and my inclusion as twelfth man in our school team for seasons to come.
However, attempts to emulate my previous performance met with little or no
The second occasion was in an inter-gymkhanas match (where I was included in
my gymkhana team at the eleventh hour for want of any other person being
available), when I was responsible for getting the captain out for a duck at
a very crucial stage of the match. Unfortunately, we were both on the same
side. I was dreaming of a quick double at the clubís bar when the captain
called for a quick single?and he was naturally run out. Needless to
mention, we lost the match. The look on the captainís face whenever our
paths crossed at the gymkhana would have launched a thousand advertisements
for castor oil.
The third occasion was when I once again played for my gymkhana ?this time
under the same captain who was coerced by the gymkhana committee to include
me in the final eleven. We were at a very crucial stage of the match with
the opposite teamís last batsman in, the last over to be bowled, and only
two runs required. Much to my surprise, our captain handed the ball to me to
bowl the last over (to this day, I have a feeling he did that on purpose so
that he could pin the blame on me for losing the match). In the true
tradition of Freddy Trueman and Wesley Hall, I rolled up my sleeves, took a
long run-up, and bowled a fast ball moving out with the arm away from the
off-stump. I sprained my ankle on the delivery of that ball, yelled in pain
and the Umpire had no hesitation in giving the batsman out. The Umpireís
decision was preposterous because the batsman had nothing to do with that
ball ?anyway, the Umpire handed the match to us on a silver platter. The
poor batsman walked back dejected while my teammates were patting my ankle
with unconcealed delight.
For the last many years now, my cricket has, as accountants would say,
depreciated to book value and my game is confined to watching TV or reading
newspapers. Last month, I came out of retirement and played in a match
organised by my residential colony between the Ladies?XI and the
Gentlemenís XI. But being brought up as a thorough gentleman, I contributed
in no small measure to the victory of the former.
And so, friends, I bid you goodbye and, like they say at the end of the
game, return you to the studio to carry on with whatever you were doing
prior to your sharing my reminiscences.
Sam F. Ayem
Personnel & Administration