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“Hey! Nikumb, get the ball” His teammates yelled at him as the ball fell into one of the houses surrounding the ground. Nikumb was distraught as it was yet another match were he didn’t bowl. Moreover, it fell into Radhika Aunty’s house, that is one more reason why he refused to go. They somehow pressured him into to getting the ball. The deal was, by doing so he would get a chance to bowl in the next match.
The first impression you make lasts longer than you think. When he was given the ball in his first match he ran in like Akhtar and bowled at the pace of a Venkatesh Prasad's slower one. He batted like Glen McGrath, bowled like Dravid and fielded like Ramesh Powar. That is one combination you wouldn’t want to have. He also looked like a mini Ramesh Powar.
He slowly strutted towards Radhika aunty’s house.
Before he could start to ask, she shouted “You fools! How many times will you people hit the ball here”
Nikumb replied “Sorry aunty, if I bowled, it would go over your apartment can you suggest my name” cheekily
“My foot! You kids broke the window. Who will pay for it”
“Aunty I am not so sure about that, it seems to be made of wood”
“ Nothing doing! I wont give the ball” Said the stubborn lady
“Please aunty! Please!” said a puppy dog faced Nikumb
“Dont bring your puppy dog face once again. This is the last time” as she finally gave up.
Nikumb walked back with a sense of pride. Raja, the captain of his team said “Mr Speedy Gonzalez, we bought a new ball. You wont get a bowl hahaha”
Melvin, another team mate of his, noticed Nikumb’s shrinking face, “You bowl like a dream. But the problem is that the dream is a nightmare. Practice hard, you will get sweet dreams”
Nikumb went back home and googled everything about bowling. He mugged the basics like he did never before. If only, he had put this much into his exams, it would have been a lot better.
The next morning, he got up early and went to his backyard. He then drew the stumps on the wall and placed a leaf in the area, he wanted to pitch the ball. He bowled and bowled and bowled. He did the same for a week or so. But still he did not even manage to hit the mark once. He wasn't excellent but he graduated from a Dravid to Joginder Sharma
It was D-day and the day of the match he was looking for. It was a 10-over match and his team lost the ‘in or out challenge’ and they were sent to field. The team was doing very well; it was the end of 6th over and Raja called up Nikumb. Nikumb came sprinting and grabbed the ball. As he started to bowl, everyone came in front of him and shouted “ April fool! You are not going to bowl today, it was a prank. Didn't you see the calendar, it is April 1. I will give you the chance on April 31” Nikumb replied “I will be waiting for that day” Everyone laughed at Nikumb’s folly.
Melvin came up to Nikumb and said “Look! I am going to fake that I cant bowl today and ask them to give you the chance. Don't let me down”
Only one wicket was remaining, Melvin, as promised, faked that he cant bowl and suggested Raja to let Nikumb bowl. His team mate Pratik came up to Raja and said “Let him bowl it is ok even if we lost the match. It is only a friendly match” That really fired up Nikumb because Pratik didn't know anything about cricket. He would bowl a full toss and call it Yorker and believed reverse swing made the ball pitch and turn back towards the bowler. That was even worse than what Nikumb was.
This time it was for real. Nikumb ran in and bowled the first ball. The tailender closed his eyes and prayed Lord Ganesh and a gave a wild swing and it went for a six. Oh! Not all over again. Nikumb got stares from everyone but for Melvin. He said “Look Nikumb! bowl a bouncer. He would never hit that in his life. If you dont know how to bowl it. You just act as if your were breaking a coconut for Ganesha” Nikumb smiled at him and ran in to bowl. He tried to bowl a bouncer but only that it was a much more fuller. It turned to be a ‘Yorker’ and tattank, went the stumps. Melvin ran to him shouting “you lucky b*****d”. He bowled 2 balls and both were of extremes. One, a sixer and another, a Yorker.
The target was a meagre 63. But as fate would have all but one wicket was left. That wicket was of the great Nikumb, who gave Chris Martin a run for his money as the world’s worst batsman. It was the 8th over and only 4 runs were needed. All he had to do was to give the strike to Raja who was going great guns. But scoring a run in his “Merrian Webster dictionary” meant it was like getting a reply on twitter from a celebrity, very tough and unlikely.
Ball 1: Nikumb had a whack but only ends up fanning some air to the fielders
Ball 2: ditto and more air
Ball 3: ditto and much more air
Ball 4: Nikumb thought of Radhika aunty and whacked the ball. It connected, hurray he edged it and it was a single
Ball 5: Raja was on strike. Bang! it was a 4
That was it, the match was over and Raja hit the finishing runs. Raja then said “Nikumb I underestimated you. Perhaps you will get more chances now” Life has this way of kicking on the back side or patting on your back when you least expect. Nikumb was delighted and he never forgot that day because that was when he picked his first wicket and scored his first run and earned some respect from his mates. His team mates thought it was “fools Day” but no one knew that it was “The day of the so- called Fool”
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