Our Class Cricket Team could have lost the final of the 8-A-SIDE CRICKET TOURNAMENT 2008, but there couldn’t have been a worse time to win. Because failure could be a monster; it censors nothing except the good. Things could have gone spiralling down with failure, especially in a Boys’ School environment. It was also the start of blame games. Back-pitch was the venue for this tournament, which was being organised by locals. The venue was packed with spectators from Boys’ School and locals, all around the Pushtas. It was an 8-a-side Tournament, with one inning of 5 Overs. Total 12 teams participated in this tournament.

Members of Class Cricket Team, which was led by me, consisted of Pranjal, Imran, Shantanu, Kamal, Aman Singh, Jauhari Shivam and Prashant.

We entered the tournament as favourites. Back-pitch was like a home ground for our class, as we played most of our cricket on back-pitch. We won all our league matches and entered the quarter final. We easily won the quarter final and fixed our berth for semi-final against the Local Team, which was led by our pass-out senior Kamal Kishore Sir. This match was very crucial, as we were supported and watched by the whole school. It was a matter of pride. Thanks to every member of our team, especially Shantanu, who enthralled us with some hefty blows, hitting the ball as far as Subramaniam Sir’s roof. And we won the semi-final. The other team to reserve the final berth was Class XII, led by Sandeep.

So the high voltage final was between Class X and XII. Both teams had remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. The sun was setting, I won the toss and decided to chase, as we had been doing in all our previous games. We restricted them to an average total. When we came down to bat, it became dark and it was difficult for our batsmen to spot the ball. We lost a few important wickets in quick succession. Our main hitter of the tournament was also back in the dug-out. We needed 14 runs in the last over with just two wickets remaining. I could hear the discussion of my classmates and seniors, they all blamed me for selecting to chase and not thinking of weather conditions. I remember, I was quiet and calm, as I believed in the ability of my batsmen. With almighty’s grace, we won the match with one ball to spare and the heroes of the final were Kamal and Imran. We got a cash prize of Rs.800. Thankfully, we sustained our cricket supremacy at the back-pitch.

After two years, when we were in Class XII, the second edition of the same tournament was organised. This time, we entered the tournament as defending champions. There were a few new faces in our team, which was led by me. Pranjal, Kamal, Imran retained their places, whereas Rahul Chauhan, Rajkamal, Anshul Dixit and Nikhilesh Bhandari were the new faces. This time, we had more pressure on us as we were the senior-most class of school and five out of eight members of my team were also part of school cricket team. We won all our matches and booked our berth for final, the other team which made the cut being Class X, led by Rahul Aswal. Like earlier, this time again the clash was between Class X and Class XII, but the teams were completely changed.

In the final, I won the toss again, but keeping the last time’s condition in my mind, I decided to bat first. And our batting order collapsed, we were all out for 6 runs. They needed just 7 runs to win this tournament. It seemed very easy to everyone as scoring 7 runs in 30 balls was very easy. Before, we came out to bowl, I motivated the boys in team hurdle that we shouldn’t lose hope and this was our last time. If we lose today, we won’t get another chance as that was our last year in Jharipani. And my final words, “Let’s restrict them to five”. And spectators enjoyed the best bowling performance ever, first two overs went maiden and in another three overs they just scored five, that too because we conceded two wides. We won the match by just 1 run, the hero of this match being none other than Pranjal. And thankfully, we won the second consecutive title.

But the final game was a fine example of how good a team can turn out to be when the bowlers are consistent with their lines and lengths and executing plans. A few dot balls or wickets gets the energy levels on the field high.

I must mention that our class was most passionate when it came to cricket.

Excerpts from my book ‘Life around an acorn’.

– Modassir Mushtaque

This piece was shared by Modassir Mushtaque (School Vice Captain, Patel House Captain & School Cricket Captain, Session 2009-10) on April 19, 2018.


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