In honour of Taj Malik, cricket and Out of the Ashes, here is a few cricket origin stories for you. These are the competition winners each of them owning a copy of Out of the Ashes on DVD.
I was first introduced to cricket by my Dad. He would sit there for hours watching cricket on the BBC and I never took much interest at first. In fact, at first, it bored the hell out of me and I could not understand his fascination. As soon as he stuck it on I would just go and kick a ball about in the garden.
Anyway because I could see how much it delighted him to watch cricket, my curiosity was aroused and I forced myself to sit there and watch it with him. At first maybe I was just enjoying it because he was enjoying it but slowly over time, maybe many months, I started to pick up on the vagaries and wonder of the sport. Discussions of short legs and silly mid off’s were the spark in my young mind to make me think there was a lot more to this sport than meets they eye. I just had to know more.
One of my earliest cricketing memories was staying up late to watch the Ashes down under with my Dad. It was about 11pm and the hype had been building all day, because England were almost in a strong position and Gooch was at the wicket. My Dad and I spent all day wondering if Gooch would take the Aussies apart. Anyway 12 o’ clock arrived and Craig McDermott with his war paint on came steaming in. He bowled a full toss! Go on Goochie, smack it for six! Instead he smacked it straight back to McDermott for a caught and bowled. Classic Moment! From that moment on and for the next ten or so years I got used to fearing the hell out of the Aussies. They were absolutely awesome but I didn’t care. In fact part of me almost revelled in their glory. What other sport can make the viewer admire the opposition in such a way.
Needless to say I have been hooked ever since. Cheers Dad!
The Alt Cricket Almanack:
Ravi Shastri introduced me to cricket. I met him when I was 10 years old. He told me: “If cricket is the earth, then I am your sun.” Rameez Raja appeared from the shadows, brushed Shastri aside and said: “Yes son, and I am your moon.” They then both proceeded to explain to me the vagaries of cricket. I asked them about the LBW law, but they just said it was so complicated, that they’d been in the game for 20 years and even they didn’t understand. So they called in Rudi Koertzen and Daryl Harper. They proceeded to argue that sometimes it was just ‘necessary’ to give a batsman out, even when the laws would advise otherwise. The conversation descended into an argument about racism, cheating, and ice cream. Towards the denouement, an elderly lady with a delightful northern accent interrupted proceedings. She brought out a tray, with a steaming pot of tea and home-made strawberry jam scones. Everybody shut the fuck up, looked at each other, and proceeded to scoff. It’s irrelevant that Harper and Koertzen refused to share the same pot of tea as the other two. On that day, I experienced cricket’s extremist tokenism, made-up rules and awesome teas. I was sold.
Introduced by a teacher called Johnson
Who always took nets with his pads on
He coached a mean drive
But mainly took pride
In a craftily found single run
Javed chacha, our geriatric Hyderabadi manservant (and the only bowIer I ever hit for six. He was eighty-four at the time and the boundary was nineteen yards). A devoted fan of food, Venkatapathy Raju (yes, parochialism is blind, tone-deaf and retarded) and Indian cricket, in that order, chacha declared Raju’s omission from the Indian team a CIA conspiracy and announced he’d fast until Raju was reinstated. He was discovered discreetly tucking into a kebab six minutes later.
My teacher introduced me when he found out I was a leftie, as he needed an ‘awkward’ bowler, which I presumed meant ‘shite’. I picked it up from there, yet my batting is probably more ‘awkward’ than my bowling nowadays… Yup, I’m still shite.
I was introduced to cricket by Steve Harmison. Before that 7-12, english cricket was just bad news in sports pages and a cursory glance at Middlesex results (inevitably more bad news). Since that spell of bowling I’ve been hooked – I just watched the entire Pakistan – NZ ODI series!
Mike Lloyd when I was ten. In the cricketing hotbed of South West Wales. I was immediately introduced to the concepts of “joining the dots” and “pre-ssure, pre-ssure!” He’d coach the under-everythings 4 nights a week and play on Saturdays and Sundays. He’s still miles, miles better than me. LAAARVELY!!!
My dad introduced me to cricket during the 1996 cricket world cup. The cable television that my brother and I had for so long begged for suddenly became a reality and we were soon finding that supersport was a far better channel than the cartoon network. The rest is history…
Mum was born with a spinal problem where two of her cervical vertebrae were fused together, meaning she was hospitalised and had very limited movement until the age of 10. She would often lie immobile in bed and pass the time by listening to cricket on the radio. Surgery partially rectified her mobility issues, but she maintained a love of cricket which I inherited at a very early age. Due to her back problems she could never throw overarm, but she keenly became my first fielding coach and would spend hours using freakish wrist dexterity to flick a ball underarm everywhere in our backyard for me to take those speccy catches every 8 year old kid loves to try. As a result I became a reasonable wicketkeeper, but (possibly, most likely not) due to my coach’s inability to bowl, crap batsman. It mattered little – mum was always my number one fan, and could tell me exactly what happened after attending every game of junior cricket as a scorer, and a good deal of senior cricket too, often to my teenage embarrassment. She’s still turning up, and I’m 24, but now I appreciate it a lot more.
My brother (nine years older than me) was the one who introduced me to cricket.He would thrash me everywhere goading me for poor fielding and leg side balls. When I occasionally got to bat he would bowl vicious bouncers at me and use a ball that was half burnt to swing more. But still I loved every minute of it trying to best him and now I am a complete cricket fanatic watching every minute of cricket that I can and follow it all over the world.