It is Qatar national sports day today.
The Emir has graciously declared it as a holiday. He wants people to play on a day, which I think is an extremely good gesture, seeing that more and more kids as well as adults seem to be avoiding the open grounds.
To honour the Emir’s wishes, we decided to play cricket. Truth be told, we Indians simply don’t need a reason to play cricket. My friend took me to a place where I could see a lot of like minded enthusiasts playing the game. We set the boundary lines, the pitch to play on, all the usual rituals on the lines of “who will bat first, should be me since it is my bat”…
During the course of play i noticed a few things which made playing Cricket in this desert, a new and exiting experience.
- The ground was extremely windy. So every so often, you had to shift the body so that the back can be against the wind. This protected the eyes from the sand particles.
- The ball always got a natural swing due to the strong winds. So when trying to throw the ball, wind had to be taken into consideration which gave you the feeling of being a sniper or an archer.
- Since the batsman had to run against the wind to score a “run”, it was easy enough for the fielders to get him run-out and the batsman got a good cardio out of it. Although, in later stages of game, smart batsmen(like me) stopped running and relied heavily on big shots to score runs.
- You could shout all you wanted against the wind, no one will hear your screams.
- You spend most of the time fetching the ball from a nicely placed shot. This shot could be of any other pair of teams playing on the ground. But in good faith, and hoping that they would do the same when your ball went into their play area, you have to retrieve the ball and throw it across.
- You could ask one of the friends who does not want to play(there is always one) to fetch the balls in distant places on the ground, using his car. Petrol is cheap, take advantage of this fact by driving it around for no apparent reason than to fetch the ball
- Your hands, especially the forearms start to pain after 4 hours. Do not type anything for atleast two day. ( I am in a lot of pain right now, but had already started to type when the pain hit me. I don’t like to keep things unfinished.)