On a Lively Pitch by Ramakrishnan S

Amma seems nowhere near happy with her second prize, ‘ball- throw’ being her forte.  After all she taught off- spin and orthodox- spin bowling to the legendary first class Club/League cricketer, Kannan Mama from age three, with no less dexterity than did Dennis Lillee to Santhakumaran Jr.  She taught him, in off spin bowling, the possibilities of unvarying pace, accuracy, line and loop of the ball.  Muttiah would have been slightly better if he had received some good bowling lessons in time. Why Muttiah, all and sundry from Saqlain Muzhtaq to Nathan Lyon will finefit the context.

So let us see what actually happened.   The target was a pyramidal structure of six tumblers.  A Mami, former Vanitha Vibhagam office bearer, came to the event late as usual, disapproved the unclean tumblers right away but left the ball without comment.   She enquired the rules of the competition and demanded a wild cat entry.   Venky, who was in charge of registration, had slight reservation of spot admission but Mami overruled him promptly.  Vanitha Vibhagam bye-law had ample provisions, she claimed.  Venky perfectly knew they never had a bye-law, written, read or otherwise.  But he possessed the good sense aplenty not to provoke.  As the sporting spectacle eventually progressed,  Sreenivasa Iyer Road, to everybody’s delight, resembled  Dinsha Wacha Road.

Amma was the first to contest.  She studiously went about the distance of the pitch, the stability of the target, the weight and quality of the ball, Samooham weather conditions like temperature, humidity, wind velocity, noise levels and other noticeables that could thwart her action and accomplishment.  A word about the quality of the ball needs special mention.  It was not a five layer kookaburra but one out of Kumbalanghi from suburban Ernakulam.  The Kumbalanghi factory , manufacturer of balloons, in a rationalization measure,  tried  diversification by making a first and last batch of rubber balls.  It never sold. Salim Rhea, mall owner, looking for some cheapest toys on our planet and on Mars, zeroed in on the Kumbalanghi balls by chance or design.  The tray of rubber balls consumed avoidable space in his shop till Venky with like motives purchased one and got one free.   The ball was seamless as regards its seam.  It did not have an exactly spherical shape.  It was believed that even an untrained set of wrist and fingers could unintentionally deliver mindboggling doosras with this ball.

Amma had one clean hit, a master piece dislodging the tumbler on the right side.  Ten youngsters of Brahmana Cricket Club followed.  All are bowlers, owning remarkable records in the concept of “stone’s throw” in mango groves during scorching  summer.  Their mark was just miles away, justifying our scores in the inter Brahmin Cricketing Extravaganzas.  Now followed the Mami in action.  She did not like a bit, the jokes of Venky at the registration counter and seemed determined not to waste her rare chance.  Aiming directly at the nose of Venky, she released the ball fast and furious.  Venky, understandably did not duck but the ultimate result was stunning.  Four tumblers rolled by.  Mami bagged the first prize, setting a fresh and formidable Samooham record.

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