Who doesn't love gully cricket? School and college life is virtually incomplete without an evening match in the streets. With strange rules and regulations, gully cricket is excellent entertainment and an integral part of every Indian’s childhood.
Unlike professional cricket, rain cannot play spoilsport to gully cricket. In fact, it adds to the fun factor. With a wet ball and wet hands, your skills are tested to the core as the ball skids through the tarred road or cement slab.
But ever wondered if all your gully cricket skills would come into any use when playing mainstream cricket? If that fun evening, played with all seriousness, can add skills that many lack on the cricket pitch these days? If playing with a hard tennis ball, broken bat and bricks as stumps can make you a really good International cricketer? If that smart cutter delivery you bowled to your neighbour would hold you in good stead when playing for India?
The story of Pakistani legend Wasim Akram is an inspiration for every gully cricketer. The Pakistani was a virtually unknown cricketer who could not make it into his college team and only played club cricket. He attended Pakistan team selection trials at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium and his performance was so good that it convinced then Pakistan skipper, Javed Miandad, to include him in the national team.
So all your core gully cricket skills can come to use even if you have hardly played any proper club cricket. Not that everyone can be a Wasim Akram or MS Dhoni, but there are some skills that only a gully cricketer would know, that even Akram and Dhoni would love to have up their sleeves.
Now let's look at all those wonderful skills a gully cricketer has, that can come in handy in International Cricket.
#1 Tip, call and run
Running between the wickets is a key skill in cricket. Just like boundary making abilities are important, the basic rotation of strike is as important a capability as any. When the pressure gets going in Test cricket, the first thing coaches tell you to do is try and rotate the strike.
With close-in fielders all around the bat, it requires a special ability to dab the ball with little power, call your partner well and clear, and go for that single.
In gully cricket, one does this countless times. In gully cricket, you have 5-6 close-in fielders, whom you must elude with your placement to get that single. Each run counts. Just playing the ball in the gap would not do but You need to call your partner and run as quick as a hare. Every one of those 5-6 fielders is going to pounce on that ball and look to shatter your bricks.
There is a skill you must not miss, that lies between the drop-and-run calling – you need to know your non-striker's speed and his alertness to the situation while running. Calling out loud and clear is another thing coaches tell you, day in, day out at cricket clubs.
So that is 3 skills you have but you never knew - playing with soft hands, calling out to your non-striker clearly, running as quick as possible.