The feeling of a fresh Ranji season
A fresh cricket season exudes fresh air. It pops up new stars, fresh talent emerges from the cycle of the system, and seasoned players get on with their businesses. Hope is the only common factor amongst all the cricketers as they "hope" that this would be their breakthrough season.
I know the feeling precisely.
Not so long ago, there was a period in the packed cricketing calendar year as an off season. It used to be in the months of summer and monsoon (April to September) to be precise. It used to be a great break for a cricketer, to be away from the normal taam-zham of the circus around you when you are playing for your state.
The usage of the break was varied. Each to his own, I preferred to go to the shores of England to sharpen my cricket skills. But little did I know that it would shape me as a person too. Professionalism around, engulfs you there. Time discipline, coaching the youngsters, fitness, expectation pressures are a few of many aspects you learn going along. I was blessed to have found a home with a British family in my early years of education.
But come September you crave to get back to your origin. I used to have a broad smile on my face at Manchester Airport, half of it was because I was leaving for my homeland and the other half for the memories with friends of the past few months.
Back to the grind in India.
You always looked forward for the season. Fitter and raring to go was the attitude you possessed after the break. Preparation was the ultimate indication of things to come. But no matter what you have practised, how fit you seem to be, nothing and I mean nothing compares to a match situation.
I used to insist on playing a few games before the 1st first class match. It took at least a couple of games before you hit the straps. For a batsman, a good amount of time spent at the crease and of course a few runs behind is the Ultimate thing. Your body clocks it again and then you are back to where you belong.
The first few games are of paramount importance. A good outing can give you the head start you need for that "Hope" to turn into reality.
Every batsman desires one big knock and if it comes around October time then 'Diwali' is a happy one. Going by the first game, Prithvi Shaw and Prashant Chopra must be having that feeling.
The knock of Prithvi Shaw in the Duleep Trophy finals was exceptional. The traits of batsmanship that was on display in the tough conditions were exemplary. Very rarely do you get to see a knock of the highest quality. It seemed to be a perfect knock: full of confidence, patience, concentration, sound technique, aggression.
But the one quality that really set him apart was his trust in his solid defence. Here comes another artist from the Mumbai Gharana of batting. Given his talent, success is bound to follow.
But what he does with it is the million dollar question. If he can handle it with the same maturity and stoic as his Lucknow innings, then this won't be just a splash in the pool.
Prashant Chopra must be feeling at the top of the moon with the triple hundred he scored - on his birthday. To get a hundred is good effort, to get double is a special feat, but to get a triple in the very first game is extraordinary.
That's how you knock or break open the selection doors. Interesting thing about the knock was the pace at which he scored at the end of the first day he already had 218. As my Yorkshire teammates would have said " it's a bluuddy good effert"
As another season unfolds, hope it has best in stored.
Have a safe and sound(proof) Diwali!