When they decided to make cricket more popular they came up with a form called IPL which had its own set of rules to start with. Team allegiances were changed and the country wise fan following were jeopardized by the affinity for the local team.
Same happened in the backyard of the Houses of Kazhak when SocksBall Cricket had to be played. But we went a bit too far with modifications. The changes affected even the basics like bat, ball and stumps. Hockey sticks doubled up as bats, balled-up old pairs of socks made the balls and the wall-chalked stumps substituted. At the commencement of the game, the team captains moves to the centre of the court and decides upon the set of rules for the game. Rules regarding back runs, last man batting, scoring off lbw, tree fielders, single man batting, first ball out or not, wides, no balls, boundaries, fastness of the bowling, the negotiations rivaled a Japanese corporate take-over meeting.
Sample this : The walls of Rajaji House, on bounce is a four, smack down is a sixer, any window pane on full is a sixer and far out on the shoulders of the road leading to Tagore House without a bounce is a sixer and out (being closer to a Senior house like Ashoka, a threat of seniors engaging the fielder is high) . The roof of Rajaji House is six and out. One touch catch from a tree is out , but multiple bouncing on a tree is not out. Get the idea?
It was unpredictability with a capital U. One match wonder often stole the thunder. Cricket czars were cut to size by fleeting gladiators leaving cricket gurus with lips plastered cross. Shy of gambling their acquired fame from predictable regular cricket, the stalwarts in that game left the Colosseum of SBC vacant for the ones who dared. Hence we had another exclusive set of heroes for SBC battle hardened by ever frequent changes in fortunes. Hence they were heroes both on and off the field. A sixer, and all hell breaks loose. Chests bump, cheering shrill, and the shouting brings the roof down ushering in the festival of SBC. Feeding the SocksBall cricket, frenzy cadets always crowded around, aligned generally along the imaginary contour of the field loosely demarcated by landmarks carefully leaving the one day plants to live to see another day. Unlike in the dull cricket proceedings, in SBC with its electrifying atmosphere you don’t wait to get your eyes in and waste a couple of overs playing safe shots sapping the excitement. In SBC once you are in you are in it with your whole body, soul and spirit from the very first. Intense is the involvement, intense the passion, hence supplication the only refuge. Consequently, friendly matches were the ones that were most unfriendly, owing to lack of a dedicated umpires.
With the batsmen, bowler and fielders all very animated, in comes Jayashanker, umpiring matching the prevalent spirit. With his animated actions and incendiary temper, even the act of umpiring was a treat for the eyes. Here I venture to make a remark that he invented the Billy Bowden-ism of signaling in cricket ahead of the man himself. His signaling carried a chilling gravity as it somehow conveyed the celebration of someone’s insult rather than the jubilation at some one’s triumph which were simultaneous occurrences in this game.
Like in the case of normal cricket which started in Sussex and Kent carried forward as Krekket by English school students and which went onto become a religion in many countries, hope SBC spreads its spirit to all corners of the world in the days to come. And when they record the history of this game, it is hoped that its origin be rightfully assigned to this school, and the fiery matches which used to be played in the backyard of houses be remembered.
Here is a close cousin od SocksBall Cricket. Almost.