Thursday, February 23, 2006

Street Cricket

A recent forward from Maverick took me back to the days when we played cricket on the streets. Since our house was on one of those residential streets without much traffic, 'street cricket' was an everyday happening and the words below were part of my everyday vocabulary.

When it came to 'street cricket', playing the game was the only priority and real-world limitations didn’t matter. Cricketing rules were meant to be bent as long as we could squeeze in some cricket. If there wasn’t enough time, we played a “fixed-overs match” and if there was no space, we played an “underarm match”. Everything from broken sticks to lines drawn on a compound wall or tree to the street kuppai thotti served as stumps. Buying rubber balls was responsible for the single biggest slice of my pocket money pie and when I decided to splurge, I bought a brand-new tennis ball.

It wasn’t without hazards though. Square cuts and lofted drives that went awry usually resulted in broken windows or dented scooters and cars. Unsuspecting passers-by received nasty bruises or came close to having an accident on their bikes. And our zeal to stop a speeding ball or effect a spectacular catch threw us in the path of a speeding vehicle many times too.

Every street had its own game but our street's game had a little added glamour. Remember actor Suresh, who paired with Nadhiya in a bunch of movies? His sister-in-law, i.e. Anita's sister, lived in the ground floor of our house and so he used to join the game whenever he visited them. Naturally, the number of onlookers increased when he played. That, I think, is the closest I came to playing before a crowd :-)

So here are the definitions from the mail that took me down memory lane... (the mail has been edited both for content and to fit in the space allotted)

Mattai - The piece of wood to be used as the cricket bat. Need not confirm to geometrical trivialities.

Gaaji - The indian reference for an 'inning'.

Double Gaaji - An exceptional scenario wherein a batsman can bat twice if there are a shortage of players in the side.

Osi Gaaji - A scenario where some stranger wants to bat for a couple of balls just for fun and then carry on with his work

Bongu - The slang word used if a team unfairly cheats the other team while playing.

Full Cover - A situation where in a batsmen is taking a half stump guard thereby covering the complete stumps from the view of the bowler. Since street cricket typically do not have a LBW it is very difficult to get a batsman out, if he covers the stump fully

One pitch catch - A rule where a batsman gets out when a fielder catches it even after the ball pitches once.

Full fast - Since street cricket pitches are a few yards long, a ball which is thrown with full pace and energy is considered a no ball as it will be impossible to handle such pace with short distance
Waiteees - When batsman/any fielder gets distracted from the game due to highly technical reasons like a vehicle crossing the road when a ball is bowled

Common Fielding - Due to lack of number of fielders, it is possible that people from batting team who are not actually doing batting have to field or do wicket keeping or for that matter even umpiring

Dokku - A derogatory term for a defensive shot.

Baby Over - When a bowler has no hopes of completing his over with lots of wides and no balls he is substituted by a better bowler and the over is called a Baby Over.

Uruturadhu - When the bowler is unable to extract any meaningful bounce from the pitch. Sometimes used as a defensive tactic.

Thadavuradhu - When a batsman is not able to make any contact with the ball using his bat.

Suthuradhu - Same as slogging in cricket.

Trials - This is the first ball bowled in the match. Usually claimed after the first ball is bowled.

All-reals..first ball - This indicates the actual start of the match.


At 11:37 PM, Blogger Kaps said...

I think there a Wikipedia entry for this category....I remember seeing similar stuff there.

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too good Balaji .. Strange how there are so many common words irespective of the street gang ..

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

kaps, hmmm... the mail might've originated from wiki for all we know :)

anon, yep. and this email really made me miss them :)

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

mav, aaah so thats where it came from :)

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Balaji, A nice read, this.. I too posted on this topic long time ago when I was a bit active..

At 3:11 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:14 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

BB, I didn't know about this Wiki entry when I fwd-ed that mail :)

Check out this for Madras Bashai -

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

Wikipedia la konjam neram browse pannen. Idhelaam konjam too much

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The happiest moment was when we got "over-Gaaji" :)


At 9:04 AM, Blogger Vee Cee said...

We used the term 'pee-uruttal' for an extreme version of uruttal - where the ball just hugs the ground all the way to the batsman. Just curious if this was a common term to all areas??

Of course, during summer holidays, inter-street matches (some of them using a cork ball or the actual cricket ball) used to be the rage. To think that we used to be utterly unaffected by the heat.

At 12:46 PM, Blogger Rama said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger narayanan said...

have u heard the term 'joker': usually one guy acts as a common fielder for both teams. This happens when there are odd number of people to play.

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