Cricket – A game for the Handicapped? By Noor R. Rahim
Travelling from the Airport to their Beach Hotel two Elderly American ladies saw many people gathered around radios and Television Sets enroute to their Hotel. The crowds were very vociferous with dancing, flag waving and generally appearing happy in a carnival like atmosphere.
Once at the Hotel they enquired if there was a Festival being celebrated as they had seen people on the road making merry. The receptionist explained that today was the “Final Test Cricket Match” against the visitors from “down under”. With a win today we would sweep them away and “bury” them, as we had won two of the three already. The festive mood in the streets is because we have already won the series.
After refreshing themselves they strolled out to the Beach Cabana with their drinks and Transistor Radio to take in the sun and for a dip in the ocean. Tuning in to the local station they listened to some popular Western music when the commentator announced. “A very good morning to everyone; and welcome to the Oval Stadium; where we are about to commence the Third and Final Test in the series. Our Team has won the toss and has decided to put in the visiting team to bat first. Our team is now walking out to the field after the Umpires have taken their positions. Over to the Station for a message from the sponsors”.
The two ladies were anxious to learn about this game after seeing all the happenings on the streets. The Commentator continued: “Welcome back to the Oval. The Captain has placed his field to the opening fast bowler. There is the wicket keeper with one slip and a gully; a leg slip; short fine leg; a short backward square leg; a deep square leg; a silly mid-on; a mid-off; long-off; and a third man”.
“Ethel! Did you hear that? What wonderful people they are. I cannot imagine the grandeur in which these people are promoting and celebrating a sport played by the physically handicapped. It appears that most of them are paraplegics. They have players with short legs; square legs; silly guys; guys with mid offs and others. Furthermore, they are playing people from down under. Surely this country should be emulated by the other countries. We must write to our Congressmen back home and bring these humanitarian and wonderful efforts of these people to the notice of our Sports Bodies and all concerned. As a matter of fact this game must be adopted in our country too “.
“I agree wholeheartedly with you Elaine. Let’s make this a priority. I’m glad I came on a holiday here and am thoroughly enlightened” – She replies
They continue to listen to the commentary.
“We have the bowler taking his run and bowls over the wicket. It’s a very fast in-swinger and the Batsman snicks it between leg slip and square leg; and is being chased by the fine leg. He has managed to save the boundary and sends the ball flying back to the wicket keeper. Meanwhile the batsmen are scrambling to get the third run. I think he is going to be run out as the wicket keeper has stumped him with the ball. The batsman’s sprawling to the ground to crease the bat has been of no avail. That however was a very heroic effort but I think he is winded after the fall and is being assisted by the Umpire and the Wicket Keeper”.
“The next batsman takes his guard; the bowler comes in and bowls a leg-break and he has got him on the leg; plumb in front of the wicket and I can see the Umpire’s finger going up. Yes! He’s given out and you can hear the jubilant crowd roaring with joy and approval, at the decision. And we see the dejected batsman dragging his feet back to the Pavilion, to the wild and jubilant chants of the spectators”.
The Ladies did not want to hear anymore of this. “Ethel! My God! These guys are enjoying seeing the handicapped being injured harassed and enjoying every minute of it. Reminds you of the ancient Romans and the slaves in the Arena; but this is worse they are doing this to the physically handicapped. We want nothing of this in our Great Country. Let’s lobby the Congress when we get back not to allow this game into our Country”.
“I agree Elaine. Let’s enjoy our drinks and our Sun & Fun Holiday and leave these beasts to enjoy their exercise in inhumanity; with such impunity that they even broadcast a ball by ball description of this so called cricket game”.
So Dear Reader; It’s just the perception. Thank God we now have Television.
Noor R. Rahim
13th September 2013.