On hearing the name, what first comes in our mind is the childhood memories when we used to play outdoor cricket usually every day with a broken piece of wooden plank locally named as the ‘bat’ and a torn cricket ball. Neglecting all our daily chores, we used to go to any narrow street where we used to play cricket. After calling all our friends to the and we used to start preparing the wickets. We tried to finish it fast because if it had been done in a small time, we could play a lot more matches before it had been dark. The games were generally full of cheating, innocent one though, most of the time. We could argue with everyone but we couldn’t prove. Still we argued, for that one batsman whom we brought from the neighbouring locality just to make our side heavier and often over some petty ‘No Balls’ and ‘Wide Balls’. But as the sun used to set, we all had to go back to our homes, though we wanted to stay there and continue playing somehow.
All of us, in our childhood used to play gully cricket. Not only boys but also girls, used to play in their childhood. We seemed to have developed a habit to go to the ground or the ‘gully’ at around 3 to 4 P.M. Evenings seemed unsaturated without visiting the park or playing the game. We could play it anywhere, be it grounds, not-so-busy roads or small places. The person who won the toss, had the habit of choosing batting and trying to put a big run chase on the board for the opponent.
There were some interesting rules of Gully Cricket, though the rules used to vary from place to place and situation to situation, some were like:
- If Sixes are allowed then the boundary used to be the walls of the houses. If it hits the wall it was fine and safe, but if it had hit the window of the house and the ball goes into the house or it breaks the glass of the window, we all used to run and flee from there and after sometimes the hitter had to bring the ball from there and also declare himself ‘Out’. If he was unable to do so he had to buy a ball like that to the person who owned the previous ball.
- We were used to playing with plastic balls. If the ball is heavy then the hard-hit shots became very dangerous and might injure the fielder in case he attempted to save it from going to the boundary line. Often for the sake of the fielder, we introduced a rule known as ‘One Drop One Hand’. In layman’s term if the ball dropped and touched the ground one before the fielder catching it using just a single hand then the batsmen was declared to be dismissed. This was effective against defensive players, or you may say the local Dravids and Laxmans.
- Most of the times the bricks were used as the wicket. If the bricks were not available then three bricks were collected and two were presented vertically for batting side wickets and the other was replaced at the bowling side.
- Wicket keeper was not mandatory, depending on the situation but the fielding side had to concede the runs, if the ball went in that area.
- You have to deliver your ball standing beside the wicket.
- Umpires were not permanent. The umpires, who stood in between the wickets most of the times, were the players of batting team.
- Sometimes there were given 1 or 2 runs on hitting a spot.
- Most of the time, it used to be small duration matches.
- First ball was always counted as a try ball.
- The captain of the fielding side had to shout and declare when they had a change in wicket keeper. Otherwise, the next ball was considered a ‘No ball’.
- Sometimes we tried to copy our favourite player’s signature styles. If this was appreciated by all then we felt like we have found a big achievement, in mimicking the greats. We can make a lot of runs and also can take a lot of wickets. It helped to enhance your athletic abilities and fitness. It also helped to build individual temperament on the field.
But nowadays most kids are addicted to indoor games specially on the phone, laptop and computer. Also there are fewer grounds available in this day. Constructions and apartments are occupying all the available free spaces nowadays. So, children have no other choice than to play indoors. Outdoor games help you to stay fit both mentally and physically. That’s why nowadays children face a lot of diseases. We should put in our efforts and make a move against illegal construction on the grounds. The government and municipality together, should look into this matter and take appropriate measures against such construction projects. Lest we may discover our next generation to be physically weak and mentally frustrated.