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It’s cricket, just cricket


Altered State

By Jamie Alter

Its arguing with Saad over who’s better,
Sachin or Lara

It’s drinking tea with Ehtesham
As over the radio you hear
Zaheer bowl Steve Waugh

It’s discussing Sachin’s batting
With Kabir, India vs England, 3rd Test,

It’s calling up Nikhil at 3 a.m.
To tell him Saurav won the toss

It’s waking up to check the score,
And then wishing you’d never gotten
Out of bed

It’s hearing Chattha talk about
The time he bumped into Shoaib

It’s Imran telling you he stood
Up in the stands at Gaddafi
To clap for Sachin

It’s finding out that you
Were once at the same
Match in Bombay as
Karan and Nilesh

It’s telling Cato that India
Will beat Zimbabwe on
February 19, 2003

It’s Cato telling you that they can’t

It’s Jamal swearing by
Wasim Akram as the
Greatest fast bowler

It’s sitting with Deval
And Avais as India
Struggle against Holland

It’s getting an extension wire
Down to the basement of

It’s walking to Lowry
At a quarter to seven in
The morning to get coffee
After Sehwag has blazed his
Way to a century against England

It’s talking with Tim
The cable guy about
India’s chances at the
World Cup

It’s telling Mrinal to
Bet on Symonds not scoring
And then watching him
Hit an unbeaten 143

It’s Mrinal cursing you
On the phone after he
Has lost twenty-five dollars

It’s running to Andrews in
The middle of the night when
Varun tells you that India
Is batting

It’s remembering with Zoheb about
The time when Akram
Squared up Russel Arnold and then
Clapped for him

It’s square driving in your
Room in the middle of the
Night as Yuvraj drives McGrath to
The fence

It’s Ankit telling you to
Keep it down since he’s got an
Exam in the morning

It’s Ankit dancing three hours later
When he hears India won

It’s analysing the toss
With Imran and hearing
Chattha give his own opinion

It’s talking about Kwazulu-Natal
and the Nicky Oppenheimer XI
with Mustafa

It’s giving Zareef a hard time
After Canada upset the

It’s figuring out at 4 a.m. on
A hot night in July that
The guy who’s name you and Saad
Were trying to remember two hours ago
Was Atul Wassan

It’s Shikhir telling you about
A South African batsman
Called Callaghan or Collins who couldn’t face
Shane Warne

It’s telling him that he means
To say Daryll Cullinan

It’s Jamal telling Mustafa
And you that Steve Waugh
Is a fighter

It’s planning the whole World Cup
Set up with Varun and
Then breathing a sigh of relief
When it’s done

It’s sixteen guys packed into
A dark room in Babcock, regardless
Of race and religion, cheering
India on to a famous series
Victory against Australia

It’s Sajal emailing you an
Article highlighting Nepal’s
Win in the ICC Championship

It’s Saad Dada asking you
What time the match begins

It’s explaining to two football jocks
That those things in the middle
Are called wickets

It’s discussing Wooster’s chances
Against Haverford with the president
Of the College

It’s watching the connection
Come and go over the internet
As the West Indies steamroll

It’s driving back to Wooster and
Laughing and listening to Springsteen
After a loss to Wittenberg

It’s Kirtiman telling you
That South Africa will beat
The West Indies

It’s waking up at dawn and
Putting out the mat with
Sajal and Banduki

It’s watching the rain play

It’s talking to the dish and pleading
It to work so that you can watch
The remainder of the match

It’s Antony fixing the connection
In a sudden burst of intellectual

It’s Deval asking you
If he can ‘keep in the practice

It’s watching Zoheb and
Mustafa put on a hundred and
Sixty runs together

Its taking two slip
Catches in the same match

It’s collecting money from
Everyone for the World Cup

It’s rooting for Steve Tikolo
Even as Kenya are dismissed for
Less than two hundred

It’s telling Kathy that you
Can’t come into work because
India is playing

It’s getting coffee with Avais
At an ungodly hour of the
Night, only to return and
Find out that two more wickets
Have fallen

It’s the feeling that your team
Has won

It’s winning a match and then
Picking up the kit

It’s sitting with friends and
Reliving every minute of
The match

It’s cricket

It’s just cricket

(Jamie Alter is a sports, journalist, author and actor).

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