Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cricket in remote areas

Recently, while talking on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee of India’s entry into Test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar said that the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) should concentrate on taking the game to the remote areas of the country. He is right of course. There would be so much of undiscovered talent in the vast Indian countryside.

My village, Olavipe was an extremely remote area till a road link was established in 1970. And cricket came to the place in 1941; that is, sixty six years back, just nine years after India’s Test debut! The man behind it was OC George, Ollattikulam, the husband of my younger aunt Annamma (Kunjammai). We used call him Achhan. He and his brothers were well-known sportsmen of the erstwhile Cochin State.

For my First Holy Communion, which was celebrated on a fairly large scale, Achan gave me three presents – a football, a ball badminton set for four, and a cricket kit. Among the people present, only three knew how to play cricket – Achan who had been captain of the St. Thomas College (Trichur) cricket team in his student days, and three cousins of Appan. They explained the details about the game to us children and also gave a demonstration.

From then on cricket was regular for us. For some time we used real cricket balls but later shifted to tennis balls. That was more fun. And old tennis balls were available from the two tennis courts the family had. Almost all of us got into the cricket teams of our respective colleges. Later we had a family team consisting of cousins only (something like the Princes’ team of Thripunithura). Our team performed well in club matches and tournaments at Cochin and Alleppey.

But in all these 66 years, no one from Olavipe went beyond the inter-collegiate/inter-club level. This might appear to negate Tendulkar’s views. Not so, really. The only exposure the local youngsters got to the game was watching us play and carrying the kitbags.

During the last two decades, things have changed though. Now dozens of boys all over the village play cricket with a passion that was created mainly by watching games on TV. There is even an annual tournament in which several outstation teams also participate. We of course give all the encouragement we can.


Also see: When strong men cried...

1 comment:

kamrul hasan said...

cricket is famous match among a few country. So, ICC has taken steps a big project to make it famous in every place. i like it.