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Essay

Subash Jayaraman on gully cricket in India

Great article sir...u'd forgot to mention about the toss part...we hardly had a coin to use for the toss...it would be the tiniest stone kept in one's palm, he shows them to the opposition before tightly closing it with his fingers....then he swings that arm in a repeated manner as if bowling, now its up to the captains to decide whether the stone's in or out!! You call it correct...u win the toss!!Its virtually impossible to track the stone even when it leaves the swinging arm...."Atdetail" u'd mentioned, the process of taking out a batsman midway is nothing but a jargon in gully cricket for "hurt retired"...no ones hurt of course :) nostalgic post indeed...thank u

Growing up we used similar rules like 1D & 2D, They meant 1-Declared/Decided and 2-Declared/Decided. This was used when there were not enough fielders or when ball would go to bushes or on roof etc. Though there was never a 3D!

Great article! I am from Pakistan but situation was same at our side. (Lol @ Sisir Chandra's comment: 1D 2D part) Gully cricket was part of our daily lives and this article is simply a flashback :) .

Beautifully Done!!! i could frame the images while reading. Born in mid-80s and coming from a small place from Odisha i could proudly say i have played almost all the format of Gully cricket. Be it on the roof top, the one-drop- one hand, the 1G and 2Gs (we had it as 1D and 2D not sure wot D meant), only ground shots, ground shot underlight 7 a side, in abandon houses during rains, with my brother in the house, with cousins during family gatherings... it was crazy. Summer vacations were kind of the cricket season, you could play till sun permits. 40+ temp, soaked in sweat but that won't dither you from diving to stop a single and rains, i just hated them for the obvious reasons... Growing up it was no different. High school, grad school it was all about cricket with studies squeezed in between. Talk about passion and Cricket is winner hands down... We literally Ate.Lived.Slept Cricket... Don't think have changed much though... Long live the game... Cheers to Cricket...

The best I have read in sometime... No matter what happens we as children had fun... I feel like my nephews and nieces don't even play the game for fun anymore... All want to end up in coaching and do their rounds... hardly any kids are seen playing on the streets... Back in my childhood, I would be so proud of having scored a fifty in a five over game against an unknown bunch of kids that I would recite it to anyone and everyone I saw... It was rules that were made by kids for kids and the fun that we had- be it in winning or in losing was irreplaceable. As I remember there is nothing better than a game of cricket with friends... Oh just to add to your point, we in Bangalore sometimes also used tree trunks across the street as wickets... and there were a few kids for whom we would always have runners to add to the confusion and fun... Again great read and kudos

I had a unique distinction of taking two wickets in one ball during my childhood days in school (CPS Pusa).The wicket was a wall and i bowled the batsman out and also managed to run out the non striker after collecting the ball on the rebound.My friends appreciated my effort.

Beautifully written Subash! Signed up just to comment :-) Brought back fond memories of playing gully cricket while growing up in Chennai. LOL'ed especially when you brought up familiar terms like 'Gaaji', 'Attetail', etc. One of my favorites was 'Appeeet'! When a bowler implores his fielders to take a catch ("Up it") even if the ball only had a modest air time of 0.1 second, presumably off the bat. There's also the 'Joker', who bats and fields (but can't bowl) both sides when there are an odd number of players... or his unfortunate cousin... the 'wicky-joker' who keeps wickets the entire game (also usually the last person left out when both captains have picked their teams :D)

Nostalgic. Got goosebumps all over me reading this. I used to play on the Streets and roof tops and this is excellently put. The stumps will be diagonally laid at either side of the road and runs can be scored only behind the stumps on off side or legside depending on how the pitch is assumed for the day. All the variations of the scoops that are on display in the T20 leagues are the only way to score the runs (I am talking 20 years ago) with the restriction that if the ball goes into any house the batsman is out. I am living abroad and recently I and my son had the opportunity to enjoy similar moments when we were in Chennai and kids still playing "gulli cricket" but with added obstacles of cars parked on the roads. I also joined him in a few games and cannot put in words the happiness I experienced. Great article.

Subash, Sabaash! Awesome article. The 'Atdetail', "Baby Over" and "Gaaji" was just unbelievably nostalgic moments.. As a guy who played decent level cricket, one cannot forget the gully cricket ones.. Thank you for taking us back in time!!... The "current" run out is the best way to get out.. not to forget the "single man gaaji"..1

Wish I could show you guys american born nephews playing JUST like one of the pictures in the article few months back! Best part, They Loved it a LOT more than their basketball games in American street and driveways!!

As to your observation about the best batsman being a passing student on his way home from College.... A friend of mine [now a Judge, so I suspect he was telling the truth!] tells a story of a match between University of East Anglia and Cambridge. UEA were a man short, and asked if any of the spectators, buried in their revision books, fancied a game. One of them volunteered .... and it was only as he approached his effortless hundred, wearing dirty green pads... that my friend realised the passing student was Majid Khan !!

Almost brought a tear to my eye. Been there done that. Cricket in different corners of 3 huge grounds in Keshav Memorial school Hyderabad, cricket in the morning during summer holidays, 5:30 am to the local park with the big boys, cricket for 2 hours after morning breakfast, cricket again from 4pm in the colony, cricket inside the house, WI vs India after 1983 series. All this before the age of 10. My son is 10 and growing up in concrete Chennai. He has watched 3 Chenani test matches but has never come home upset or happy after a hard day's grind at the ground. The world was a simpler, safer place 30 years ago.

Oh man this article so resembles every one of us. Amazing article. Playing cricket in rooftops are talked rarely about and it was great to read about it.

You moved me to tears man! Each of us in India has been a cricketer before becoming an engineer, a doctor, a scientist, a teacher or anything else. Kids and their enthusiasm for cricket will keep the game alive. Great read!