Sunday, June 08, 2008
Tencket, anyone ? अगोबाई, टेनीस का क्रीकेट हे ?
Cloudburst after cloudburst in defiance of the Met office predictions, heralding the angry onset of this year's monsoon, flooded railway tracks, deep water filled roads, municipal authorities fibbing and giving creative excuses on most TV channels, has made me gravitate towards the sports channels, which I had hitherto relegated to the trash folder ever since the ostentatious overdose of IPL happened.
It's Sunday evening, and I see Rafael Nadal serving at 198 mph at Roger Federer. Maybe it is kmph. But if you look at it from the ball's perspective, it may be similar to what it feels when being flung out of the curved palms of Ishant Sharma or Mr Akhtar.
Which has got me thinking. (Regardless of the fact that a lot of people think such an event is difficult to imagine).
Anyone interested in Tencket ?
A bunch of 11 people , playing on a pitch, versus two guys holding bats. One guy running in and hurling a ball, taking care to not bend his elbow more than so many degrees. Bat swipes the ball, some of the 11 run after it, while the batters keep running between the two ends of the pitch.
Imagine a game where most things remain same, but the ball is flung with the help of a tennis racket. The bowler runs in, tosses the ball high up, takes a few more steps and smashes a serve on the pitch. 200 kmph . Maybe even mph, given that you need to bang the ball much closer than on a tennis court. The secret is to know how high up and at what angle to toss the ball, so you can whack it before being no-balled.
You can even call the racket , a "backet", out of consideration for cricketing types. The batting guys will have to be really alert while performing their stuff. Of course umpires will have to considerably reposition themselves so as to not retire hurt due to a tennis racket smacking them .
It will mean the bowler must take return catches, if any, with one hand. Its been done before, the one handed catches, that is.
Of course this will mean redefining the tennis racket gutting material. Normal gut will not handle the red cherry.
Just like in current matches, you have guys from the batting team running in with spare bats and gloves , sometimes to pass messages from the gurus inside, you will now have the bowling side's benched payers running in with different tennis rackets for the bowler to check. With the stunning impact on the ball, once from the tennis racket and once from the cricket bat, players will have to figure out ways to make use of the innovative wear and tear on the ball, as well as better ways of polishing the ball, than rubbing it in weird parts of their trousers.
There will be a new type of spin. Doosras and Teesras will be a thing of the past. This will some kind super fast spin. Folks will now specialize in Satwas.
Think of the new stuff you could add in the rules . Bowlers taking one handed catches from their own bowling (with a racket), can now subtract 3 runs from the batting side.
Guys fielding near the boundary in deep and silly positions, can do so with a racket in hand when required. Very useful while stopping boundaries (even as they slide in the slush), and bouncing the ball above the racket , over to themselves to take a catch. Such a "catch" would then be called a "snatch".
T-20 authorities will curse the day they made the rule about resolving a tie by bowling at the stumps . Serving and smashing the stumps will be so much easier.
Third umpires , who tend to have doubts over the television replays will now be assisted by tennis umpires. Bowlers who make a fuss, come running in, and suddenly decelerate and cancel the run-up , will be glared at by the umpire, who will, in his best Wimbledon imitation say "Time!" while giving the bowler a dirty look, and asking him to serve the next ball immediately.
Think of Billy Bowden doing some newer steps while declaring someone out. Dennis Lillee will now be assisted by a tennis player . Sania Mirza will be advising the Deccan Chargers, and people will crowd the next IPL fixture to watch her sitting in the dugout . Shahrukh Khan will hire Leander Paes for the Kolkatta Knightriders. Mahesh Bhupathi will give the nod to Rahul Dravid. Dhoni, aiaiyo, will be happy to appoint Bopanna. And Shane Warne will probably take tennis lessons himself .
With so much excitement, the Page 3 , cricket ignorant IPL owners who deemed it necessary to outsource expressions of excitement to the Washington Redskins and similar outfits (pun intended), will find that cheerleaders (version 1.1) has been upgraded, and that version 1.2 now consists of page 1 common folks, who throng the stadiums to watch their favourite players, make witty posters, do Mexican waves, bravely face up when hit by a six (war injuries are honorable), demand sixes, shout themselves hoarse over a diving catch 2 cms short of the boundary and quieten down dangerously when Sachin , just out, walks back to the pavilion, looking up at the sky.
The BCCI, in its new upwardly mobile attitude (thanks to the several hundred crores from the IPL), will sniff at Mahesh Bhupati and Bopanna, and hold talks with Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, and Lleyton Hewitt. Chak De situations will demand the presence of the Williams sisters, and there will be big competetion with Maria Sharapova announcing her entry into coaching.
Or should I say Federer ?
The last time i looked he wasn't doing to well at the French Open finals.