Saturday, June 06, 2009

Oulu Cricket Club leaps out

(Also posted on the CHAFF Blog.)

From 090604 Cricket starts in Oulu

The Finnish Chaírman of the Oulu Cricket Club,
Joose Kankare, takes to the crease!

Yesterday saw the first practice session of the Oulu Cricket Club. I am not a player but ready to support this northernmost cricket club in any way possible. So I turned up to show my support. Only, due to other engagements, I was a hour behind schedule.

From 090604 Cricket starts in Oulu

No floodlights required here.
Plenty of Natural Lighting available till 11 pm!

I do not know what they did for the first hour, but when I arrived I saw two teams grouped together talking strategy. They were about to commence a game.

The background was idyllic, but that could not be said about the gravel pitch they chose to play on. A nasty wind was kicking up a lot of dust and playing conditions were not ideal.

From 090604 Cricket starts in Oulu

There are a couple of good cricketers in the midst of the 18 persons who turned up for this first practice. There was a Pakistani, a couple of Australians, a Brit, a Finn, while the rest were a spread of Indians from almost every part of my great country - India.

From 090604 Cricket starts in Oulu

With the strong wind, playing conditions were cold and quite difficult. But I saw some good bowling and also some interesting batting - which means that with this sort of talent available, Oulu may really be able to turn out a good team for the nationals in a year or so.

But that will mean serious practice - not just having fun hitting the ball around.

Besides physical fitness, to be generated by jogging and running a fair bit at the beginning and end of a practice session, there must be batting practice, bowling practice and fielding practice during each practice session.

From Cathedral School, Mumbai

My cricket team, Cathedral School, Bombay - 51 years ago!

I also remember my days at St. Stephen's College where we had a a stickler for fitness as our Captain. With the likes of Siddarth Singh, the wonder from Doon School whose fame preceeded him, Prem Bhatia, Ajit Singhji, Sunil Thakurdas in our midst, it was good to have someone like Vijay Singh as the Captain. He demanded and got respect.

I turned up a few times for cricket practice but as hockey practice was at the same time under an equally fastidious captain, none other than the journalist Arun Shourie, I had to choose between one and the other - and I chose hockey!

Remember 14:00 hours on Saturday at Alppila is the next Oulu Cricket Club practice session!