FCC beats the PUNDITS

They have written us off. They have pronounced the sad early demise ofFCC season and its chances of playoff spot. They have started talking that FCC is no longer a threat on a given weekend day.

 But, then, it is not all TRUE.

FCC boys got together on Saturday last against a threatening mercurylimit and a well-knit Ceylonese team and proved the pundits wrong.
 

Culture and Tradition

After long many weekends, the writer felt like he is back at home.  The "prodigal son" as Shak put it and then a statement " B*&tch get back and play for us" made the writer amend his stance.  It is always a pleasure to play for a team that talks less and produces more. It is an honor to rub shoulder with cricketers like Mr. V, Kap K, Coach, Nik, KE, KK and now Mr. PT {aka Prasad }. It is a pure delight to play for team which in the past has beaten the best of the teams in this league. We take pride in that ; we need to make sure that this tradition gets passed on to the younger FCC folks. We play fair.  We play together. We hate to lose. We love to win. We don't blame individuals for a loss, as, ultimately, it is the team which wins or losses. There is no I in TEAM said one; and there is no I in LOSS either I say. But there  is an “I” in WIN.  That “I” is best served in feelings only either on Sunday morning or Monday morning that you all know best. Let us produces such more WINs on the said mornings.  I bet the family would be in much happier mood if you happen to have one J{ either the I or that said morning}

Availability

Availability is a FCC curse this season. WHY?  Not long ago, we used to have 15 or 16 willing to play where the best 11 was picked. In the past, you would not get a chance in playing 11 if you did not produce in the last match. In the past, few folks waited entire season to have one or two matches under their belt. In the past I waited entire 2004 season to get one match for the season under Coach’s leadership { are your reading? J}. In the past, It was next to impossible to be a batsman in the team, if you have not scored few 50s at the very least to turn the match around on its head. Therefore, the ones that are in the current playing 11 would be better of honoring the past and make sure that the chances that they are getting be counted for. More importantly, we all respect the fact that FCC selections are purely based on the performance unlike many other teams in this league.  Nepotism has never been a FCC culture. We have four more crunch matches to go. I expect that we all put the helping hand together.  If we get right playing 11, I don’t see a reason why we should not win all the remaining matches? I believe FCC is over-par the D1 league quality. FCC is best served to compete with PD teams. Mr,Poacher would not write about it, We all have to script one, YES?

 

The Match

When I reached the ground where FCC has never played before, or, maybe I only; I saw bunch of Lions roaring with catching and fielding practice. They looked like a disciplined team working hard for the match preparation. On the other hand FCC boys showed up lingering here and there trying to find answers for why we have lost so many close matches in the recent past. First time ever I felt that we were in our abysmal lows to which I felt I partly might have been the cause for. I sincerely hoped to change it.  I asked the Lion’s captain if we were playing 35 overs, he replied in solid NO. As it happened at the end of the match 35 overs is what either side played anyways.

SLCC won the toss, whilst the search for illusive umpire continued. The umpire apparently got struck in I-270 crash and showed up 20 minutes late. In the meanwhile the captain of SLCC took the field saying he will umpire and assured us that he will be fair.  By luck just before we took the field position, the umpire arrived.  Later it was revealed that the SLCC captain would not have kept his promise, had, he been allowed to be the main umpire.  He declined a clean run out on a direct hit form a brilliant collection and throw down from AJ.

FCC opened with AJ and Prasad.  Both did a great job with the new ball. I saw that PT could be as effective with the new all as with older one. SlCC opened the innings with a quick momentum.   The score read 42 in six over wherein there were quite a few fours and a six smashed. Just when,  It appeared FCC were getting beat on the bowling front, Kap K made a quick change bringing Kiri Kiri from the far end from the longer part of the field.  KK, obliged with a breakthrough by knicking one to NIK standing up the wicket. It was a great pouch to break the momentum.  They slowed considerably as the FCC managed to put a break on the run pedal with regular wickets. AJ took the next one and then KK again knicked one to NIK.  KK and KapK bowled impeccable lengths with Mr. V to follow on the same veins.  The score read 49 in 13th over with 4 wickets down. FCC were back on track, now, the momentum had swung to our favor. Making runs were difficult on a pitch where driving the ball was not an option.  I read this;  ball kept low or kicked up from the spots. The only way to make runs seemed to be patient on the wicket and look for real bad balls to score runs.  Later in the chase innings, Mr. V proved my theory to full proof.  The 5th wicket partnership took them to 90 odd runs. Rasan and Cheruka rebuilt the innings for them.  Each scored 30 odd runs. But then, Manjula the SLCC captain who made a first ball duck did not give Cheruka a clear run out on a direct throw from AJ. He made amends for his batting failures.  If that run out was given, SLCC would not have more than 100 odd runs instead of 134 they scored finally in 35 overs.  AJ ended up taking 4 wickets, KK, 3,  PT, KapK { broke the strongest 5th wicket partnership } and Mr. V all were in the wicket takers list if I am right.  Correct me otherwise.  I liked the way KapK used only 5 bowlers in the oppressing heat. He made sure all the bowlers were revolved around for some respite.  Mr. V bowled all 8 in one trot.  Overall the fielding was great in that no catches were dropped.  One or two that should have been caught could be termed as half chances.  I strongly felt the absence of KE.  Match after match, he alone, in the outfield has won many a matches for FCC. Kapk, can sleep in peace by asking KE to man the Long O area or midwicket. Mr. V will entice with a flighted delivery and KE will run 20 yards and make the catch look like a dolly.  FCC wins the match defending 130 runs. This is the script that is missing now.  KE, please get back to the green at the soonest. We miss you with the 8 over, the slambang 50 runs and those precious 3 catches in the outfield.

Chasing 135, FCC sent out KK and Manish to open. Manish with a hurting hammy was kind enough to say that he would take on the fast scoring route to put some runs on the board on tricky bowler’s wicket.  Kap and the rest of the team obliged with that option.  Manish has been lethal on matting wickets in the past.  He had scored runs in plenty when playing off exit 28. We would want the same off of exit 30 now. Run outs are poster child of cricket. I hate it.  I would rather not take a risky run than to take one.  This was not the case with our openers, as Manish got greedy for the second run which was not there given his fitness level.  WE lost the first wicket with 2 or 3 runs on the board.  KapK went in the middle trying to exploit left-right combo.  His stay was much shorter as he could not pick the line of the ball and was bowled.  I hurriedly went in without anytime to put on the guard.  KK and I were in the middle when the next over KK knicked one to the keeper. Suddenly, we were three down for 5 odd runs. Mr. V the dependable came in.  I and V rotated the strikes and took on the patient route to wait for bad balls. V played awesome knock in which he restricted all the shots that had RISK on it.  Some of the easy short balls, were left alone which on any other given day he could have put away to the boundary. Some of the shots he played off his legs were exquisite. Given the oddity of the pitch, getting the timing on the shot was very difficult. Both of us did not drive any balls to make sure the RISK is not taken.  At the first water break, the momentum was with us again, with close to 50 runs on the board.  Immediately after the water break, I lost my wicket to a LBW decision that I thought was unfair. But then I give the benefit of the doubt to the umpire as it was very difficult for him to notice that I had played the ball.  I did. So I can rest in peace. FCC still required 70 odd runs at my departure and I secretly wished that V plays out the entire innings.  It was too selfish a wish, given the sapping heat, but V was hell bent on making me happy. He played and awesome gritty innings waiting on bad balls and taking singles wherever possible.  He was tired, he barely could stand, but his mental strength was far stronger than the physical one.  He kept on pegging.  He kept on chugging.  He stood there like a wall.  The lesson to impart is that when he started he was very scratchy.  He was not picking the line of the ball . He was not connecting.  But it all meant nothing , as mentally, he was ready to last the long innings NO MATTER WHAT.  That is what I demand from the rest.  At the end, V lost his wicket with 9 runs needed.  He was very dejected. The message to me was clear, don’t call it home until the fat lady sings.  PT played a gritty short innings as well when 30 odd runs were required.  He made sure that last minute harakri does not take the match away.  WE still had hard hitting NIK, Khan bhai,  and AJ, well rested to take on the rest of the runs.  Gary played during the winning innings with PT.

Next we travel to the same exit 30 to play another top notch team.  To me the top notch team is no one but FCC for D1 league.  Let us all get together and make the rest of the matches count. I close my scribe with a hindi saying to the pundits.

“jab sher shikar kai liye nikal ta hai to bhed bakari { D1 team} dhum dabake bhagate hai”

Lets go my “Sher” s.

Go FCC!

The writer

Comments

good one.. sorry missed all the fun!