“South African team would earn me noodles at school”

South Africa Cricket Team

Facebook group Panel of Cricket Experts on its sixth anniversary, had organized a writing contest where the members were asked to write about their favourite cricket team including but not limited to what they liked about that team, how they fell in love with that team, happy and sad moments. The top 5 writings of that contest are featured in WicketNepal.com

  • Ankush Ojha (Top 5) South Africa

“LIFE IS LIKE CRICKET, THE OPPONENT CALLED TIME HAS SET 11 FIELDERS OF SITUATION AND IT TAKES A POWERFUL SHOT OF DEDICATION TO HIT THE BALL OF TARGET OVER THE BOUNDARY OF SUCCESS”

(Dedicated to South African Cricket Team)

The nostalgia is a mimic that stratifies the euphoria of emotions, that agitates and stimulates the idea planted in the mind and reminiscence of memories cherishes as if the reality is a metaphor of imagination. The classy commentary buzzing in the ears with agony of shattered fanatics, the Lance Klusener run out 1999 cricket world cup semi-final in 1999 in England, mocks me still afresh amongst the autumn winds that are turn into a whirlwind of spinning fantasy as of Shane Warne’s show that day taking away the Proteas evergreen choking phenomenon, still today being talked about, was the first match I closely followed as a cricket lover and a nod as good as a wink to blind horse was a signal, that I will be a South African cricket fan in the decades to come.

My boy this man Lance Klusener, the catalyst for the chemist, beauty for the artists and nasty for the opponents was a pioneer of hard hitting game, that is a reality now after almost two decades. South Africa was what I was to look after in cricket I preached my mind I guess. Next I got a glimpse of this team with bizarre consequences of fixing scandal in India, the then captain Hansie Cronje forced to step down and giving many untold school gossip stories of the kids as we were then, the African team of the South has given me a lot of provoking and mesmerizing tales.

1) The Noodles Bet Era:
Time cannot be predicted but time can predict. This era was when I had fights with my school friends over a packet of noodle. The source of my extra tiffin was again this Shaun Pollock led South African team which would earn me noodles at school for every match it wins. I forgot the taste of the Lekali noodles prevalent at that time but I can very well remember the teary face of the captain addressing the disbelief of the fans at the post match press conference. A rain affected match that ended in a tie to ravish the pain, and a debacle of luck to end the era of Jhonty Rhodes, the un-fielded world cup.

 

South Africa chased down 434 runs to make a world record
South Africa chased down 434 runs to make a world record

2) Miracle after a Miracle.
Boom! Who is of my age and has spent his childhood in Pokhara can’t forget that day, a blast at the premises of Music Mania, the famous CD shop of our time. The very next day, who again is of my age and loves cricket can’t forget that day as well. The mammoth 434 runs in a fifty over game in 2005 was sort of a miracle. But what happened after that is a miracle in itself. My friend and me used to take tuitions those days and were mad at discussing cricket. As soon as we reached the tuition center, no mobiles, no easy internets as if now, we fantasized our predictions. We were master predictors. I still remember in 3 hours of our different lectures we had more than 50 permutation and combinations of scores which never crossed the 400 mark as it was beyond our imagination. But when we reached home and Herschelle Gibbs was entertaining the crowds, the next day when we met, both of us blaming each other that you were not correct was the pinning point, that emotional single by Ntini and the sealing four by Boucher were the topic of our discussion the other day. Honorable mention J. J. Van der Wath
3) The Chokers.
A very harsh term but yet is fancied with the team I support. Be it 2003, 2011 or 2015 world cups a small disbelief or a small mistake has let them down. But fond memories are always positive. Lasith Malinga getting 4 on 4 but still losing the game gave goose bumps at the live telecast. Robin Peterson standing out in the last over against India in 2011 earned me some notes but is priceless in the memories, JP Duminy ravishing the Kangaroos to end the reign at Tests in 2008, the injured Graeme Smith fighting hard for his team and showing his perseverance, ABD scoring fastest ODI hundred, Jacques Kallis looking to the sky bowling action maturing into a classy batsmen, Andrew Hall 99* in test match with England ended with a big smile, Dean Jones famous “ funny terrorist” remark to Hashim Amla, Nicky Boje getting hit for a four and Inzamam’s hitting his own wicket, Sreesanth’s dance after hitting a six to Andre Nel, Dale Steyn’s ruthless aggression, The china man actioned Paul Adams spinning his head more than the ball, Justin Kemp hitting those massive sixes, Mark Boucher again and again rescuing his side and getting them the famous victories, the switch hit of Jhonty Rhodes, sad plane crash of Hansie, Grant Eliot leaving the South African team hopes shattered at 2015 World Cups. Faf Du Plesis calmness are the only memories I can recollect as if now, the others are really choked in the heart.

South Africa after losing to New Zealand in 2015 world cup semifinal
South Africa after losing to New Zealand in 2015 world cup semifinal

Almost 20 years down the line South African team have been quoted as chokers and unlucky tagline apart from the appreciation and love they have got as a team and the performers. Reviewers said Ghost Country was rich, astonishing and affecting in the way it blended comedy, magic, and a gritty urban realism in a breathtaking ride. Time has set eleven fielders of situation in the stadium of thousand audiences. Team South Africa has taught me that Distractions are always in the side screen in-front of us, we have to apply curtain of concentration to achieve the target of success in the Cricket of Life.

Ankush Ojha
Ankush Ojha