Being a cricketer and recognized as ‘one’ by your daily circle of people is one of the delightful things to experience. You sometimes get the treatment of a celebrity, and it’s all good to be looked at that way.
But, if you’re a cricketer, and you’re often the one, who warms the benches and carries the drinks for your team mates, don’t bother to show yourself as a cricketer and for obvious reasons. People who can’t even manage to lift a bat and play a forward defense mock at you, and it’s kind of insulting to swallow such an aberration.
Irrespective of the aforementioned commodities, what are the things you experience within your team, what the captain means to you, how do you put a facade and pretend as if you’re a team-player, who loves what he does? Keep reading.
Trust me, it’s easier to have a slump in form and still be able to find a regular place in the playing XI, than having to warm the benches on a regular basis and feeling helpless about the scenario.
And being a cricketer, I’ve experienced this quite a few times; when I’ve had to carry drinks to my team mates, play the role of a cheer-leader, and maintain a rapport with all the members of team, which is probably the most difficult thing to do. Because, often times, you do not exist to the players who find a regular place in XI if you’re a regular part of the team bench.
You, like any other member of your team, carry your kit-bag to the ground on the match day, go through the warm-up routines, adorn the white clothing, but for the fact that you’re going to get dropped and spend the whole day watching your team-mates play. Being a cricketer can be absurd when you’re not playing for your team. It can be exasperating.
So, you get to the venue for the match, complete your pre-match ethics, and your real job of being a cricketer ends there. Before the captain walks out for the toss, you’re sitting there and looking at him like someone who controls your destiny in the side.
What does the captain do? He grabs the unfilled team-sheet from the match scorer, sits alongside the coach, or a senior player and jots down the names, who are part of XI he picks. Once that job is completed, he calls the entire squad over to give a pep talk in a team hurdle, and he mentions the players who are not going to play on the day. Can you imagine how that would feel?
Finally, your team walks out to the middle, in case of fielding first, or the openers in the side walk out, and you’re sitting there cheering them on like “come on and by whatever name they have”. And it’s imperative that you encourage your team members for what they’re doing on the pitch, otherwise you’ll be seen as someone who’s not interested in the team’s well-being.
The match follows it’s own course, and you’re hardly involved with what’s happening to your team, you feel isolated and there’s a whole lot of uneasy feeling to be a cricketer on a day such as this one.
At the end of the day, you walk back home with your whites as crystal-clear as it can be and well, there ends the agony of watching someone perform the trade you’re vying for. Spare a thought for someone like Varun Aaron, Ambati Rayudu, who invariably know that they have to warm the benches and the feeling is that bit more infuriating, when MS Dhoni is the captain of your side and he hardly ever changes his playing XI.
-Life of a player in a team sport, more so in cricket!