Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Cricket funtoosh


It is a matter of national pride to us Nepalis that this proud nation never had to kneel under the colonial yoke. We fought tooth-and-nail to foil the grand design of a foreign hand that tried to force us to play cricket. But we have, over the years, paid a heavy price for our independence. We will never, for instance, know the pleasures of hanging out with the Third Empire in our jodhpurs on the gymkhana veranda, sipping ginger beer to applaud the home side, and running to our dak bungalows when a sudden shower stops play.

And however hard we try, our uncolonised minds just can't make head or tail of the game of cricket. But hope is at hand. After clocking an average of 12 hours a day carefully watching the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup (Sponsor's slogan: "My Lion Hungry, Gimme More Enemy Players to Eat") I have become somewhat of a pro, if I may say so myself, and can now explain this game to fellow Nepalis.

Cricket just looks complicated, actually it is a very simple game: all you need to do is throw a ball at about 550 mph at a guy holding a bat and try to knock off both his tentacles from a distance of 50 ft. But, like in all sports, there are some simple precautions that need to be taken so no one gets hurt, therefore all cricketers who value their crown jewels wear groin guards to prevent themselves from being inadvertently castrated by a Mach 3 beamer.

Cricket players take their food and drinks seriously, and adhere to rules governing their consumption. Every game shall have a Luncheon Break of a 40 minute duration and any player caught sneaking seconds will have to appear before an adjudicator to determine the seriousness of the alleged breach of Section E of the Rules of Conduct and hearings will be conducted in accordance with the Principles of Natural Justice.

(As you can see, cricket is a very legalistic game, and team lineups include a battery of lawyers since the outcome of a game is often decided in the Supreme Court rather than on the pitch.)

Under Section E, Chapter VII, Verse 235: Where an innings concludes within 10 minutes of the scheduled or rescheduled time of the Tea Interval, or it falls at, or after that time, or when less than two minutes remain, play will continue but only if players want to dip their biscuits in their tea. Under conditions of extreme heat, umpires may permit a Pepsimobile to enter the grounds from deep square leg towards silly point provided that the driver of said vehicle is dressed in proper cricket attire, viz: white cardigan with groin guards.

All clear so far? What makes cricket unpredictable and exciting is that the umpires leave nothing to chance. They come to the pitch equipped with a rain gauge, a light meter, a radar gun, two synchronised high-speed close-circuit cameras lodged in the middle stumps operating at 250 frames per second with a minimum shutter speed of 1000 Hz, a solid iron bar 1m in length with markers representing shoulders, elbow and wrist to measure chucking. All umpires also need to be Nobel Laureates with triple PhDs in Statistics, Meteorology and Newton's Third Law in the Post-Modern Era.

Fair Play and a Level Playing Field are the hallmarks of cricket. That is why when it does rain, helicopter gunships are allowed access into the stadium to dry the pitch. And if you are losing, you can always pray for rain since God is the Fourth Umpire.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)