Knocked for six by the lat­est signals

Friday - - Wanted -

First there were the umpire’s signals – hands raised over the head for a six and so on. Then there were the bowler’s signals to the wick­et­keeper to warn him of the kind of de­liv­ery to ex­pect. And now, thanks to the spot-fix­ing scan­dal in In­dian cricket, there are a whole new set of signals. A towel in the trousers means, “I am ready to sell my sport for a few dollars”.

Cricket, an al­ready com­plex game has just been made even more so. To keep track of what is hap­pen­ing on the field of play, here are a few signals ex­plained:

Bats­man rubs stom­ach: “I knew I shouldn’t have had all those prawns last night. Gosh, when will I ever learn the im­por­tance of self-re­straint?”

Bowler takes out a hand­ker­chief, waves to the crowd and then wipes his face with it while singing the national an­them: “I need to be paid more for do­ing all this, please ar­range that. Why can’t I be paid like that other fel­low who raised his T-shirt twice and made a mil­lion dollars?”

Wick­et­keeper bites an umpire on the arm: “This is what I think of your last de­ci­sion.”

Umpire jumps up and down a few times: “How did that peb­ble get into my shoe?”

In­com­ing player smiles at a fielder: “I’ve for­got­ten what the sig­nal is for ‘Get the heck out of my face’, so I shall sim­ply smile at you and hope you un­der­stand.” A player calls the umpire a fool: “You are a fool, umpire.” Player looks at the ex­pen­sive seats, looks for his wife, and scratches his nose: “Hope you learnt to switch off the air-con­di­tioner be­fore you left home. Re­mem­ber what hap­pened last time?”

Player throws his cap into the air, does a som­er­sault and smiles as the cap lands on his head again: “See, if I can do that free of cost, why shouldn’t I be paid a truck­load of money for do­ing sim­pler things like un­der­per­form­ing?”

Bowler reaches the top of his mark, shakes his head, starts to bowl, stops, shakes his head, goes back to the top, stops and shakes his head, ges­tures to the fielder near­est to him: “Heck, I’ve for­got­ten the sec­ond line of that Bea­tles song that goes, There are places I re­mem­ber... Can you help me?”

It will take years of watch­ing tele­vi­sion to get a grip on th­ese signals. And don’t for­get the sur­re­al­ists, those who make com­pli­cated, mean­ing­less ges­tures and then spend a life­time watch­ing ‘ex­perts’ de­code them.

A cou­ple of gen­er­a­tions from now, when all the signals have been de­coded, those watch­ing cricket matches will won­der what the busi­ness with the bat and ball is all about.

Suresh Menon

is a writer based in In­dia. In his youth he set out to change the world but later de­cided to leave it as it is.

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