Like other humans of the planet, let alone humans of New York, P had his faults but no one could ever accuse him of being a sporty person. The sports pages of the newspapers P bought were left, unopened and unread. However, when his neighbour Chris said he had tickets for a one day match between his hometown and a rival city, P readily agreed to accompany him as he had been cooped up indoors all during the week-end and needed to get some sunshine and his quota of Vitamin D.
They reached the grounds just in time. No sooner than they had taken their seats, P got up and left to buy some drinks and pop corn and had to line up in a queue. He could hear the crowd roar occasionally and knew that some progress was being made in the game. He was anxious to know the position of the home team.
When he returned, offering Chris a drink P asked “Any goals so far?”
A stunned Chris replied “This is cricket. There are no goals but runs and wickets!”
“OK”, said P perplexedly. “I know “run” and I know “wicked”, but what is a wicket?”
“You see those stumps at both ends with those bails on top? Those are wickets”
“I get it”, said P with an intelligent nod. “Have we made a good score?”
“Well”’ said Chris, “The run rate is pretty slow… Look’s like this is not a batting wicket”
“What do you mean?” asked a flummoxed P.
Chris looked at P and saw the confusion which only escalated as Chris explained “You know, by wicket, I mean the pitch or that piece of ground out there”
Just then there was roar from the crowd and Chris returned his eyes back to the game.
“Oh Sendulkar has been caught behind!” he cried, putting his hands on his head.
P looked at the field. He could not see anybody holding onto anybody’s back. He saw only a man walking back to the pavilion with his bat while other players in the ground seemed to be rejoicing at something.
P was simply bamboozled!
“That was an important wicket that has fallen,” Chris continued despondently.
P looked at the stumps and sticks on either end of the ground in the middle. They were still out there standing erect like soldiers on a parade. None of them had fallen or were lying on the ground…..
“But those wickets are still upright over there,” P pointed out to Chris.
“A wicket has fallen in the abstract sense”, Chris tried to explain.
P tried to absorb the idea of a wicket falling in an abstract sense….
He was simply stumped! All the cricket jargon made no sense to him. His common sense sent his attention back to his coke and popcorn chicken.