In yet another example of team building, my office decided to hold a cricket match. The match was between the front office and back office. I belong to the front office. The team had been hobbled together from the list of people who had applied from various locations across the country. Consequently they had had very little practice.
Ar from my office had volunteered to be the wicket keeper notwithstanding the fact that his last brush with cricket had been in his previous job 3 years ago and his last brush with exercising had been at his gym a couple of weeks prior to the match when he had gone to get as much value out of a three month membership as he could in one single day. S from my office had also volunteered. Thanks to a concerted effort at diversification (We are an equal opportunities employer) there was also one woman in the team.
On the day of the match, we all landed up at the stadium. Front office was fielding and back office was batting. Ar was standing behind the wicket wedged tightly in his wicket keeper’s gear making any kind of movement almost impossible. The rest of the team was scattered all over the field (though I am sure to the trained eye it denoted strategic positions).
The match began. Within the first over it became rather clear that back office would be a bigger challenge than what we envisaged. There was fanfare all around as they hit 4s consecutively. Front office decided that some quick strategizing was in order and grouped up, discussed stuff and then split up again. The result of the next over was the same. Within sometime, we were just happy if back office scored anything less than 36 runs in one over. Our guys were rather down on stamina and refused to chase the ball unless it came within 1 foot of them. Given that the field was large, that seldom happened. At halftime the score was 105 runs at 10 overs with 2 wickets down. Someone cruelly shouted out for Ar’s benefit ‘there is a difference between the umpire and wicket keeper. Get moving’. S who had bowled the worst over in the match was much disconcerted.
A change in strategy was required. P, the woman member, was called to bowl. Man, all I can say is there has never been so much suppressed sniggering in an audience. The opposing team’s supporter began to scream out her name in an effort to intimidate her. P also got intimidated and bowled pretty badly for two balls. And then she suddenly got into shape. We finished the over with lesser runs than what had been scored in any of the previous overs. Within another two overs she was back to bowling. One of the guys from the front office smirked ‘At this rate she will the ‘man’ of the match’. Har har har. Another guy from the opposite side screamed back ‘But we still have not played. The lady from our team could be the ‘man’ of the match too’. More har har har.
All I can say is what followed must have been one of the finest moments in our office’s cricketing history. P got a player out. And then again bowled more efficiently than any of the others and ended up breaking her previous record. The commentor announced that it was not surprising since she had played state level cricket at one point. More than what most people in the match had played. What a brilliant moment for proving women can be better than men in an obviously all-male situation! At least it got the guys cracking those silly jokes to shut up.
On that high note, I decided to leave as it was evident we would lose. As it turned out, we did not lose but the match came to a draw. The heavens, taking pity upon us, let loose a barrage of rain. The back office guys honourably offered to draw the match. And everyone went home, happy and contented.