Three Stumps and Two Bails



PC could not wait for Sundays.The backyard throw-downs helped to initiate his son, Arjun, into the world of cricket.It was too early, but the boy did exhibit promise.The ‘forward press’ as he played every ball would have made Virat proud.And he kept the ball on the ground.On the ground,always,ball after ball after ball.He batted left-handed,but was a right-hander for all other purposes.Most of the Ozzies bat that way. Dominant hand –top hand.Perfect.Hayden,Warner,Mike Hussey, Arjun.As PC threw another one,the whippersnapper attempted a straight drive and got bowled.

Now shall come the questions.They always do.PC braced himself for the fusillade.

‘’Dad,why do they use three stumps for the wicket,and not a log of wood as we do.”

So he doesn’t dispute that he is out. Does he love batting enough? Is it all right for a 6 year old to analyze the game just after he got out? Thinking hat on,PC answered,”Because that would hamper the wicket-keepers’ vision.Since the ball is in play (seriously, for a boy!) behind the wickets as well,the keeper needs to sight the ball at all times to stand a chance of reaching to it,and intervening.”

Arjun still had the bat in his hands.PC wondered when (if) would he get to bat .

“But why three.Two stumps would have been just fine ?” I have a cricket writer/thinker at my hands.Move over,Jarrod Kimber.

“If the ball would have hit either of the two,done deal.But had it passed between the two,then how would you know ?’’

Arjun played soccer too.He would not accept this quite so easily.

“The goal in soccer has only two poles and yet we know if the ball has passed through.”

“But Arjun ,you know it’s a Goal because there is a net to fish the ball.And you can’t use a net behind the stumps.’’

“Because ,the ball is still in play,I get it.”

“Well,Cricket is an Anglo-saxon creation .Like everything ,its conflict resolution rests on their jurisprudence.(This was for his own benefit. It could well become a blog). Hell ,even the umpires wear black trousers and white shirts as if they are judges.Only the wigs are missing.The third stump provides a demonstrable proof that the ball has indeed hit the wicket by creating an obstruction in its trajectory.”

“What if the ball hit the stumps,which don’t fall.And the umpire or the batsman has a doubt ?’’

“They  placed  bails on the stumps to resolve this conundrum.They have to fall when the ball strikes the stumps.If they don’t,the batsman is not out .This is classic British Jurisprudence.Irrefutable evidence ,undeniable ,before you deliver the guilty verdict.Its there for all to see.” Else the benefit of doubt goes to the batsman.

“Well, my bails have not fallen.You overstepped.Your over-rate is slow.There is no wicket-keeper.This is not cricket.And I am not out. Anyway,there is no British judge to give verdict. Maybe ,I shall go and play soccer with friends. Cricket is a silly game, especially when only two play it, and there are no fielders to chase the ball.”

(dedicated to a friend who has recently become a father and is anxious if his US-based son shall love cricket as he much as he himself does )

#bails #threestumps #thirdstump #cricket #bcci #ICC  #jarrodkimber #harshabhogle  #ViratKohli

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