A beginner’s guide to cricket and relationships

Cricket is a truly fascinating game. I say this not only because of the love for the game which we are so accustomed to see regularly on TV (or through other means), but also because of the many other dimensions in which it can be interpreted.

Hence today, I would like to analogize the game in a different dimension- that of love and relationships. Relationships are tricky. Often in a romantic relationship, one finds oneself asking questions like – Where is this relationship going? What kind of a future can I expect out of this?What are the chances that it would last and how do I ensue that it does?

But even before we get to answer these questions, we need to first identify what kind of a relationship we are in? It is here that the gentlemen’s game can be the savior- by allowing us to take a page out of its book and applying it to the mysteries of relationships. In this game of cricket, the batters are the person involved in the relationship, the ball being the relationship and the challenges it brings with it, which the metaphorical bowler- life, throws at them. The relationship thus, can be grouped primarily as one of the bowling techniques:

  • The In-swinger – This is a sweet little story to begin. Your relationship has started and is going at an amble, mildly breezy and an expected pace. You are well aware about the trajectory it is going to take and hence can be more easily prepared for it. Inswingers are caused due to the lost ‘shine’ from part of the ball. But the batters should be in tandem and often communicate between themselves to prepare one-another for the such a ball. Therefore while playing for the inswinger you should ensure that you’ve already put your mind and body to good use. Hence even if there’s a swing and a miss, there are good chances you might not get bowled or caught out. However, too careless or too irresponsible an approach, and this ball could lead to the relationship getting out- LBW (loved but wasted!)
  • The Out-swinger – This is a more tricky situation. Even though, like the inswinger, the loss of ‘shine’ from the metaphorical ball ( relationship) has lead to this swing too, but here the swing tends to move away from you. It is difficult to adjust or prepare for the inconsistent late turns. This means that any miscalculation here may cause an outside edge. But with practice, you can master the technique to play this ball. By brainstorming and spending time thinking about the shots you would want to play in these situations and the temperament with which you would want to face such delivery. The idea here should be to not fish around for delivery too far from your concerns and leaving it intelligently and letting it naturally run the course.
  • The Bouncer – Oh my! This one is enticing. It is the epitome of the battle of two powerful personas. While one is tempted to check the other person’s conviction and fundamentals to know how to play it right; the other has a decision to make- either play it out defensively with a clear head, rock solid stance, giving the signal that he has what it takes to shun the difficult ones; or attack it back with suave, poise and equal magnanimity. This ball is all the more trickier to play when the pitch is unfavorable, i.e. to say – a long distance relationship. You’ll only stand the test of this one if you have the mettle. This delivery asks a lot of questions about your true strengths and convictions and demands a lot of effort to master it. Because unless you put in the efforts, it doesn’t matter what you decide in the end – playing it defensively or going for a full blown attack, both will have a higher probability of only you getting out.
    But that is not to say the people in this kind of relationship are doomed to fall. The laws of universe dictates that high risks gives higher returns! And in this case too when the two personas are channeled, it would create beautiful symphony.
    (for we all know there’s nothing like Dravid’s back-foot punch off a deadly bouncer at Perth or a Kohli’s hook played with poise.)
  • The Googly – If your relationship is a deceptive one, where one or both the partners have a penchant towards ‘spinning out to the wrong side’ every once in a while, you’ve got yourself a googly! It doesn’t matter who started it; what you’re calling it- ‘having more options open’ or being in an ‘open relationship’- once its there, the googly has gotten you. The only way to skillfully survive this is to pay attention to the metaphorical ball with full concentration for any change in ‘wrist’ action. Trust is very important here. Any doubts spawning in mind should be discussed and ensured that it is ironed out.
  • The Flipper – If at the onset, one looks convinced, makes changes and adjustments for a future and all of a sudden seems to be falling back on his/her promises (we know it as the ‘it’s not working out’ or ‘the compatibility/spark is over’ situation), you’ve got yourself a Flipper. It is a particularly unfortunate relationship to be in because flipper’s are caused by erratic change of pace or trajectory. The other batter, if too blind to base his judgement only on the likable, initial trajectory of the ball, would end getting bowled out by this sudden behavioral change. Flippers are relationships where the batter suddenly feel that the ball is just “too much for him/her to take”. Hence it becomes important to open up, reach to the line of the ball, ( that is – identify where the erratic spin is arising) and shun the spin.
  • The Beamer – This type of relationship is directed only to injure the player. You are never happy in this situation and everything feels as if existed to torture you. The only intelligent thing to do here is to let it pass.
  • The Slower One – This is a particularly tricky one. This relationship looks simple, as if almost occurring naturally. But the trick of such things lies in fooling the batters to the point of overconfidence. So much so that you end up into rushing things. One cannot hit sixes on every ball; there will be some tough deliveries bowled at you where you’ll have to clearly look at the ball and play it patiently. One has to recognize the ‘not-so amazing’ time in the relationship and wait it out, rather than rushing the ball and trying to go after it. It is the time of the relationship where the ‘sparks’ seems to be fading, or it ‘doesn’t feel serious enough to play diligently’. But this is where the bowler gets you. It is a common ‘ball’ that life throws in any relationship and it checks the temperament of the batter. Only a mature batter would know when and how to play it.
  • The Yorker – The most peculiar delivery there is. And the most difficult to fathom. This relationship needs lots of effort to be just right. Anything slightly more or less, makes this an ugly ball. This relationship not only needs skills at par with the bouncer, but all demands one to be agile and quick to make change to ones stance to play it right. It might come off as a sudden change in location for one of the two partners, or perhaps an error in judging the length, trajectory, speed of the relationship ball. But depending upon how much respect you have for the batters talents, the correct mindset of playing the ball which comes with practicing along with you team mate for such scenarios , and the amount of trust on each other’s skills, even a yorker can be hit for a six!

This of course is not an exhaustive list of deliverable that can be thrown at the batter. There might even be combinations of some deliveries (an inswinging yorker, a slow bouncer etc.) . But the crux of solving this relationship puzzle or playing the ball in the way it is meant to be, remains largely the same. Spend time and effort for each kind of delivery, now your weaknesses and work on those balls more and trust and help the other batter with your strengths : That’s how you win: – either in cricket or in a relationship!

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