15 Sports Stories

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A CBT PUBLICATION Children's BookTrust, New Delhi The stories in this collection are prizewinning entries in the Category Sports Stories in the Competition of Writers of Children's Books organized by Children's BookTrust. EDITED BY GEETA M E N O N Illustrated by Subir Roy Text typeset in 13/16 pt. New Century School Book © by CBT 2006 ISBN 81-89750-05-4 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any m e a n s , electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Published by Children's Book Trust, Nehru House, 4 Bahadur S h a h Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002 and printed at its Indraprastha Press. Ph: 2 3 3 1 6 9 7 0 - 7 4 Fax: 2 3 7 2 1 0 9 0 e-mail: c b t n d @ v s n l . c o m Website: w w w . c h i l d r e n s b o o k t r u s t . c o m CONTENTS The Fighter Ramendra Kumar 5 The Race Nisha Punjabi 11 That Boy Next Door Cheryl Rao 16 A Deserving Substitute Debashish Majumdar 22 The Worth Of A Skill Manoj T. Thomas 29 Beating The Odds Ramendra Kumar 35 A Race Lost And Won Devika Rangachari 42 Think To Win Lata Kaku 48 Sportsman Spirit Ramendra Kumar 55 The New Girl In The Team Meenakshi G. Jain 61 Race The Clock Cheryl Rao 67 Mind Games Debashish Majumdar 73 Second Chance M.S. Mahadevan 79 The Goal Not Scored Manoj T. Thomas 85 Playing For Pride Ramendra Kumar 90 MS The Fighter Ramendra Kumar "I think the idea is great," said Rahul. "And I think it is dumb," snapped Imran. Rahul felt anger slowly rising up, but he controlled himself. The meeting of the Nagarjuna Public School (NPS) junior cricket team was in progress. The final match of the InterSchool Junior Cricket Tournament for the Regal Trophy was to be played the next day at the NPS grounds. And the NPS would be facing the Vivekananda High School (VHS) in the final. Imran was the captain of the NPS team. He and the coach, M.S. Reddy, had called the team members to finalize the strategy for the next day's match. To discuss the arrangements for the proposed match, the coach had gone to the Principal's room for a few minutes. Imran and Rahul were having an argument over who should open the innings. Rahul wanted their regular opener Greg to go two-down. "Imran, the VHS has the best pace attack in the city. Both Krishna and Manjit are very quick and accurate. Greg is our best batsman. We can't take the risk of sending him to open the innings. God forbid, if he gets out cheap then we are doomed," Ranul said apprehensively. "Come on, Rahul, Greg will make mincemeat of those two clowns." Imran was firm. "I have decided Greg will open, and 5 that is final. Now, come up with some better ideas on how to tackle the opposition." "I think my idea of sending Greg two-down was great," insisted Rahul. "And I still think it was dumb," Imran voiced. Seeing the tension in the air, Badal, the wicketkeeper said, "What about the toss? In case we win, should we bat or field?" "I feel we should field." That was Imran. "No, I don't think you are right," said Rahul. "We are not very good at chasing. I feel we should bat first, try to put up a good score and then attempt to bowl them out." "You are very defensive, Rahul," Imran said with a smirk. "If I win the toss, I will put them in. I love chasing." "But..." Rahul protested. "No buts. Don't forget, Rahul, I am the captain and you are not even in the playing eleven. You are the twelfth man, remember?" Imran taunted him. / Rahul's face turned red and he walked out of the room. The next day, Srinivas, the best all-rounder of the team, did not report. He had sprained his ankle and was out of action. Rahul, also an all-rounder, was the automatic replacement. James, the rival captain, won the toss and elected to field. It was a thirty-over match. Greg and Sadiq opened the innings. In the very second over both were out. Imran, who went onedown, held one end up as wickets tumbled at the other end at regular intervals. Rahul came into bat when the score was 97 for seven in 23 overs. Imran was playing on a well-made 43. Two overs later, Imran, then at 49, drove the ball to mid-011 and took off. In his hurry to reach the landmark of fifty, he did not realize that the fielder at mid-on had dived and brought off a great save. Rahul, realizing that the run was suicidal, yelled, "No!" But by then Imran was halfway down the pitch. As he ! - 6 \ v turned, While who sin Rahu team w Durii are try had yes Rahi thinkir Rahi what a Singh i pace, t He wa with hi his bov to cont more o sense ( Rahi He dec the tal The along, It w; NPSsI at 108 twoov was st Rah ball w target cheere turned, the VHS wicketkeeper had whipped the bails off. While walking back to the pavilion, Imran glared at Rahul who simply shrugged. Rahul too followed Imran in the next over and the NPS team was bundled out for 123 in the 26th over. During lunch, Imran confronted Rahul. "Listen, I know you are trying to take spite on me because of the argument we had yesterday. But remember it is the team which comes first.1' Rahul was shocked. He could not imagine Imran even thinking that he would get him out on purpose. Rahul had a reason to feel hurt. The whole school knew what a fighter Rahul was. In fact, he was called the Robin Singh of the NPS. Like Robin Singh, Rahul bowled medium pace, batted in the middle order and was a brilliant fielder. He was not hugely talented. He rarely sparkled in the field with huge scores or achieved sensational breakthroughs with his bowling. But when the chips were down he was ever ready to contribute his might either with the bat or with the ball and more oftenjthan not in the field. He was a fighter in the true sense of the word. Rahul was stung by Imran's remarks but he did not react. He decided that he would let his performance on the field do the talking. The VHS team started cautiously but was soon cruising along. At the halfway stage, they were 83 for three. It was then that Venkat and Vishnu, the 'spin-twins' of the NPS struck. Within eight overs they had the rival team reeling at 108 for eight in 28 overs. The VHS had to score 16 runs in two overs with two wickets in hand. The 'danger man', James, was still at the crease on a steady 34. Rahul had not been brought on. Imran now gave him the ball without a word. His first three deliveries were bang on target and James could not put them away. The home crowd cheered every such ball. Rahul now got a little overconfident. 7
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