There must be stories to tell | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 06, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 06, 2020

There must be stories to tell

"Why is only Test cricket being remembered?" The grandson suddenly asked this question of his grandfather while he was minutely reading every line of a report in the newspaper where a cricket legend has recalled a great Test knock from another modern-day great in order to encourage people and remind them of the need to maintain discipline in the fight against Covid-19.

The bespectacled grandfather, with a furrowed yet beaming face, took some time to respond.

Cricket rarely dominates conversations between the two, although one is a lifelong fan and another has no shortage of excitement for the game. It's now however time for a breather and a chat following the suspension of all outdoor activity to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The grandson sat on the middle couch beside by his oldest friend and that particular question came to his mind as Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar had offered an unusual take on the coronavirus fight by comparing it to Test cricket, urging for patience and teamwork, and warning "we have to defend well". "While the world battles the Covid-19 pandemic, this is probably the time for of us to draw lessons from the grand old format of the game," Tendulkar wrote in a commentary.

Meanwhile, another legend and the other genius of their era, Brian Lara recalled Tendulkar's unbeaten 241-run knock against Australia as the world battles Covid-19. Having gotten out playing cover drives all series, Tendulkar did not play a single cover drive during the mammoth knock.

Then is there no place for one-day and T20 cricket? The junior had grown up at a time when all the hype surrounded the shortest format of the game, but is still a big fan of the two legendary cricketers, which is why their take on Test cricket in a crisis gave him food for thought.

On the other hand, the grandfather is a lifelong cricket fan who has watched so many Test matches, read all the great stories of the game and, now spends his retired life watching cricket, mostly on TV. Upon his grandson's instigation, he went down memory lane and it seemed all stories were alive and well in his mind.

"You know all sorts of stories of Test matches, almost like you are telling me stories of your own life," said grandfather.

"A fine left-handed bowler, who possessed marvellous stamina. Breaks from both sides. Has the easiest of deliveries. Seldom tires. Can bowl all day long. Keeps an excellent length. Never sends down a loose delivery. Understands the game thoroughly. Places the field to a nicety, catches come [to the fielders], they do not have to go in for them. Decidedly a 'head' bowler," he reminisced the lines about a great pre-modern era subcontinent bowler he read in a famous book.

Yes, here is also the story of patience and discipline, the grandson thought.

"These sorts of stories about Test cricket are abundant in my mind. I believe you also have such stories," said grandfather.

The grandson also could remember a few memorable matches but it seemed that lacked the stories his grandpa had been telling one after another. "We watch too many matches, especially T20 matches these days, so it's hard to track all the details," replied the grandson. The grandfather only responded with a smile.

Are we going back to old ways of life when everyone has been talking about the new world in every sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic?

"We don't know what exactly will happen after this current coronavirus shock. But see, the cricket didn't go back in time after World War II when the longest Test match was played between South Africa and England in Durban, that continued for nine days before the English players had to leave to catch their boat back to England.

"The question was raised after the World War, a kind of cricket which is predominately defensive, both batting and, more to the point, bowling… it is not pleasant to watch, and it is not pleasant for adventurous young men to play," the grandfather continued.

The grandson breathed a sigh of relief. "So, there is no conflict between Tests and the other formats."

There was a curious smile on the grandfather's face. "Change is inevitable in life but you have to have some tale to tell, whether it is in life or sport."

Note: It's an imaginary conversation.

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