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MCC vs Kingsgrove ( again  )– in search of Victor
Ludorum (July 15thh 2012 )
By Jonathan Legge

In life, ideally, you go round, a bit like as if you were on a Monopoly board, and collect experiences, and then during chats in pubs you nonchalantly say “Oh, I did that” – and then feel smug ( while everybody else thinks you are either mad or a liar – or possibly both). Granted, not all of us have a massive collection of stand-out experiences to brag about – bungee jumping anyone ?? – so personally I get a great kick out of yelling “I’ve been there” whenever New York, Sydney Opera House etc etc appear on the tv screen – in my universe saying “I’ve been there” is a step down from “Oh I did that” ( Regent Street from Park Lane on the Monopoly board if you will). Failing that there is another phrase – the ability to say “Well, I was there”. And if you were at the match yesterday you witnessed a “I was there “ moment – another one for your collection.

You all know the key stat of the game, so although I am without the scorebook allow me in any case to put a bit of flesh on the bones ( and in passing I may tell you about another comely young girl that I got to score with - in the crickety sense of the word.)

This game was the 2012 Lombardy League final – I clearly wasn’t paying attention during the AGM when the details were thrashed out, so I still don’t see why a team that had not only already beaten its opponents but had also beaten all the other participating teams had to do it all again – especially when Kingsgrove turned up with what appeared to be a strong team.

Milan lost the toss and were asked to field first. A 35 over game. The day was hot, but thankfully with a breeze – the pitch was the colour that your morning toast is 10 seconds before it’s ready – grass cut short and the outfield looking pretty fast.

Kingsgrove bat to a pattern – the first 10 overs they play themselves in, not really hurrying anywhere. Then the tempo is upped, and then after mid-innings drinks off they go : a score a ball if possible, really piling them on in the last 5 overs. Milan, therefore, had to get what wickets they could in the first 10, and then contain as much as possible. And that is what happened – Kingsgrove strolled along at 4 an over - both openers made it into double figures when Fabio M was out, caught for 15 at deep mid on – a skyer of a shot producing a good catch, known in the trade as a beer-tent catch (see Ross for details) – K’grove lost another wicket in a similar fashion when another skyer was taken by Bhupi at cover, and then keeper Gurmel spectacularly got a run out by scampering across to leg slip and achieving the impossible from an almost supine position ! All of which left K’grove on 40 for 3 after10 overs, and Milan were feeling pretty chipper about that. So far so good – but Kingsgrove were going by their manual : the runs started to flow, and it just was not possible to see where another wicket would come from! After perhaps 10 overs Nand finally trapped the opener LBW, but Dinesh Samarawickrama was well on his way to his century with a fine display of batting – not brutal, but some beautifully crafted strokes that cleverly bisected the fielders, the unforgiving outfield doing the rest. Certainly Milan’s fielding left something to be desired as it took on the appearance of a vegetable colander, plenty of runs / overthrows being gifted. Nand got his second of the day as the batsman came down the wicket, missed it and was duly stumped, but K’grove were in overdrive now, 8 runs an over ..... and they batted out the overs to finish on 263 for 4 ( or was it 5 ??) – Bryan and Nand with 2 wickets apiece.

Well : of late we of Milan have notched up 200+ scores on several occasions ( he says airily, his entire contribution to recent 600+ runfest at the Zuoz tourna..festival being one run[ not out], the easiest catch ever and a massive psychedelic bruise ), so with a bit of nous surely we could make a decent showing ... crucial, then, to get off to a good start – Gurmel failed to read the script and undid himself, gifting a shortish delivery straight to the keeper – Bhupi came in ..... failed to deal with a yorker and he, too, was out for just 1 run. Oh dear. But hang on a mo’ – what on earth was going on down the other end ? Vikas’s first scoring shot was a single – after which he decided to do things differently .... and then some. And so the “I was there” moment started. Probably more dramatic if I do this as a list :

• His next 7 scoring shots were all 4s.
• He got his 50 with just 13 scoring shots
• He got his 100 with a mere 29 scoring shots (56 balls faced)
• 8 sixes in the 100.
• Only a dozen singles in the 100.
• And then ..... he moved up a gear...
• It took him less than 10 minutes to go from 100 to 150
• He made a total of 196 not out.
• 17 sixes in his whole innings.

Not one of us could really believe what we were witnessing : a batting onslaught, the likes of which I fancy none of us had ever seen, and which will probably never be repeated – such powerful batting, not a single decent chance for the fielders, the bowlers absolutely powerless to wrest back the initiative – six after six into the trees .... as Sunil put it : “he made us feel very mortal indeed” – I am not a fan of the word “awesome”, but here it is truly justified : an awesome innings.

What else can I say ? Milan coasted to victory with a massive 10 overs to spare – a mention to Sonu and Irfan who played supporting roles while Vikas went about his business.

* * *

Milan, 2010 winners, now the 2012 winners – really good to see some consular participation and some genuine spectators, too ! Coming on top of our recent cup win in Zuoz, this is making 2012 one special year !!
Milan Cricket Club now turns its attention to foreign ventures – a trip to Geneva is next (might as well send Vikas on his own), weather permitting some games will be played in Ireland in August ( take your brollies, boys !!), and the wiser ones are off to try to achieve the unachievable – a win – in the fast and furious 6-a-side competition that is VISAS in Victoria, Canada ( definitely an “I’ve been there” moment).

Best wishes to you all for the summer,

P.S. A word of advice : if you ever play Monopoly, buy as many stations as possible (isn’t that right,
Ross ?)

P.P.S. Note to farmer whose fields are adjacent to the ground – some of your produce will be somewhat
more leathery than usual. “With added fibre !!” could be an addition to the product name.


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