When you think of things that define India, it hardly comes to mind, but the truth is, gully cricket defines India just as much as Diwali, Bollywood and the summer heat. Gully cricket personifies the ‘chalta hai’ attitude, where the lack of a proper ground and gear is no excuse to not indulge in our country’s favorite pastime. Gully cricket is an inevitability for the children of India. Almost everyone would have played it, some time or the other.
All you need to play are a bat( or something that resembles it), a tennis ball, an open street/alley (cars zooming back and forth are no object) and a knowledge of the basic rules of cricket, along with many extra clauses, usually added on the spot, to make it feasible to play on the dusty road. There are, however, a few rules which are fairly common, wherever gully cricket is played. For example, a batsman can retire his innings at any time (usually to eat lunch) and come back later to continue on the same score. Another common rule is that a catch can be taken, albeit only with one hand, even after the ball pitches once. Many other rules are added, depending on the surroundings. Also, the guy who owns the bat is supreme, and window breaking is an eventuality.
To most Indian kids, gully cricket is synonymous with summer holidays, playing for hours under the hot sun and stopping only when the ball is no longer visible, with just enough time to eat, sleep and wake up to start the next day’s play. Days turn into weeks, with everyone blissfully unaware, trying to emulate their cricketing idols.
In fact, many Indian cricketing stars owe their success to some street or back alley. This is where every Indian’s love story with cricket begins.