I used to be a huge cricket fan. The crazy types. The type with the complete center fresh card collection. The mandatory scrapbook of statistics. The room covered with posters, the BDM bat. The type who knew every player in the Holland team by batting average. But somehow down the years the passion fizzled out. The center fresh cards lay resting in some unknown corner of my attic. My BDM bat needs a new grip and the scrapbook has long gone yellow.


The upcoming World cup didn’t really light any sparks nor did the status message countdowns induce any anticipation. Times of India’s daily four pages of hype had no effect. That was all until I heard of a betting pool. A betting pool so secret and so terrible that only three people were allowed into it’s inner circle of treachery. The lure of great riches merely by predicting who would win a couple of silly cricket matches proved too great for me. I knew a bit about cricket, this should be easy I thought to myself.


Now there are many great things about being a wizard. The cool staff, the pointy hat, getting to be late whenever you want to… But the most advantageous: Conties. And using those wizardly conties I was able to gain entry into the Ring of evil ( Er… that’s the betting pool) . I began to brush up on my rusty knowledge to get back in touch. The old feelings and memories about the game came rushing back. Gully cricket where only one shot got you runs. Hand cricket, leg cricket, exam board cricket. Cricket in the driveway, cricket on the roof, cricket on the road, cricket on the footpath. Rubber ball cricket, tennis ball cricket, leather ball cricket, paper ball cricket. Bets with my grandfather ( they were more like excuses for him to give his grandson 10 bucks for absolutely no reason ). Crying after India lost in Calcutta all those years ago in that semi-final. Tendulkar hooking Caddick for a six ( Yes, that one wonly) . Yup, I was back.


And so, with the terms of the betting procedure it was time to place our first bets. Using the foresight of the ancients and guided by the will of Eru I was sure to win. With the huge amounts of money at stake, I had no choice but to win.


Betting on Pakistan to win against West Indies was always a bad idea, but I had insider information. Lost heavily there. Put me straight into the negatives. Then there were the upsets. The massacre of the favourites. So much death. What could men do against such reckless hate? Betting on the favourites put me back further. Friggin minnows, I knew I should have risked it all. Every instinct told me to bet on Ireland but it was not meant to be. So it came down to the final match. The match to end all matches. Lives were at stake. We placed our bets. Me on India, M and B ( The other two of the Ring of Evil ) on India and Sri Lanka. Sure, India lost to Bangladesh, but I think with my heart.


Now I’m back from the common room. A bankrupt Maiar. A wizard in debt. However will I raise the sum of Rs.5.5 to pay off the hounds? I guess the awakened passion will go back to sleep. Stupid game anyways. So boring.


P.S : For the first time ever, the secret records of the Ring of evil :




Sure B won the huge sum of Rs.9.5, but he lost his chappals in front of the common room. You win some , you lose some I guess.