Cricket on skates in Rajkot

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Rajkot, Sept 27 : In an innovation, cricket is played on skates in Rajkot in Gujarat. The new version of the sport, though risky, is fairly popular among the youth.

Normally, cricket is played on a large field covered with grass and a specially prepared pitch. But in this version, the ground is not only small, not larger than a basketball ground, but also made of concrete to allow the skates to play with ease.

Interestingly, the idea of organizing cricket on skates has been floated by a skating coach and not a cricketer.

"I have been running a skating institute for the past 15 years. There are many variations of skating, but I wanted do something new. Since cricket is a very popular sport, so I decided to play cricket with skates. It is a new concept in the country as well as the world. The children have been practicing it for the past three months," said Pushpa Rathod, president of Rajkot roller skating association. In this new version, both boys and girls play together. The rules of this sport have been modified to make it more attractive. There are seven players in a team including the wicket keeper. Each team bowls ten overs in the hybrid sport that is quite popular among children.

"I have been practicing skating since long. My coach once told that I have to play cricket on skates. I was shocked and surprised. Then she explained to me how to play the sport and now I can bowl and bat with skates," said Dharini, a skates cricketer.

Watching the game is a great fun. Both fast bowlers and spin bowlers have a long run up. And almost all kinds of shots that we see in normal cricket are played in this innovation too, though they may not be played in a copybook style. So, shots with cross bat are fairly common.

There was a sense of elation among the parents as they watched their children play the game.

"Basically, its very hard to balance on skates, but the way they are running after the ball, catching it, balancing on wheels, its really tough. I really love the concept. I hope the game becomes popular," said Krishna, mother of a player.

The players wear a helmet as a safety gear. Initially, the players have been using a tennis ball, but they plan to play it with a leather ball in future. The national championship of cricket on skates will be held in 2009. By Suresh Soni

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