Ranji is an eleven-year-old school going boy. He loves playing cricket and currently is a part of school’s cricket team. He practices a lot but nowadays his form is irregular. His scores in the last few matches are not up to the mark. Even in the today’s match he scored an egg i.e. zero. His captain encourages him but his coach gives him the warning that if failed to score in the next match, due on Saturday, he will be dropped from the team.
After the match in the evening, he is sad and going home silently. When he crosses the road at the Clock Tower, Mr. Kumar, who owns a big sports shop, calls him. Ranji often meets Mr. Kumar after the match but today he thought of avoiding him because of the bad performance at the match. Upon asking, Ranji says that he has lost the match and scored duck. Seeing him dejected, Mr. Kumar takes him to the storeroom – a place full of old sports equipment. Once Mr. Kumar was a state-level cricketer. He had scored a century against Tanzania. For this reason, he loves advising young batsmen for good shots. Mr. Kumar takes out an old bat and says to Rajni that this is his lucky bat, with that he scored a century and many more runs in his career.
Ranji thinking it of as a magical bat, goes home, and then gets himself practiced. When the match occurs, he scores 58 runs. He is too happy. He shares the news with Mr. Kumar. In fact, even in next matches he scores good runs and becomes the talk of the town.
One evening his friend Bhim gets injured while fielding. He takes him to the hospital, gets him bandaged, and then he returns home by bus. Upon reaching home, Koki, a girl from his neighbor, reminds him of his bat. He looks around to see that he has forgotten the bat somewhere. He goes back to the maidan running but finds no bat there. Then he remembers that he forgot the bat in the bus while traveling back home. The bat is lost and next Saturday he has to play against a team which is coming from Delhi.
Next day, he sadly narrates the incident to Mr. Kumar. Also, Ranji is now doubtful of his caliber as he has lost his magical bat. Then Mr. Kumar reveals that that bat wasn’t magical – it was an ordinary bat. So, he says that it is up to the batsman. The batsman should be confident enough and after that he can play with any bat. Ranji gets the inside mantra and the next match he played with Bhim’s bat and scored good runs.
This story is totally dedicated to those children who loved playing cricket during their childhood and the way Ruskin has provided on-field commentary is matchless – he sounds like a Geoffrey Boycott. Ranji’s character development with aspects like confidence and down phase in sports is worth learning a lesson.
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