I was frightened but she shrugged it off washed her face and as the bleeding

I was frightened but she shrugged it off washed her

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force with which the ball hit her. I was frightened but she shrugged it off, washed her face and as the bleeding stopped, we continued the game. But, for the rest of the day it was only forward defence for me. I restrained myself and played no attacking shot. Cricket, to use a cliché, is ‘in my blood’. My father was a good club cricketer in his days and a keen student of the game. Even now we have interesting discussions on various aspects of the game and I have found his advice invaluable in the development of my career. And, as I have already said, I have had the privilege of having a cricketing mother, who helped me to take the first steps in the game I have come to love. My uncle, Madhav Mantri, who played for India in four ‘official’ tests, though not very successfully, was a force to reckon with in first-class games. Whenever I went to my uncle’s house my favorite pastime used to be to take out his pullovers and caress them with a sense of longing. I was so attracted by the India test pullovers that once I even dared to ask him if I could take one, since he had so many. My uncle told me that one has to sweat and earn the India ‘colours’ and I too should work hard to earn the distinction. That is a lesson I have never forgotten. Looking back, I am glad that my uncle did not succumb to my childish fancy and instead, taught me that there was no short-cut to the top. I was also fascinated by the many souvenirs he had and the large number of trophies he had won. What I liked most was the stump bearing the autographs of the 1952 India and England teams, and I loved to linger over the autograph of every player. Right from the beginning, I wanted to become a batsman and I hated losing my wicket. This became such an obsession with me that, if the rest of the boys ever got me out, I would fight and eventually walk home with the bat and the ball. This would bring the game to an abrupt end since nobody else had a ball or bat. The boys cursed and called me names, but the tension did not last long and we generally got on very well. Among these early comrades with whom I played were the Ambaye brothers, the Mandrekar brothers and several others who made up our team. Whenever I batted they would decide beforehand that they would appeal at a particular ball and whether I was out or not, I had to go by the majority verdict! We often played matches against teams made up of boys living in the neighbouring building and there was tremendous interest in the ‘trophies’ as we called them. These trophies were small white-metal cups for which we all contributed and bought for as little as Rs. 1.50. INTEXT QUESTIONS 1.2
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