Write Start (11-15): Nishka Basdeo swings for the hills, as she tries to impress Sunil Narine

“[…] My heavy breathing continued. It increased with every passing second. As I grasped the bat in my hand I gazed at the crowd surrounding me. 

“The sight of opposing players poised in their game positions conjured feelings I did not know existed. But nothing compared to the sight of Sunil Narine sitting merely 100 feet away from me…”

Fifteen-year-old Naparima Girls’ High School student Nishka Basdeo is our third shortlisted fictional writer for the inaugural Wired868 Write Start competition. Her essay is in the 11-15 category entitled ‘The day I met my local hero’:

Photo: Kolkata Knight Riders and Trinidad and Tobago cricket star Sunil Narine.
(via IPL)

The mesmerising aroma of intensity and excitement tainted the air. The cascading colours of yellow and purple consumed the stadium seats. 

The deafening cheers of supporters indicated the final ball was about to be bowled. Eyes widened. Spectators stood from their seats. Seconds turned into hours as the solid white sphere escaped the bowlers grasp. 

The constant chatter decimated. A loud crack echoed in the ear-piercing silence. It was over. History was made. In that moment my world stopped. My six-year-old hand clenched my mother’s with all of my strength. All I could see was him.

A sense of admiration ignited inside me. A sense of pride and victory erupted from the Kolkata Knight Riders fans as the ball was retrieved from the stands.

As he paced off the field, the winning six runs he had just hit was reflected by the joy in his eyes. I whispered to myself, “I want to play cricket like him, like Sunil Narine.”

Photo: KKR batsman Sunil Narine smashes a deliver during Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket action.
(via IPL)

I was blasted back into reality by the familiar cheers of supporters. The stadium lights glared at me. I could feel the pressure coursing through my veins like venom. A single drop of sweat rolled down my cheek. My hair attacked my face inside the helmet, decreasing my already low level of comfort. 

My heavy breathing continued. It increased with every passing second. As I grasped the bat in my hand I gazed at the crowd surrounding me. The sight of opposing players poised in their game positions conjured feelings I did not know existed. But nothing compared to the sight of Sunil Narine sitting merely 100 feet away from me. 

As the ball was launched from the bowler’s hand, a large gust wind escaped from my mouth. The sight of the ball hurling at me sewed my eyes shut. I swung the bat with every ounce of strength left inside me. I was drowned in a wave of despair upon the realisation I had missed. 

“Why?” I said to myself, “Just why?” 

In my 15 years on earth, I had never recalled playing this badly. The look on my teammates’ face did nothing but confirm my self-accusations. This was it. The final ball was about to be delivered. 

Photo: TKR fans battle nerves during the CPL final against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on 9 September 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“Six runs,” I whispered to myself. This was my last chance. 

My mind tried to motivate my body with inspiring thoughts. My left hand relaxed on the handle of the bat while my right simultaneously did the opposite. I silently and quickly prepared myself for the outcome. 

The bowler stepped back. My breathing intensified. I could feel the blood rushing through my veins as the adrenaline devoured me. I raised my bat. The ball was out of her hand. I stepped forward positioning myself. With every passing second, my heart rate increased. 

I thought to myself, “Last chance.” 

I swung the bat forward. As it collided with the ball I could feel the impact surge through the equipment and into my arms, consuming my body. The ball cut through the air at what seemed like the speed of a bullet. My body felt numb as I glued my eyes to ball. Staring at it as of it was my final supply of oxygen. 

Image: Thok!!!

As it began to decline in the air, every ounce of hope flooded out of my body. All I could do now was watch. I immediately knew. It was not going to make it.

The bat dropped from my hands in overwhelming devastation. As the ball landed comfortably in the hands of the opposing captain the life drained out of me. My only desire disintegrated in front of me. 

My only chance to impress my hero was compromised by the very thing that put me in this position. I walked off the field reluctantly accepting my defeat.

As I crossed over the boundary with my head gazing at the grass I at once crashed into something. I shrugged off my minor scrapes and looked up. I paused. My jaw literally dropped. I could not believe it.

I could see the hand extended in front me but I refused to believe the face it belonged to. I slowly grabbed his hand and pulled myself up. I tried to apologise but my words proved to be as shocked as I was. 

Photo: West Indies cricketer Sunil Narine trains at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on 2 April 2014 during the ICC World Twenty20 cricket tournament.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Punit Paranjpe)

Realisation finally hit me. I was face to face with Sunil Narine. My mind went blank. As I stared at him speechless he said, “You played well.” 

My heart melted. All I could hear was his voice repeating those words back to me. After shaking my hand, he disappeared into the crowd. 

Excitement and shock buried my feet into the earth. My heart pounded aggressively trying to escape my chest. I smiled. 

As I let his words absorb into my mind, I repeated to myself, “I played well.”

Editor’s Note: Wired868 will announce the winners of the inaugural Write Start competition on 13 December 2021. The first place winner will get TT$6,000, a six month mobile plan from bmobile, and two complimentary movie tickets to CinemaONE.

Click HERE for more information on the Wired868 Write Start prize structure and do share your favourite essays!

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