Currently, the sport is played only in four countries — India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

Last year, a sporting event in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, left the spectators — who could be counted on fingers — puzzled.

A bunch of youngsters, divided into two teams of 11 each, took their places on a cricket-sized field and indulged in a unique game. The field setting was the same as that of a cricket match, as were many rules. But when the bowler delivered the football-size ball with an underarm action, those watching were left amazed. The player at the crease used his foot to send it across the boundary. Was it football, or were they watching some new form of cricket?

Welcome to the world of leg cricket, which is nascent and almost unknown in the country. But make no mistake. India have a team led by the 19-year-old Chandan Ray; the national body — Leg Cricket Federation, India, was formed in 2011 — is registered with the International Leg Cricket Council and currently this form of cricket is played in four nations.Says Ray, who belongs to the Bargarh district of Odisha, “It is different (from cricket) and we often have people asking us questions about the format of leg cricket. For a spectator, it is something unique and makes for an interesting viewing.“Right now, the sport is still new and we are finding ways to take it to the masses.”Let us get down to the rules, first.Although similar to cricket in many ways, leg cricket has its own set of rules and format. On winning a toss, a captain can chose legging (akin to batting) or fielding. There are ones and twos, and even boundaries but no use of the bat. Instead, the players use a football-style shot to kick the ball.Explains Ray, who took up the sport four years ago, “Leg cricket is played on a circular ground with a radius between 80 and 120 feet. The pitch is eight feet wide and 42-48 feet long, depending on the age group or category of the players.

hemendralal7@gmail.com
hemendralal7@gmail.com

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