Tale of Friendships, cricket lovers and the art of batting trainingKalyan_Kumar (ROWDIES with the bat)
43 months ago
Well, I am gonna take a good 10-12 mins of your valuable time to take you on a crazy ride and to share my experiences and what made hitwicket very special and so close to me…
Before, I start talking about hitwicket, I must mention about a lot of people and another game which lead to a big group of 30-40 friends joining hitwicket.
All of us were ardent cricket lovers like every other youth of Sub- continent nations. Majority of them belonging to India, followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Srilanka… It’s been almost a decade since we all started knowing each other, when we got connected through a multiplayer online game- “Howzat”. Richard, Subhajit, Karan, Jazib, Nalin, Mihir, Mohtshim chotte, Soju, Sultan bhai, Yugam, Palani, Anup, Neeraj paaji, Vinay, Zeeshan, Rahimuddin, Vikas, Z K Khan, Ali, Usman, Anup, Naveed and many more… There used to be lot of gaming, unofficial tournaments, tag team matches, achievements and yes fights do happen when there is competition and we all played it for years, over different versions of the game !!! Somewhere in 2011-12 the game was hit by a huge bug which let users gain millions of coins that helps you use powerups and then a lot things changed over, we limited ourselves to play 4’s matches which meant the powerups were not of any use and finally we were fed up with a lot of more bugs in to the game.
Right after the New Year eve, some of my friends started playing a game, which would load up ****ing cricket commentaries and don’t let you do anything and you looked dumb infront of those algorithms (Courtesy: Sojumon), he found it somewhere on the net. Suddenly, a lot of friends asked me to accept their invites to join and had no clue what it was about as it did not impress me @ all, being a hardcore gamer (was not a management material I believed back then), I remember accepting Karan’s invite to join the game and made a team named “Raskals XI”, did not login for few days after joining, but whenever I got free from my college and office routine, I used to ping my friends for howzat friendly and they were busy playing hitwicket, which eventually forced me to login again and karan said you will have to read the manual if you need to understand the game -_- I was like wth >:O !!!
Then, I read the few captions of manual, and found it very boring and then I was again suggested to get on with the friendly matches which was available free back then, for the newbies for a week of so after joining. Within few hrs, I found it very addictive and was not reluctant to leave my system @ all even to do the simplest of things :P The team was noobest as we get few star players and filled with noobs whom I was asked to fire and I did fire a few of them retaining the most of my squad. The addiction was to such level that, to get free matches I was opening a new hitwicket account with new email ids almost every day and also started transferring players between the teams which meant “Raskals XI” was banned (Silly newbie mistakes u see :P) “Rowdy XI aka ROWDIES with the BAT” was only an invitee of my first team which was let by the devs to continue with and I remember getting my first scout from Goa whom I trained for a brief amount of time and sold for profits eventually “Abhi- http://hitwicket.com/player/show/2478715” I always wanted to put him in my hall of fame and have been largely unsuccessful time and again when he came up on sale. Still some of my first set of trainees names are fresh in my minds (H Elahi, David Scutt, S Goel, etc), such was the addiction level :P !!!
I made a group in fb known as “Hitwicket Panthers” where, almost all our howzat friends were part of it and we used to share our day to day progresses, like scouts, matches, league day posts, transfer ads, training updates on Saturday morning :P !!! Some of us joined VI 898 and formed a integral part of the league for a good period of time after I intentionally got relegated from div 5 after back to back season triumphs with in few months of joining. Richie and Jitte (Subhajit) were always good friends and I used to win over Richie easily while, Jitte was hard to beat given his understanding of the game. Karan bc was always a critic and mind eater :P, but would always cry foul over every loss that he suffered back then :P I used to cry over his Saha and he used to cry over Abhi & Fazal (Trainees back then). My intentional relegation in my 3rd season was the first step towards long- term planning and the beginning of a dream to win U-20 and Premier league. A lot of my friends were not very amused when I used to chat for long about that, as they usually found it very boring, as I was time and again referring to same thing lol :P
Thereafter, I started training young scouts and sold them in market @ u20 rush for profits, during the course of these trades I made a good number of friends including some biggest names of hitwicket, Ashrabh, Raj, Alvi, Priyansh, Anil (First ever Batting trainer to win U-20), Satyam (Then Goa HC), Sushant, etc. I credit my change of approach towards the game largely to Ashrabh (Cyclops Manager), first ever manager to win Premier league division thrice and his 200-220k bowlers were invincible and was just winning leagues @ his will. Rajat was the Sandy baba to the users back then, who would diligently revert to almost every queries of a newbie about the game. Zahid Malik, the bat from Delhi (belonged to Kashyap) was my favorite in the league.
The Stage was set for U-20 XI, I had about less than 200 millions in my bank and bought trainees with a very decent budget and was left with about 120-130 millions, with 3 seasons time for preparation for the first ever hunt for hitwicket glory. The u20 journey was not meant to be easy, as a huge number of friend s became contenders too :3, including Richie, Karan, Yusi, Aditya, Prasanth, Shobit, Rafa, Sahil, Legions and many more. Although, everybody believed that, I had the most balanced and intimidating team for the cup which also included a Fan/Fan, Magni/Pro and Bri/Magni bats (courtesy: individual batting training was just unveiled when I purchased trainees for u20) !!! In about 3 seasons, before I could start buying bowlers I had almost doubled my balance and it was nothing less than 250 millions, thanks to no restrictions on trade back then :* !!! I had deals done with the bowling department too and had almost left everyone guessing as I was not reluctant to buy even Fan/avg bowler sold by legions. Legions also adapted well and made good balance during the same course of time. While, some of the friends had left with very less who did not trade much, we both had good chances of making in to the top 4 in terms of team on paper. But, it was not meant to be true, I was handed a shocker in green top in round of 16 and my opponent Rafa won the game by 1 wicket which meant not only I was out of u20 cup (http://hitwicket.com/match/show/6303744), had also bid adieu to the game itself. The cup was eventually won by Legions and remained largely unchallenged. I was heartbroken and it remains a uncherished dream even today.
Though, thanks to many of my friends, some of whom are still part of my day to hitwicket life, suggested me to take a break, which did work well in due course of time. As I had decided to sell my entire team including some of the best batsmen, hitwicket has ever seen at that point of time. Some oldest managers of the game used to point out during random chats, not to be very emotionally attached to the trainees and was surely a difficult decision to sell them. Thereafter, I did not waste time in buying new set of trainees and got most of them reasonable cheaper when compared to my earlier u20 stint, Though, they all were 3 u20 eligibles, U20 participation was only limited to help my trainees gain experience and to increase finances qua sponsor income and match wins bonus.
Another league requires a mention here, V- 194, I made it my fortress as I was holding to the top spot almost the entire phase of the league and let the second positioned team win towards the end for about 4 seasons. Once the trainees were nearing end of their teenage :P I aimed my first promotion from div 5 and then with 4 back to back promotions, I was in Premier Division aka I.1 with just 23 yrs old trainees and a breathtaking bowling attack which was meant to trouble any batting line- up (was meant to be a cakewalk literally- You learn from your mistakes ;). Well, some people were in shock and it did raised a few eyebrows too, who started to point out almost my every transfers as they deemed it as inflated (they need a mention here, without them this journey would be incomplete :P) But, thanks to the relentless support of some friends whom I have gained during this journey who would ping me for their queries and they stood with me unconditionally and showed their strong support, viz., Aakash, Janith, Jamir bhai, Salim, Shri and many more !!!
During this process, the introduction of alliance in hitwicket, also helped me gain a lot of friends such as Raj, Raman, Kunal, Nathan, Vijay and many more, the majority of the alliance always had members from the panthers community and it was like spending time with the ppl whom we loved the most under a single roof....
My first season with Premier league was only meant to be sustaining the heat of the league as it had very strong teams when compared to my relatively younger set of trainees, the rotation policy for bowlers meant the loss was negligible when you resell them. Trading had almost stopped after getting to div 1, as you need to maintain your key players in decent form and a lot of players in the squad meant a gamble which you should not opt for.
After 2 seasons of under-dog tag, Rowdies were ready to become Ruthless and planned to go big for Season 25 and made some rave buys from market, thanks to bibin john (Previously Lanka HC which won the WC), who helped us make some important buys before the start of the season by convincing his friends to sell some players who proved decisive as the season progressed, which meant the other contenders were going also going to face a stiff challenge this time. I remember a league mate pinging me in fb and warning me about getting banned if I was preparing for the title this time, for reasons well known to him, (don’t want to name him :v). There is no point in stirring any controversies I would rather apprise you on people who were instrumental towards this achievement. Bibin, as I said was always motivating and even helped me make some crucial buys that season.
The much anticipated title hunt started with a disappointing loss in the opener, followed by 2 more losses in the next 5 games… (Courtesy: the introduction of AM on that season). The battle was not lost though, as everybody was struck with the AM dilemma, meant shocking losses to teams who were also in contention for the title. The only positive was a comprehensive win over XOR’s in an away game inspite of those losses. The introduction of traits were like adding fuel to the already burning fire to higher division managers, with each game becoming very important. But, thanks to the unofficial tournaments which becomes a good platform to test your management skills and team strength in comparison to similar teams of hitwicket universe (tournies organized by shrenik, aqeel needs a special mention- thanks a lot guys). To win the title on the backdrop of those early losses, was never going to be easy and it was nothing less to be the historic Eden Gardens test (to win 12 consecutive games). Inspite of a staggering comeback, to be in contention for the title, some league mates had other ideas and were prepared to stoop to any level to not let us win and had set even negative line up and nearly spoiled the party. A league which we should have won comprehensively in the end, but was not meant to be and we were forced to seek help from our league mates and was subsequently decided on NRR with 30 points each for top 2 teams. Amidst all the criticisms and the match fixings saga, one who guy stood by me in every moment was Amber, even though I know him for a long period of time, the relation moved to another level after his preparations for u20 had begun, with time things got better and better, “I would go to war with Amber by my side”- such has been his influence. I remember him waking up @ 5 am to help me out with something :P I believe you can’t forget it too when you were in Nashik that too for your exams ;)
After getting the recognition we deserved, we tried hard to defend our title, however, proved unsuccessful as we lost both our games to the team which won the league subsequently. Thanks to some bad tricks played mid season by not letting us buy a bowler to cover up for form slump that week, although it’s tough to say how much impact it would have made. We did managed to buy a bowler later, to have depth in squad, but proved inadequate, as we realized it was not the question of strategies and it was the skills which decided the league winner the subsequent season as we had to settle for runner-up title. On the brink of failure, we decided to make use of the situation and sold our entire team as another revamp was announced. The decision was not only influenced by the the failure in Season 26, it had more to do with the developers announcing the change in rsp policy for players in the age group of 28 years and above which would have meant a huge amount of wealth being drained away from the club. Hence the revamp.
Season 26, will not be remembered for runner up finish alone, I had contested for the post of Australian HC and was immensely supported by a large number of managers, friends and was elected to lead Australia, though number of voters turnout, has been kept secret by the devs even today :P Having been elected as a HC of a nation which loves cricket largely, the onus was on us to prove that we were capable enough to handle such a prestigious team. We needed some friends, who could support us in the process and brought on board Amber and Jamir Bhai as the Assistant Coaches with Neil Howlett (our statsman :P) who played a massive role in the management with the tools he had developed for the game. The journey was really super awesome as we defeated some of the favorites to qualify for the finals, which proved one sided (courtesy: the mighty lankan squad- which was nothing less than invincible) and adding to that we also lost the toss.
It’s been 3 seasons almost we revamped, we have invested on some gem trainees this time and did spent a good amount when compared to previous occasions and further ensured the bats are of Indian descendants. We have always trained in batting ever since we started to play hitwicket and the art of batting training is another important thing which keeps us focused in the game. At this point of time, even those trainees have been sold almost and on the brink of a forced send off from the game of hitwicket.
Personally, I have not been very happy with the introduction of features such as Personal Coaching Cards for money, etc which surely spoiled the beauty of the game.. So, unless now the game sticks to its promises there is no point in continuing this game !!!
Despite all that, these 4-5 years will have a special mention in my life J , not just about how much time we spent on this, its more about the fun we had here !!!
Luv ya all <3
Another proud batting trainer ;)