Leg Cricket is yet to become a popular sport in Odisha, but Bargarh boy Chandan Ray is Captain of the India U-19 Leg Cricket team now.
Leg Cricket is similar to cricket in many ways but different as well. The sport is played only in the sub continent (Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka apart from India) as of now.
Leg Cricket is played between two teams, each with 11 players. When one side is legging the other will be fielding. The bowler rolls down the football-sized ball using under arm action and the legsman needs to hit the ball to score single, double, triple runs by running across the pitch or score a four or a six by kicking the ball out of the boundary line as in cricket. A legsman is declared out if he or she touches the ball twice or kicks with the wrong leg, caught, run out or hit wicket as in cricket. The team, which scores more runs is declared winner.
“At an event in our school, a number of new sports were demonstrated. We had to form a team to take part in the first national leg cricket championship. That is how I came to know of the sport. Though I could not take part in the first nationals because of a fitness issue, I made it to the second edition that was organised in Ambala in 2013,” said the 18-year old.
Since he put up a stellar performance, he was straightaway chosen as captain for the first Indo-Nepal Leg Cricket Series held at Kathmandu in 2013.
At present, Chandan is busy taking part in events in Bargarh to encourage more youngsters to take up the sport. It has already become popular in western Odisha districts and the Odisha Association for Leg Cricket was formed last month in Sambalpur. Chandan feels taking the new sport to more cities in the state will help it grow.