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Ravine cricket – how Tibetan monks play cricket on the rocks

Cricket in India is the real religion and Sachin Tendulkar is its God. This quote comes from the famous Australian captain Steve Waugh, who once praised the popularity of cricket in India. But what about when monks play cricket, which has a special status in India?

In the foothills of the Himalayas, in very harsh conditions, far from civilization and densely populated Indian cities, there is a small monastery in which a group of monks use cricket as a tool to help them focus on prayers and get closer to God.

Gully cricket – on the rocks and in minus 25

As such, cricket is probably not used anywhere else, but the peculiarity of the monastery in Ladakh is that it is probably the last place where you can play cricket in India. It is very cold here at times, there are a lot of stones and there is no proper playground, but all this does not prevent the monks from playing the game they call “ravine cricket”.

One of the monks, Stanzin Namgail, explains his love for cricket as follows: “We need to focus on prayers, and cricket helps to do this. For us, cricket is a holiday, this game has a special mission.”

Cricket in the monastery became the number one game after the arrival of Skalzang Kalyan Dorjey, the first cricketer in the region to build a professional career and play in India’s top cricket division.

Now Dorjey works as a guide in the monastery and gradually forms a cricket team – it regularly lacks players, but the cricketer does not despair and attracts more and more monks to the game. “Cricket is everything to me. This is my life,” he told the BBC.

“The monks don’t have much playing skills and it’s hard for us to find a bowler or a batter, but they play with a lot of passion, inspiration, which I really like.”

“As soon as we start playing cricket, religious issues fade into the background. It doesn’t matter if you are a monk, an atheist, a Muslim, a Buddhist or a Hindu – you are all members of the team and this is the most important thing. We are a team. No one has a special status.”

“We call our game gully cricket because the terrain is such that it is difficult to find a large flat area. We have stones all around, very little grass, but still, the main thing is not professional skills, but passion. Whoever loses, cleans the monastery and cooks food. So – the monks in our game have motivation!”.

In addition to prayers and cricket, in their free time, the monks study natural sciences, languages ​​- Hindi and English, and also engage in social work. They usually drink tea before the game and then go to dinner followed by prayer.

Cricket in down jackets

The most difficult thing is to play cricket in winter, when the ground turns into a skating rink, and the temperature reaches -25 degrees. Of course, there is no special infrastructure here – in the entire region, because all the fields for the game are at the basic level – even outside the monastery.

Dorjey: “We have a concrete field that can be matted. We use a leather ball. I try to play matches all over the region to get as many people as possible to play. My dream is to create a full-fledged team. Sometimes I drive 230 km a day across the region to play in some amateur tournament. This is my passion and I try to pass it on to everyone in my home region.”

“In winter we play on the ice – even when it snows. We put on down jackets, and on top – a uniform. Most players in such conditions do not really want to meet the ball, but still the excitement takes its toll.

“Now we have cricket every day from 4 pm to 6 pm, and no one wants to be left out, so you have to find the right role for everyone in the team. The monks understand all the benefits of cricket – it gives not only physical, but also mental stress.

Dorjey is more for the Mumbai Indians team – very popular in India and five times champion. You can bet on cricket at the Mostbet login India – it gives a pre-match line for the Indian Premier League, and also accepts live bets.

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