After exercises, Ish did catch and field practice. Ish stood in the middle with the bat as everyone bowled to him. He lobbed the ball high and expected everyone to catch. Ali never moved from his position. He could catch only when the ball came close to him. 'All right, let's play,' Ish clapped his hands.'Paresh, you are with me. We'll bowl first. Naveen you be in Ali's team and bat first.' Naveen took the crease and Ali became the runner. Naveen struck on Paresh's fourth ball. Ish ran to get the ball. It was an easy two runs, but Ali's laziness meant they could score only one. I'aresh took a three-step run-up and bowled. Ali struck, the ball rose and hurled towards the first floor. I ducked in the first floor balcony. The ball went past me and hit the branch manager's office window. Paresh had the same shocked expression as Ish, when Ali had hit a six off his first ball. 'Hey, what? You hero or something?' Ish ran to Ali. Ali looked puzzled at the reprimand. 'This is not a cricket ground. We are playing in a bank. If the ball goes out and hits someone, who will be responsible? What if things break? Who will pay?' Ish shouted. Ali still looked surprised. 'That was a good shot,' Paresh said. 'Shut up. Hey Ali, I know you can do that. Learn the other aspects of the game.' Ali froze, very near tears. 'Ok, listen. I am sorry. I did not mean to...,' Ish said. 'That is all I know. I can't do anything else,' Ali's voice cracked. 'We will teach you. Now why don't you bowl?' Ali didn't bat anymore that day. Ish kept the practice simple for the next half an hour and tried not to scream. The latter was tough, especially because he was an animal when it came to cricket. 'Get your books from upstairs. We will study in the backyard,' I told a sweaty 'Ali. He brought his books down and opened the first chapter of his maths book. It was on fractions and decimals. Omi brought two polypacks of milk. 'Here,' he gave one to Ish. 'Thanks,' Ish said, and tore it open with his mouth. 'And here, one more,' Omi said. 'For what?' Ish said, after taking a big sip. 'Give it to your stick insect,' Omi said. 'Have you seen his arms? They are thinner than the wicket. You want to make him a player or not?' 'You give him yourself,' Ish smiled. Omi shoved the milk packet near Ali and left. 'You have done some fractions before?' I said. He nodded. I told him to simplify 24/64 and he started dividing the numerator and denominator by two again and again. Of course, he lacked the intuition he had in hitting sixes in mathematics. However, his father had tried his best. 'See you at the shop,' Ish told me and turned to Ali, 'Any questions on cricket, champ?'
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