There is a great sports concept that can be nurtured in the context of Kerala and its unique landscape, a State that has derived its name from keram, a Malayalam word for coconut palm.
When we were growing up in our village, Olavipe, full of coconut groves and surrounded on three sides by the backwaters, my cousins and I played cricket and other games. However, the rest of the village did not play the gentleman’s game, but was into football.
The chief reason was that coconut trees covered all the grounds. The playground adjacent to the only high school those days was reserved for football, which was far more popular all over Kerala. The remaining grounds had sandy, beach-like soil where not even a tennis ball, leave alone the red cherry, would bounce.
We played cricket among the coconut trees wherever the ground was firm and covered with buffalo grass, imagining the tall palms to be fielders who could stop a drive but would never take a catch. We used tennis balls or plain rubber balls and bats fashioned out of the wood of fallen palms. Sometimes, stumps were chiselled out of coconut trunks, but often, sticks broken off from the neighbouring fences would suffice.
We enjoyed our game thoroughly, with our own improvised rules. Some of us became accomplished batsmen, bowlers and even all-rounders. Then we formed a regular team, armed ourselves with proper bat and ball and played a few matches on proper cricket grounds against college teams in Alleppey