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Going native

From kachcha limbu to scooter, street cricket in India has evolved its own hyperlocal lexicon

Gully cricket slang in India varies from city to city, hills to plains  •  Getty Images

Gully cricket slang in India varies from city to city, hills to plains  •  Getty Images

Renowned sociologist Ashis Nandy said that cricket was an Indian game accidentally discovered by the British. And you'll believe it when you see how completely the game has been adapted to the Indian setting, to the extent that different parts of the country have own unique cricketing lexicon, which is just a posh way of saying there's a lot of cricket slang in India.
Khaya nahi, piya nahi, khaali peeli glass toda
Translation: You came to a restaurant, ate nothing, drank nothing and still ended up paying for breaking a glass.
Used when a player, usually a sub, does something stupid. For instance, a runner who runs the batsman out, or a substitute fielder who drops a catch.
Also known as: Tempu/tempo, for a slow-moving vehicle.
A slow runner or a slow fielder. Often affectionately used for VVS Laxman.
Sur sur batti
Translation: Something that slithers along the ground.
For a ball that hits the pitch and doesn't rise. Legend had it that Abid Ali could bowl such a delivery on demand after he got a couple of wickets with it.
Darpuk dalli/dilli
Translation: A coward at heart.
A batsman scared of fast bowling.
Kya soot diya, miya!
Translation: How he hammered it!
Used in appreciation of a fine shot.
Translation: A reference to the game of marbles, used for a fielder who excels at bringing down the stumps from anywhere on the field.
Ek aahe, ek aahe
Translation: There's a single, there's a single.
Used by batsmen, while rotating the strike.
Goli de rey hyala
Translation: Throw a bullet, won't you?
To ask a bowler to bowl a bouncer.
Bundhyaat tak
Translation:Put it in the hole.
To ask a bowler to bowl a yorker.
Translation: A brainless player.
Lyataa maach dhora
Translation: Grasp a live spotted snakehead.
A common reproach by coaches, captains and even spectators to censure a sloppy fielder who fumbles the most innocuous ball approaching along the ground, much in the fashion of trying to clutch an especially slimy variety of fish, notorious for its evasiveness.
Used in phrases such as "gallery deowa" or "gallery maara" (do a gallery). It refers to a fielder's tendency of adding an unnecessary degree of flamboyance to a regulation fielding effort, with a view to getting applause from spectators.
Translation: Characterised by a lob.
Describes a type of slow, flighted delivery, sent in by a bowler of any style, which tends to dip, deliberately or otherwise, in front of the batsman and ends as a full toss. The term also refers to an easy catch that follows the trajectory of a gentle lob and eventually presents itself as a dolly.
Jhaata deowa
Also known as: Jhaaru maara.
Translation: To sweep.
Often used when an attempt at playing the sweep shot results in the batsman inadvertently ploughing a chunk off the pitch or whipping up a puff of dust without reaping any other rewards.
Also known as: Jaali (Counterfeit)
Translation: Good for nothing.
A lamentably incompetent player.
Hawaa deowa
Translation: To whisk air.
The hapless phase during a batsman's stay at the crease when he continuously plays and misses a string of balls pitched outside the off stump.
Tadi/tadi dili
Translation: The outer limits of the city.
A big hit.
Leg in leg
Translation: Directly translated from paayaat paay in Marathi.
When you've had a very tiring day in the field, and can't walk straight.
Translation: A street game in which you aim a ball at a pile of stones. Another word for a chucker.
Light bulb
Used to describe a reflex catch. "Light bulb pakadla." (Caught the light bulb) - when you raise your hands and the catch sticks.
Translation: Stingy, mean-spirited.
A term that has come to describe the "Bombay style" of batting, which gives nothing away.
Translation: Popat is parrot in Marathi.
A mediocre cricketer.
Third man-fine leg
Deployed in an off-field context to describe a receding hairline.
Translation: Flat.
A flat wicket.
Translation: A spinning top.
A rank turner.
Translation: To sit.
Used to describe a batsman getting down on one knee and hitting a bowler over midwicket. The story goes that Vinod Kambli would sometimes call from the non-striker's end, asking the batsman to give the bowler a baithak.
Kawla udavla
Translation: Made a crow fly.
For a shot that goes vertically up from a top edge.
Kaakdi shot
Translation: A shot that sounds like a cucumber being snapped in half.
A cracking shot.
Gyanba Tukaram
Origin: Varkaris, a sect of Hindus in Maharashtra, take out an annual procession where they chant "Gyanba Tukaram" and dance to the beat of the lezim, a musical instrument with small jingling cymbals. The dance involves taking one step forward and one back
Used to describe a batsman playing and missing - the reference being to the action, which resembles the lezim dance.
RD Burman
Origin: RD Burman was a famous Hindi film music composer.
Code for the slip cordon to join in chorus with the wicketkeeper in appeal. Said to have been invented by former Bombay wicketkeeper Sulakshan Kulkarni.
Nariman na jooey le
Translation: (from Gujarati) Take a look at Nariman (here referring to the point fielder; "point" referring to Nariman Point in Mumbai).
Used when telling the bowler's-end umpire to keep an eye on the point fielder, who is deliberately wandering outside the 30-yard circle.
Translation: Shooter.
A delivery that goes along the ground, especially on muddy pitches.
Translation: Hoick.
A wild swing of the bat, or a slog towards the leg side.
Chala ke khel
Translation: Push the run rate along.
When batsmen go for their shots and keep taking singles and twos to rotate the strike and raise the scoring rate.
Translation: Chucker.
Beech ka bichhoo
Translation: The common one.
When an odd number of people playing gully cricket are divided into two teams and the last one left, the weakest player, bats for both teams.
Ulta bat out
Translation: Back of the bat out.
A batsman being declared out if the ball hits the back of his bat while playing a stroke.
Kacchi mitti
Translation: Clay.
Also: Kaccha limbu (an unripe lime)
A very young player, who is allowed to bat for an over or so, disregarding any dismissals that may occur in that time.
Chor bowling
Translation: To bowl like a miser.
Used when a bowler deals in tight lines and lengths to keep the run-scoring down.
Translation: Brass.
Also known as: Bhatha.
A term for a difficult delivery - one that requires effort and precision, like, say, a yorker. From the fact that brass, being a metal, is hard.
Translation: To stone.
Used by the keeper or close-in fielders, to ask the spinner to bowl a quicker delivery.
Translation: Beating up (Gujarati); betrayal (Hindi).
A pinch-hitter or a hard-hitting batsman. "A dhokabaji, like Yusuf Pathan, can do the job when the required rate is quite steep."
Translation: Crow.
A clever/street-smart cricketer. Someone who can chip in here or there and change the course of the game.
Translation: Mango
"Manga adikkaranda" (hitting mangoes) is used to describe a bowler with a suspect action. It involves chucking the ball as though one is aiming a stone at a mango on a tree to bring it down.
Katta viral la raththam varudu
Also known as: Kuri pathu podu / Kala pathu podu Translation: The toe is bleeding.
To say that a bowler has dropped it very short: so short that it's like the ball landed on his toes.
Kaththi podran
Translation: Inserting a knife
For a cross-batted shot played across the line, like how one might wield a knife.
Poi bowling/bowler
Translation: False bowling
Used for a spinner who does not turn the ball or do much, or one who puts in a lot of effort but does nothing and seems a lot more dangerous than he actually is.
Arai kozhi
Translation: Half a chicken
A long hop.
Mooku mele
Also known as: Dhanakoti sixer (after Dhanakoti, a stonewaller in local cricket) or "local six".
Translation: On top of your nose.
Describes a mistimed skier that ends in a catch within single-saving distance.
Compiled by: Vishal Dikshit, Akshay Gopalakrishnan, Annesha Ghosh, Shashank Kishore and Sharda Ugra

With thanks to VVS Laxman, Aakash Chopra, Amol Muzumdar, V Ramnarayan, Harsha Bhogle, Sunandan Lele, Clayton Murzello, Hemant Kenkre, Aritri Mitra, Binita Roy Moulick, Dipen Rudra and Jinia Roy