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Billy, the ball had been missing all morning and Bittu, the bat was growing worried. The players would be here soon and they’ll need Billy for their practice session.

Bittu looked everywhere; in the kit bags, in the lockers and even the washrooms. But, Billy was nowhere to be seen.

Bittu walked around the dressing room looking for him. He saw the stumps sleeping the corner and asked them if they had seen Billy.

Opening one sleepy eye each, they said, “He should be around here somewhere,” and went back to sleep. The long hours playing day-night matches had left the stumps exhausted and Bittu decided to let them rest.

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He saw one of the players’ pads on a table and asked them if they had seen Billy. “We saw him heading to the stadium,” they said.

Bittu looking in the field and couldn’t find Billy anywhere. As he walked around the boundary, his face lit up. In a ditch almost completely hidden from view, was Billy. He looked like he was hiding from something.

Bittu walked up to him and said, “Hey Billy, what are you doing down there? The players will be here soon and will need us for practice.”

“I’m not coming for practice today,” said Billy. There was sadness in his voice.

“Why? What’s the matter Billy?” asked Bittu.

“As a ball, I feel nobody gives me the respect I deserve,” said Billy.

“What made you feel this way?” asked Bitty, a little concerned.

“When I was hit into the stands last night, I heard some people talking.

They said they’d hate to be a cricket ball because it’s the worst job. They said that all a cricket ball does is get beaten up. The fielders keep tossing me around from one place to another and nobody really appreciates my contributions,” said Billy. “This is why I have decided to stop playing cricket.”

“Oh, so that’s what’s happening,” said Bittu, with a smile.

“Here I am telling you my troubles and you’re smiling?” asked Billy.

“I’m sorry Billy, I was just smiling at your innocence,” said Bittu. To tell you the truth, cricket wouldn’t exist without you. You may be small in size, but all eyes are always on you. All the players are always running behind you and only you can make the crowd go wild.”

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“What do you mean?” asked Billy.

“When the bowler sneaks you past the bat and you hit the stumps, the crowd cheers. The same thing happens when you get hit over the boundary,” said Bittu.

“About that, I just remembered that I’m mad at you too. You keep hitting me all the time,” complained Billy.

“I’m so sorry Billy,” said Bittu. “I never mean to hit you on purpose. Besides, even though we may be on opposite teams on the field, off the field we’re best of friends.”

Billy felt a little better now and realized that being a cricket ball wasn’t as bad as he thought. He jumped out of the ditch and went back to the dressing room with Bittu.