Not far south of the town of Mankulam, six boys are playing a neighborhood match.
All are dark and scrawny, none older than 12. The smallest of them takes guard in front of stumps improvised from a strip of reconstituted wood and propped up by old bricks. He grips his bat near the bottom of the crudely fashioned handle, and taps it on the ground as the bowler, a much taller kid with dangling arms, begins his approach.
The run-up is rhythmic and the action smooth, but he has over pitched on where off stump would be. The batsman plants his front foot, raising a small cloud of red dust, then swings and connects. A forceful bottom hand helps the ball over mid-on, for four.