Cricket Made Easy
Cricket, known to most people as Cricket, was founded some time ago by some Englishman who was, most assuredly, intoxicated at the time, as is the case with many great sports. The way I picture the invention is a drunk guy throwing rocks at loosely hanging sticks, and his friend ruining his fun by batting the rocks away with a stick. From there, they just adapted it to include more people and additional rules. This is probably not how it happened, but I’m free to imagine.
Types of Cricket
There are many types of cricket, but there are only a few popular enough to mention. They’re separated into two types. The highest level of Cricket is known as Test Cricket. I’m not entirely sure why they’re called “test” matches, but I would presume it’s not because it tests a viewer’s ability to consume large amounts of alcohol while watching a five day match, though that is one way to make the series of 3 to 5 matches, each lasting 5 days, go faster.
The other type of cricket is limited overs cricket. It is called this because the number of overs, or the length of the game, is limited, so as to provide for a shorter match. Apparently, there were a lot of people like me who didn’t want to watch a 5 day match, that may or may not come to a conclusion after those five days… Usually limited over style matches are set at 50 overs, but a new form called 20Twenty Cricket was created in 2003 and has had huge success with the rapid, 3 hour long, matches.
· Overs – Every six bowls (or pitches), counts as an over. In limited overs matches, this is a way to limit the duration of the game. After each over, the bowler switches, and the end that is bowled from is also switched.
· Wicket – The set of sticks behind the batsman that the batsman is in charge of protecting from the ball. The bowler, is trying to hit this in order to get the batsman out.
· Bowler – The person on the fielding team whose task it is to throw the ball towards the wickets. This person must pitch the ball within a certain area in order for the throw to be legitimate. Otherwise, the batsman’s team gets an extra point and the throw has to be redone.
· Batsman – There are two batsmen on the field, except for the first batsman, and his job is to score runs by batting the ball and running between the wickets. He also has to be wary to ensure that the wicket behind him is not hit by the bowler’s throw.
· Out – A batsman is out when his wicket is struck by a bowler’s throw, the wickets are struck by a fielder’s throw when the batsman is running between the wickets, or the batsman’s hit is caught prior to hitting the ground.
· Leg Before Wicket – This is another way a batsman can get out. If the ball strikes a batsman’s leg when it would’ve hit the wickets behind him otherwise, he is considered out. Seems like a bad deal for having just been hit in the leg with a fast moving ball.
· No Ball – A penalty on the bowler for improperly bowling for whatever reason, whether he stepped out of the designated area, or improperly bowled that ball. In this case, the batting team gets an extra point, and the ball is bowled over.
· Wide – When the ball is bowled outside the batsman’s reach, it is considered wide and the batsman’s team gets an extra point, and the ball has to be bowled over.
· Pitch – A 20 meter by 3 meter playing area where the pitching and batting takes place. This is generally very short grass, or after being wore away, dirt. Because the ball is generally always bounced when bowled, the consistency of the pitch makes a huge difference in the game. The wickets are on either end of the pitch, 20 meters apart.
Like most popular games, there are two teams competing in Cricket. One team starts out batting, and the other bowling and fielding. At half-time, whichever way it is decided, the teams switch roles. The teams switch when the batting team gets 10 out of their 11 batsmen out, or in limited overs, when they allotted amount of overs is expired.
The batsman, while also attempting to protect his wicket, tries to bat the ball strategically to gain enough time to run between the two wickets, or tries to bat the ball hard enough to get the ball outside the playing area. The bowler, on the other hand, is trying to hit the wicket, or place the ball strategically so that the batsman cannot get a good hit on it. Bowlers may not bowl consecutive overs, so they frequently switch, and when the over is complete, the direction that is bowled from also switches.
Scoring is determined by how many times the batsman runs between the wickets. Only the batsman who is currently up to bat counts towards the score, but the other batsman on the field must also run between the wickets, and may be thrown out if his wickets are struck while he is running. Each time a batsman runs between the wickets counts as 1 point. If the ball reaches the outer ring of the outfield, the batsman is automatically granted 4 points for his hit. Similarly, if the ball reaches outside the field completely, into the stands, the batsman is awarded 6 points.
Points are also awarded for bad throws by the bowler. For example, if the ball is outside the reach of the batsman, his team is awarded an extra point, and the throw has to be redone.
The score is represented by the score number in front followed by the number of wickets, so it looks like 138/2. Overs are represented with the over number, decimal point, ball number, so 10.2 for the 10th over, 2nd throw.
The team with the most points wins, regardless of if all the batsmen are out or not on a particular team. Once the second team up exceeds the points of the first team’s score, the second team wins. Consequently, if they do not exceed the first team’s score by the time all their batsmen are out, or all the overs are complete, they will lose.
In summary, Cricket is an enjoyable sport that shares many aspects with baseball, but at the same time, is its own very unique sport. I’m hoping that this brief explanation is enough to at least tide you over in your attempt to understand the sport because I know my first time watching was quite confusing. Once these few rules are understood, it is actually a very simple game to watch, understand and enjoy. If there are any further misunderstandings about the sport, I’d gladly clear them up as well.