Cricket Anyone?

Being an American, I understand and enjoy the great game of baseball. In my reading about baseball’s early years I came across a passage that stated the game of cricket was once more popular in America than baseball. Could someone please explain to me in the simplist of terms how cricket is played and are there any professional American cricketers?

I have had cricket explained to me simply.

It took about 20 minutes.

And I still don’t know all the subtleties. But if you had no idea about baseball and how it was played, you would be similarly baffled.

Most cricketers in the US are English or other former outposts of the British Empire expatriates (India, Pakistan, Jamaica). I don’t know if any are pros in the US. I doubt it. It’s mostly a club-type recreational sport out here.

sigh Let a devoted fan of the 2nd best cricket team in the world (South Africa) enlighten you.

You have two ‘batters’ or ‘batsmen’ standing at two wickets a few metres apart. Opposing them you have a bowler whose team is in the field (just like in basball). The bowler’s objective is to hit the ‘wickets’ with the ball. He gets 6 chances to do this and then another bowler has a turn.

The wickets are three sticks stuck in the ground behind the batsmen. It is the batsmen’s job to defend the wickets using a bat. If the bowler hits the wickets then the batsmen is out, just like in baseball, and must be replaced by another batsman.

The batsmen’s 2ndary objective is to make ‘runs’. A ‘run’ is simply the act of running from one wicket to the other. The trick is that if the fielding side manages to get the ball to one of the wickets while a batsmen is running then they batsmen is out (just like in baseball).

Unlike in basball the two sides only have one chance to bat. They bat until 10 of their 11 batsmen are out and then the teams swop around. The object of the game is to get more runs than the other team.

Now there are 2 versions of cricket: 1 day and 5 day. In the 5 day version each side gets two chances to bat.

There are a million other minor points but that is the gist.
I think that the reason why cricket remains more popualr than baseball world wide is because there just seems to be more stuff going on. A score of 224/8 beating a score of 265/5 just seems more exciting some how. I am prolly culturally biased. :wink:

Please ask me specific questions and I will answer them as best I know how.

It’s true that in cricket there are batsmen and bowlers, but there is also Stephen Cunis (Canterbury, NZ), who is neither one thing or the other, really.

As most people from India are; I am a rabid cricket fan. MrAndrew, glad to make your acquaintance, I am thrilled to see a cricket fan on these boards.

More on cricket.

The batsman is out in the follwiing ways:

-A fielder catches a ball the batsman hits (like in baseball)
-The ball hits the wickets behind the batsman
-The batsman is “stumped” if he steps out of a specified area called the “crease” while trying to play a ball (pitch), misses it, the wicketkeeper (catcher) gets hold of the ball and swipes the wickets.
-The ball hits the batsman’s leg and, this is important, in the view of the umpire (umpire) would have gone on to hit the stumps were it not for the batsman’s legs obstructing the way, then the umpire gives him out. This is the most contentious way of getting out and there is a permanent cloud of controversy surrounding this.

There are a few more but they are rare and complicated.

Many countries play cricket but there are only a few who are recognized as Test playing nations (like the top league) who constantly play against each other. They are England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies (many countries come together to form this team), Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and India

Cricketing rules are hundreds of years old and are codified and managed by the International Cricket Council. The rules do change but have become so complex over the decades that it is probably a book a few hundred pages long.

I could go on and on… about cricket…

Any American who wants to know about cricket would gain a lot by going here. It’s the game explained for Americans by an American. Lots of baseball analogy, and explained in clear terms.

For anything else you need to know, there’s which has more cricket stuff than you could read in a lifetime.

Two weeks ago I didn’t understand cricket, now I think I have a grasp of the fundamentals.

Go to your video store and rent a movie called Lagaan. It was just up for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. There is a cricket match in the movie that takes about 90 minutes of screen time (out of 3 hours and 45 minuts). I don’t know all the complexities, but I think I could watch a game and understand what is happening.

The movie, overall, is decent so you won’t feel bad about sitting through it.

I had NO idea what I was doing, but I did play when I was visiting the UK this past summer. I enjoyed it.

What I found really interesting is the “culture” of cricket, as compared to American baseball.

For example, the umpiring is quite different. American baseball umps can be enthusiastic and loud, especially when making an out call on a stolen base or something.

I found it hilarious that the British umpires, while remaining so stolid and calm, could elicit such eruptions of mayhem from the spectators. I saw one ump call out a batsment on an LBW. With no expression or ceremony, he simply held up one finger - at which point the stands and players went BERZERK.

The other item I found amazing is that they broadcast cricket on the RADIO! There was so much down time in the broadcast I listened to that the announcers were avidly discussing a pigeon walking up and down the pitch. Seemed as if they had to make conversation when nothing was happening in the game.

As for my playing experience, I found it quite unnatural. After a lifetime of holding a baseball bat a certain way, it was very difficult for me to hold the cricket bat properly. Forget about bowling. Every time I tried it they said I was doing it completely improperly.

And catching that damn hard ball without a mitt sucked! But I’d play again.

I didn’t mean to sound like I was disparaging cricket. I just was interpeting the OP to mean that a “simple” (aka short) explanation of the game was needed.

And while you can tell someone the basics of cricket, you really need to sit through a whole match to appreciate it.

A simple explanation doesn’t do it justice, just like Major League Baseball’s attempt to shrink a baseball game down to 20 minutes probably won’t fly either.

Few team sports lend themselves to short, simple explanations. If you want something easy to figure out, go watch track and field (or athletics if you are so inclined).

But then you might have to explain to someone how the decathlon is scored or why the pole vault takes so long to contest.

Wow! I think I finally understand (somewhat). :slight_smile: I listen to the BBC a lot and they’re constantly bringing up test scores. I periodically searched the web but never really got it.

One question. What are the smaller numbers in the score? The extras?


Ah yes. Cricket. A game of increasing interest to this non-sports-oriented person, after I found out that I have Famous Cricketers among my ancestors <waves at Great-Grandpa>

Last summer just after I moved into the city of Toronto from the 'burbs, I was delighted to discover a cricket game progressing on the pitch behind Humber College, down by the lake in Etobicoke.

I’m going to have to read those introductory pages. Although I warn you: I don’t really understand baseball either, so the one page may just confuse me.

BTW, is it true that cricket and baseball share an ancestry?

The main differences between the two games probably arise from the rule that in cricket, there doesn’t have to be a result. A game can be played for 3, 4 or (in international matches) 5 days, and end in a draw!

Since you don’t have to run when you hit the ball, a team that is in dire trouble can try to play out the remainder of the game and gain a draw.

Picture the scenario of a Test match between Australian and the West Indies in the early 60s, where the Aussies only had 1 wicket left in the fourth (last) innings, and no hope of scoring the runs needed to win. They batted together for nearly 4 hours, two players who were in the team for their bowling (not batting) skills, against the fastest bowlers in the world at the time. Their delaying tactics, and the successful resistance of a loss, was seen as heroic, not as against the spirit of sportsmanship or the spirit of the game.

Shows how American I am. I thought this was about that couch phone thingy.

One thing that is terribly frustrating about 1 day cricket (especially when posed by my SO) is “who’s winning?” She know’s I’ll bite every single damn time.

Just go here and download the Duckworth Lewis calculator and you can answer that question any time.

having played both games at a reasonably competitive level… i find cricket far more challenging. not in terms of understanding… i understand it fine… but its technically far more difficult to become adept at. no offense to baseball fans. its kinda like pool and billiards.

It’s hard to say definitively. They both involve a bat and a ball, but there have been a lot of those games throughout history.

Most theorize that baseball is a derivative of the English sport of rounders.

Unless you buy into the myth that Abner Doubleday thought of the game all on his own one day in Cooperstown.

And if you do believe that story, please get in touch with me for some good NYC bridges.

This is a major cultural misunderstanding;)

If you grew up in England between 1930 and 1960, most of your broadcast cricket would have been by radio.

School kids used radios in the sixties (with earphones in class and without outside) to keep up with scores all day.

Listening to cricket commentary is natural to people educated in this manner.

Because cricket consists of nothing happening worth saying anything about for tens of minutes, followed by seconds of real interest, and because it’s drawn on a five day canvas, specialist cricket commentators developed, as much valued for amusing repartee as for cricket commentary skill per se.

Even now, I will sometimes choose to listen to the radio broadcast rather than watch on TV. Sometimes it is best to have the radio commentary on behind the TV picture.

Some of the best moments of cricket commentary involve pigeons, cake, buses and musings on the meaning of life- anything but cricket. It is like being part of a five day long/life long broadcast club with its own secret knowledge and rules.

Another South African cricket fan checking in…

The smaller number refers to the number of wickets that the team has lost - read number of batsmen “struck out”. Each team has 11 players, but you have to have two batsmen on the field at all times, so once the 10th wicket falls, the batting team is “all out”.

The larger numbers refer to the number of “runs” that the team has made, each run being a trip by both batsmen between the wickets, which are about 20 yards apart. A ball struck to the boundary of the field which bounces is considered to be worth 4 runs and one that clears the boundary without bouncing is worth 6 runs.

Extras are runs awarded to the batting team when the ball is not struck by the batsman. They can be for fouls committed by the bowler (No Ball = bowler overstepped the mark; Wide = bowled out of the reach of the batsman) or for situations where the batman have made a run, but have not struck the ball (Bye = batsman misses ball, but so does catcher and batmen run; Leg Bye = Batsman swings and misses ball and ball strikes part of his body, and batmen run). Since no batter hit the ball to score these runs, they are listed separately in the score sheet as Extras.

[sings] I don’ like Cricket-ah, I loooove it[/sings]


Twenty-two yards (or one chain). It’s an old game folks.