That Mystery – Cricket?

That Mystery – Cricket?I love cricket!

For those of you not born into the religion of cricket, which I imagine may be most of you, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to my passion. Cricket.

Now for a start, you need to understand that a single game of international test cricket takes five full days of 6 hours each to complete. That’s right, thirty hours! Then at the end, there can be a winner and loser, but very often just a shake of hands and the game is declared a draw. And a series is normally five matches. Yes, good work. 25 days! Are you still awake?

It takes this long because it is necessary to take all ten wickets of the opposing team, twice, before you can win. Oh, and of course you need more runs than your opposition, but this is really a bit secondary to taking the twenty wickets. In between all this, there are breaks for lunch of course, and a wonderful little break in the afternoon called tea. What other game stops for tea? English breakfast is a favourite.

The bowling team of eleven plays against the batting team. There are two batsmen at a time, so that is eleven against two. Not counting the umpires. There is always a debate about which team they are on. Then when ten wickets have been taken they swap around. So far pretty easy.

The bowler either tries to get the batsman out, or stop him from scoring. If he does stop the batsman from scoring, he bowls a maiden over. (I know. It’s a beautiful expression.) Then the batsman can use a number of shots to score. Pulls, hooks, slices, dabs, drives, slogs and cuts. Nice words too.

A batsman can be out so many different ways it is staggering how they survive. Caught, bowled, leg before wicket, stumped, run out, hit wicket, obstruction or handled ball. Oh forgot timed out. The bowler has different balls too. Cutters, seamers, swingers, bouncers and yorkers. I have a feeling this might be like learning Latin to some readers.

The game is played on a huge oval of green grass about 200 meters (yards for US) in diameter. Some bigger in fact. And the batsmen and bowlers use a 22-yard pitch made of clay and grass, ( yes it’s hard) to play on. The red leather ball weighs in at 5 1/2 ounces and is as hard as a rock. Balls are bowled at close to 100 mph. If you do a little calculating here, 20 odd yards with a ball coming at your head at 100 mph, it doesn’t give you much time to get your head out of the road of the ball. I know. Been there done that. Explains a lot about my mental agility nowadays.

There are a number of other formats of the game ranging down from 5 days to 4 days to 3 days to 1 day and to 3 and half hours. Don’t know why there isn’t a 2-day game.

So there you have it. In a nutshell then.

11 go out to get 10 out. Then the other 11 go out to get the other 10 out. Then they do it all over again. And if one of the 11 manages to get the other 10 twice, they win. But if they don’t, it’s a draw. Simple really.

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