Cricket, the Brilliant Game!

A fresh take on cricket, the brilliant game…

WHAT IS CRICKET?!

Posted by wildkiwi25 on March 5, 2008

Cricket is a game that to many people that don’t know the game too well can seem complicated. Here is some information compiled from the internet (Wikipedia and Cricinfo.com) that describes the details of cricket in excellent detail. If you have any problems with any links let me know and I will happily fix them. I know you are itching to read this article explaining cricket so without further ado here it is:

Cricket is a bat-and-ball sport contested by two teams, usually of eleven players each. A cricket match is played on a grass field, roughly oval in shape, in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called a cricket pitch. A wicket, usually made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch.

The bowler, a player from the fielding team, bowls a hard, fist-sized cricket ball from the vicinity of one wicket towards the other. The ball usually bounces once before reaching the batsman, a player from the opposing team. In defence of the wicket, the batsman plays the ball with a wooden cricket bat. Meanwhile, the other members of the bowler’s team stand in various positions around the field as fielders, players who retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring runs, and if possible to get him or her out. The batsman — if he or she does not get out — may run between the wickets, exchanging ends with a second batsman (the “non-striker”), who has been waiting near the bowler’s wicket. Each completed exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area. The match is won by the team that scores more runs.

Cricket has been an established team sport for hundreds of years and is thought to be the second most popular sport in the world. More than 100 countries are affiliated to the International Cricket Council, cricket’s international governing body. The sport’s modern form originated in England, and is most popular in the present and former members of the Commonwealth. In many countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia, cricket is the most popular sport. It is also a major sport in England, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, which are collectively known in cricketing parlance as the West Indies. Many countries also have well-established amateur club competitions, including the Netherlands, Kenya, Nepal and Argentina.

The sport is followed with passion in many different parts of the world. It has even occasionally given rise to diplomatic outrage, notoriously the Basil D’Oliveira affair (which led to the banning of South Africa from sporting events) and the Bodyline Test series in the early 1930s (which led to a temporary deterioration in relations between Australia and the United Kingdom).

The aim of the batting team is to score as many runs as possible. A run is scored when both batsmen successfully move to their respective opposite ends of the pitch. (The batsmen will usually only attempt to score runs after the striker has hit the ball, but this is not required by the rules—the batsmen can attempt runs at any time after the ball has been bowled.) Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area (this scores six runs if the ball crosses the boundary without having touched the ground, or four runs otherwise), or if the bowler commits some technical infringement like bowling the ball out of reach of the batsman.

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of the bowler’s team is to get each batsman out (this is called a “taking a wicket”, or a “dismissal”). Dismissals are achieved in a variety of ways. The most direct way is for the bowler to bowl the ball so that the batsman misses it and it hits the stumps, dislodging a bail. While the batsmen are attempting a run, the fielders may dismiss either batsman by using the ball to knock the bails off the set of stumps to which the batsman is closest before he has grounded himself or his bat in the crease. Other ways for the fielding side to dismiss a batsman include catching the ball off the bat before it touches the ground, or having the batsman adjudged “leg before wicket” (abbreviated “L.B.W.” or “lbw”) if the ball strikes the batsman’s body and would have gone on to hit the wicket. Once the batsmen are not attempting to score any more runs, the ball is “dead”, and is bowled again (each attempt at bowling the ball is referred to as a “ball” or a “delivery”).

The game is divided into overs of six (legal) balls. At the end of an over another bowler from the fielding side bowls from the opposite end of the pitch. The two umpires also change positions between overs (the umpire previously at square-leg becomes the bowler’s umpire at what is now the bowling end, and vice versa). The fielders also usually change positions between overs.

Once out, a batsman is replaced by the next batsman in the team’s line-up. (The batting side can reorder their line-up at any time, but no batsman may bat twice in one innings.) The innings (singular) of the batting team ends when the tenth batsman is given out, leaving one batsman not out but without a partner. When this happens, the team is said to be “all out”. (In limited overs cricket the innings ends either when the batting team is all out or a predetermined number of overs has been bowled.) At the end of an innings, the two teams exchange roles, and the side that has been fielding bats.

A team’s score is reported in terms of the number of runs scored and the number of batsmen that have been dismissed. For example, if five batsmen are out and the team has scored 224 runs, they are said to have scored 224 for the loss of 5 wickets (commonly shortened to “224 for five” and written 224/5 or, in Australia, “five for 224” and 5/224).

The team that has scored more runs at the end of the completed match wins. Different varieties of the game have different definitions of “completion”; for instance there may be restrictions on the number of overs, the number of innings, and the number of balls in each innings.

RESULTS:

If the team that bats last is all out having scored fewer runs than their opponents, the team is said to have “lost by n runs” (where n is the difference between the number of runs scored by the teams). If the team that bats last scores enough runs to win, it is said to have “won by n wickets”, where n is the number of wickets left to fall. For instance a team that passes its opponents’ score having only lost six wickets would have won “by four wickets”.

In a two-innings-a-side match, one team’s combined first and second innings total may be less than the other side’s first innings total. The team with the greater score is then said to have won by an innings and n runs, and does not need to bat again: n is the difference between the two teams’ aggregate scores.

If the team batting last is all out, and both sides have scored the same number of runs, then the match is a tie; this result is quite rare in matches of two innings a side. In the traditional form of the game, if the time allotted for the match expires before either side can win, then the game is declared a draw.

If the match has only a single innings per side, then a maximum number of deliveries for each innings is often imposed. Such a match is called a “limited overs” or “one-day” match, and the side scoring more runs wins regardless of the number of wickets lost, so that a draw cannot occur. If this kind of match is temporarily interrupted by bad weather, then a complex mathematical formula, known as the Duckworth-Lewis method after its developers, is often used to recalculate a new target score. A one-day match can also be declared a “no-result” if fewer than a previously agreed number of overs have been bowled by either team, in circumstances that make normal resumption of play impossible; for example, wet weather.

LAWS OF CRICKET:

The game is played in accordance with 42 laws, which have been developed by the Marylebone Cricket Club in discussion with the main cricketing nations. Teams may agree before a game to introduce other rules or alter some of the existing rules. In particular, there are a number of modifications to rules dictating fielding positions for professional limited overs matches.

PLAYERS:

A team consists of eleven players. Depending on his or her primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. A balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. Teams nearly always include a specialist wicket-keeper because of the importance of this fielding position. Each team is headed by a captain, who is responsible for making tactical decisions such as determining the batting order, the placement of fielders and the rotation of bowlers.

A player who excels in both batting and bowling is known as an all-rounder. One who excels as a batsman and wicket-keeper is known as a “wicket-keeper/batsman”, sometimes regarded as a type of all-rounder. True all-rounders are rare; most players focus on either batting or bowling skills.

UMPIRES:

Two on-field umpires preside over a match. One umpire stands behind the bowler’s wicket, and adjudicates on most decisions. The other (the “square leg umpire”) stands with a side view of the batsman (usually near the fielding position called square leg), and assists in decisions for which he or she has a better view. In some professional matches the facility exists for them to refer some decisions to a third umpire, who has the assistance of television replays. In international matches a match referee ensures that play is within the laws of cricket and the spirit of the game. The third umpire and referee do not take the field during play.

SCORERS:

Two scorers are appointed; usually, one is provided by each team. The laws of cricket specify that the official scorers are to record all runs scored, wickets taken and (where appropriate) overs bowled. They are to acknowledge signals from the umpires, and to check the accuracy of the score regularly both with each other and, at playing intervals, with the umpires. In practice scorers also keep track of other matters, such as bowlers’ analyses, the rate at which the teams bowl their overs, and team statistics such as averages and records. In international and national cricket competitions, the media often require notification of records and statistics, so unofficial scorers often keep tally for broadcast commentators and newspaper journalists. The official scorers occasionally make mistakes, but unlike umpires’ mistakes these can be corrected after the event.

THE PLAYING FIELD:

Photobucket

The cricket field consists of a large, often circular or oval-shaped, grassy ground. There are no fixed dimensions for the field but its diameter usually varies between 450 feet (137 m) and 500 feet (150 m). The perimeter of the field, known as the boundary, is marked, often with a rope or a painted line.

THE PITCH:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

A wicket consists of three stumps that are hammered into the ground, and topped with two bails.

Most of the action takes place in the centre of this ground, on a rectangular clay strip usually with short grass called the pitch. The pitch measures 10 × 66 feet (3.05 × 20.12 m). The longer dimension of the pitch is also a unit of length known as a chain.

At each end of the pitch three upright wooden stakes, called the stumps, are hammered into the ground. Two wooden crosspieces, known as the bails, sit in grooves atop the stumps, linking each to its neighbour. Each set of three stumps and two bails is collectively known as a wicket. One end of the pitch is designated the “batting end” where the batsman stands and the other is designated the “bowling end” where the bowler runs in to bowl.

The area of the field on the side of the line joining the wickets where the batsman holds his bat (the right-hand side for a right-handed batsman, the left for a left-hander) is known as the “off side”, the other as the “leg side” or “on side”.

Lines drawn or painted on the pitch are known as creases. Creases are used to adjudicate the dismissals of batsmen and to determine whether a delivery is legal.

A TYPICAL CRICKET FIELD:

Pitches vary in consistency, and thus in the amount of bounce, spin, and seam movement available to the bowler. Hard pitches are usually good to bat on because of high but even bounce. Dry pitches tend to deteriorate for batting as cracks often appear, and when this happens spinners can play a major role. Damp pitches, or pitches covered in grass (termed “green” pitches), allow good fast bowlers to extract extra bounce and seam movement. Such pitches tend to offer help to fast bowlers throughout the match, but become better for batting as the game goes on.

For some limited-over matches, there are two additional field markings. A painted oval is made by drawing a semicircle of 30 yards (27.4 m) radius from the centre of each wicket with respect to the breadth of the pitch and joining them with lines parallel, 30 yards (27.4 m) to the length of the pitch. This line, commonly known as the “circle”, divides the field into an infield and outfield. Two circles of radius 15 yards (13.7 m), centred on each wicket and often marked by dots, define the “close-infield”. The infield, outfield, and the close-infield are used to enforce fielding restrictions.

Placements of players:
Photobucket

Fielding positions in cricket for a right-handed batsman. The named positions are only indicative: the fielders may stand anywhere. The bowler and wicket-keeper are always in roughly the same position, and there are only nine other fielders, so there are always many unprotected areas.

The batting team always has two batsmen on the field. One batsman, known as the “striker”, faces and plays the balls bowled by the bowler. His or her partner stands at the bowling end and is known as the “non-striker”.

The fielding team has eleven players on the ground. One of them is the current bowler. The wicket-keeper, who generally acts in that role for the whole innings, stands or crouches behind the wicket at the batting end. The captain of the fielding team spreads his or her remaining nine players — the fielders — around the ground, positioned according to the team’s strategy.

MATCH STRUCTURE:

The toss:

The two opposing captains toss a coin before the match, and the captain who wins chooses either to bat or bowl first. The captain’s decision is usually based on whether the team’s bowlers are likely to gain immediate advantage from the pitch and weather conditions (these can vary significantly), or whether it is more likely that the pitch will deteriorate and make batting more difficult later in the game.

Overs:

Each innings is divided into overs, each consisting of six consecutive legal deliveries bowled by the same bowler. For the definition of illegal deliveries, see Extras. No bowler may bowl two consecutive overs, so at the end of the over the bowler takes up a fielding position and another player bowls.

Overs are bowled from alternate ends of the pitch; at the end of each over the umpires swap, the umpire at the bowler’s end moving to square leg, and the umpire at square leg moving to the new bowler’s end. The fielders also usually change positions.

End of an innings:

An innings is completed if:

1. Ten out of eleven batsmen are out (dismissed); the team are said to be “all out”.

2. The team has only one batsman left who can bat, one or more of the remaining players being unavailable owing to injury, illness or absence; again, the team is said to be “all out”.

3. The team batting last reaches the score required to win the match.

4. The predetermined number of overs has been bowled (in a one-day match only, most commonly 50 overs).

5. A captain declares his team’s innings closed (this does not apply in one-day limited over matches).

Playing time:

Typically, two-innings matches are played over three to five days with at least six hours of cricket played each day. One-innings matches are usually played in one day, and often last six hours or more. There are usually formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea, and brief informal breaks for drinks. There is also a short interval between innings.

The game is usually only played in dry weather; play is also usually stopped if it becomes too dark for the batsmen to be able to see the ball safely. Some one-day games are now played under floodlights but, apart from a few experimental games in Australia, floodlights are not used in longer games. Professional cricket is usually played outdoors. These requirements mean that in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe the game is usually restricted to the summer. In the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh games are played in the winter. These countries’ hurricane and monsoon seasons coincide with their summer.

Batting:

The basics of batting:

The batsman may play a “shot” or “stroke”, attempting to hit the bowled ball with the flat surface of the bat. If the ball brushes the side of the bat it is called an “edge”. There is no requirement for the batsman to play a shot, and there is no requirement to run if the ball is struck. The batsman automatically scores runs if he hits the ball to the boundary. Shots are named according to the style of swing and the direction aimed. As part of the team’s strategy, the player may bat defensively, blocking the ball downwards, or aggressively, hitting the ball hard to empty spaces in order to score runs.

Batsmen come in to bat in a batting order, decided by the team captain. The first two batsmen – the “openers” – usually face the most hostile bowling, from fresh fast bowlers with a new ball. The top batting positions are usually given to the most competent batsmen in the team, and the non-batsmen typically bat last. The batting order is not agreed beforehand, and if a wicket falls any player who has not batted yet may bat next.

Run scoring:

The directions in which a right-handed batsman intends to send the ball when playing various cricketing shots. The diagram for a left-handed batsman is a mirror image of this one.

How runs are scored and teams win a match:

To score a run, a striker must run to the opposite end of the pitch, while his non-striking partner runs to his end. To register a run, both runners must touch the ground behind the crease with either their bats or their bodies (the batsmen carry their bats as they run). If the striker hits the ball well enough, the batsmen may double back to score two or more runs. However, no rule requires the batsman to run upon striking the ball. The decision to attempt a run is ideally made by the batsman who has the better view of the ball’s position, and this is communicated by calling: “yes”, “no” and “wait” are often heard. The batsmen swap ends every time an odd number of runs are scored.

If a fielder knocks the bails off the stumps with the ball while no part of the batsman is grounded behind the popping crease, the batsman nearer the broken wicket is run out. The batsman may ground the bat, provided he or she is holding it.

If the ball reaches the boundary, then runs are automatically scored: six if the ball goes over the boundary without touching the ground, four if it touched the ground. These are scored instead of any runs the batsmen may have already run (unless they have run more, which is unlikely), and they return to the ends at which they started.

Extras:

Every run scored by the batsmen contributes to the team’s total. A team’s total also includes a number of runs which are unaccredited to any batsmen. These runs are known as extras; in Australia they are also called “sundries”.

Bowling and dismissals:

Bowling:

Photobucket

A bowler delivers the ball toward the batsmen: during the bowling action the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out. If the elbow straightens illegally then the square-leg umpire may call no-ball. The current laws allow a bowler to straighten his arm 15 degrees or less.

The bowler’s primary goal is usually to get the batsman out; the most common modes of dismissal (except run out) are credited to the bowler, who is said to have taken a wicket. Dismissing an accomplished batsman is more difficult than dismissing a non-batsman. The bowler’s secondary task is usually to limit the numbers of runs scored. Occasionally the match situation makes it more important to limit runs than take wickets.

There are many types of bowler, and many nuances of bowling techniques. Two categories are pace bowlers, who aim to bowl quicker than the batsman’s reaction speed, and spin bowlers who bowl slower deliveries that bounce and curve in unpredictable ways.

Dismissal of a batsman:

There are ten ways in which a batsman may be dismissed. Once a batsman is dismissed, he leaves the field to be replaced by another batsman. When the tenth batsmen is out, and only one batsman remains undismissed, the side is “all out” and the innings is over.

Many modes of dismissal require the wicket to be “put down”. The wicket is put down if a bail is dislodged from the top of the stumps; or if a stump is struck out of the ground either by the ball or by a fielder using the hand in which the ball is being held. Of the following ten modes of dismissal, the first six are common; while the last four are technicalities that rarely occur. The ten modes are:

1. Caught — When a fielder catches the ball before it bounces and after the batsman has struck it with the bat or it has come into contact with the batsman’s glove while it is in contact with the bat handle. The bowler and catcher are both credited with the dismissal. (Law 32)

2. Bowled — When a delivered ball hits the stumps at the batsman’s end, and dislodges one or both of the bails. This happens regardless of whether the batsman has edged the ball onto the stumps or not. The bowler is credited with the dismissal. (Law 30)

3. Leg before wicket (lbw) — When a delivered ball strikes the batsman’s leg, pad or body, and the umpire judges that the ball would otherwise have struck the stumps. The laws of cricket stipulate certain exceptions. For instance, a delivery pitching outside the line of leg stump should not result in an lbw dismissal, while a delivery hitting the batsman outside the line of the off stump should result in an lbw dismissal only if the batsman makes no attempt to play the ball with the bat. The bowler is credited with the dismissal.

4. Run out — When a fielder, bowler or wicket-keeper removes one or both of the bails with the ball by hitting the stumps whilst a batsman is still running between the two ends. The ball can either hit the stumps directly or the fielder’s hand with the ball inside it can be used to dislodge the bails. Such a dismissal is not officially credited to any player, although the identities of the fielder or fielders involved are often noted in brackets on the scorecard.

5. Stumped — When the batsman leaves his crease in playing a delivery, voluntarily or involuntarily, but the ball goes to the wicket-keeper who uses it to remove one or both of the bails through hitting the bail(s) or the wicket before the batsman has remade his ground. The bowler and wicket-keeper are both credited. This generally requires the keeper to be standing within arm’s length of the wicket, which is done mainly to spin bowling. (Law 39)

6. Hit wicket — When the batsman knocks the stumps with either the body or the bat, causing one or both of the bails to be dislodged, either in playing a shot or in taking off for the first run. The bowler is credited with the dismissal. (Law 35)

7. Handled the ball — When the batsman deliberately handles the ball without the permission of the fielding team. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 33)

8. Hit the ball twice — When the batsman deliberately strikes the ball a second time, except for the sole purpose of guarding his wicket. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 34)

9. Obstructing the field — When a batsman deliberately hinders a fielder attempting to field the ball. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 37)

10. Timed out — When a new batsman takes more than three minutes to take his position in the field to replace a dismissed batsman. (If the delay is protracted, the umpires may decide that the batting side has forfeited the match). This rule prevents the batting team using up time to unfair advantage. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 31)

A batsman may leave the field without being dismissed. If injured or taken ill the batsman may temporarily retire, and be replaced by the next batsman. This is recorded as retired hurt or retired ill. The retiring batsman is not out, and may resume the innings later. An unimpaired batsman may retire, and this is treated as being dismissed retired out; no player is credited with the dismissal.

Batsmen cannot be out bowled, caught, leg before wicket, stumped or hit wicket off a no ball. They cannot be out bowled, caught, leg before wicket, or hit the ball twice off a wide.

Some of these modes of dismissal can occur without the bowler bowling a delivery. The batsman who is not on strike may be run out by the bowler if he leaves his crease before the bowler bowls, and a batsman can be out obstructing the field or retired out at any time. Timed out is, by its nature, a dismissal without a delivery. With all other modes of dismissal, only one batsman can be dismissed per ball bowled.

Fielding:

Basics of fielding.

Basics of catching:

Fielders assist the bowlers either by taking catches to dismiss a batsman, or by saving runs by intercepting the ball and returning it, possibly running out the batsman. The wicket-keeper is the only fielder permitted to wear gloves. A fielder may stop the ball with any part of his body.

The wicket-keeper is a specialist fielder who stands behind the batsman’s wicket. One player from each side usually acts as the team’s wicket-keeper throughout the match. His primary job is to gather deliveries that the batsman does not hit, so that the batsmen cannot run byes. He wears special gloves (he is the only fielder allowed to do so), and pads to cover his lower legs. Owing to his position directly behind the striker, the wicket-keeper has a good chance of getting a batsman out caught off a fine edge from the bat; thicker edges are typically handled by the slip fieldsmen. The wicket-keeper is also the only person who can get a batsman out stumped.

Other roles:

Captain:

The captain’s acumen in deciding the strategy is sometimes crucial to the team’s success. The captain makes a number of important decisions, including setting fielding positions, alternating the bowlers and taking the “toss”. Before the start of play the captains of the opposing teams meet and toss a coin; the winner of the toss decides which team will bat first. This decision, made in consideration of pitch conditions, the weather and the relative bowling and batting abilities of the two sides, can have an enormous impact on the course of play. In One Day Internationals the captain also decides when to make use of some powerplays.

Runners:

In the event of a batsman being fit to bat but too injured to run, the umpires and the fielding captain may allow another member of the batting side to be a runner. If possible, the runner must already have batted. The runner’s only task is to run between the wickets instead of the injured batsman. The runner is required to wear and carry exactly the same equipment as the incapacitated batsman.

Substitutes:

In all forms of cricket, if a player gets injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him, but the substitute cannot bowl, bat, act as a captain or wicket-keeper. The substitute leaves the field if the injured player is fit to return.

For a period from July 2005, the ICC experimented with Super Subs in One Day International (ODI) cricket and some other limited-overs competitions. A single full substitution was allowed, and the substituted player was not allowed to return to the game. It was discontinued from March 2006.

A basic form of cricket can be traced back to the 13th century, but it may have existed even earlier than that. The game seems to have originated among children of the farming and metalworking communities in the Weald between Kent and Sussex. Written evidence exists of a game known as creag being played by Prince Edward, the son of Edward I (Longshanks), at Newenden, Kent in 1300.

In 1598, a court case referred to a sport called kreckett being played at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford around 1550. The Oxford English Dictionary gives this as the first recorded instance of cricket in the English language.

A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term “cricket”. The name may derive from a term for the cricket bat: old French criquet (meaning a kind of club) or Flemish krick(e) (meaning a stick) or in Old English crycc (meaning a crutch or staff). (The latter is problematic, since Old English ‘cc’ was palatal in pronunciation in the south and the west midlands, roughly ch, which is how crycc leads to crych and thence crutch; the ‘k’ sound would be possible in northern dialects, however.) Alternatively, the French criquet apparently derives from the Flemish word krickstoel, which is a long low stool on which one kneels in church and which resembles the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket.

During the 17th century, numerous references indicate the growth of cricket in the south-east of England. By the end of the century, it had become an organised activity being played for high stakes and it is likely that the first professionals appeared in that period. We know that “a great cricket match” with eleven players a side was played for high stakes in Sussex in 1697 and this is the earliest reference we have to cricket of such importance.

The game underwent major development in the 18th century and had become the national sport of England by the end of the century. Betting played a major part in that development, and rich patrons began forming their own “select XIs”. Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The Hambledon Club was founded in the 1760s but its team was already playing first-class matches in 1756. For the next 20 years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord’s in 1787, Hambledon was the game’s greatest club and its focal point. MCC quickly became the sport’s premier club and the custodian of the Laws of Cricket.

The 19th century saw underarm replaced by first roundarm and then overarm bowling. Both developments were controversial. The concept of a “champion county” arose in the 1820s and then, starting with Sussex CCC in 1839, county clubs were founded and these ultimately formed a County Championship.

The first Australian cricket team to tour England was made of indigenous Australian players (1867), a significant event in the history of indigenous Australians as well as in that of cricket

In 1859, a team of England players went on the first overseas tour (to North America) and 18 years later another England team took part in the first-ever Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia.

The legendary W G Grace started his long career in 1865. It can fairly be said that he revolutionised the sport and did much to ensure its massive popularity.

The last two decades before the First World War have been called the “Golden Age of Cricket”. It is a nostalgic name prompted by the collective sense of loss resulting from the war, but the period did produce some great players and memorable matches, especially as organised competition at county and Test level developed.

The inter-war years were dominated by one player: Don Bradman, statistically the greatest batsman of all time. It was the determination of the England team to overcome his skill that brought about the infamous Bodyline series in 1932/33.

Cricket entered an epochal era in 1963, when English counties introduced a variant form of cricket match that would be sure to produce a result: games with a restricted number of overs per side. This gained widespread popularity and resulted in the birth of One Day International (ODI) matches in 1971. The governing International Cricket Council quickly adopted the new form and held the first ODI Cricket World Cup in 1975. Since then, ODI matches have gained a large following.

As of the early 2000s, however, the longer form of cricket is experiencing a growing resurgence in popularity but a new limited overs phenomenon, Twenty20, has made an immediate impact.

Forms of cricket:

There are many different types and grades of cricket; those played professionally at an international level are Test cricket, One Day International cricket and Twenty20 cricket.

Test cricket:

Test cricket is a form of international cricket started during the 1876/77 English cricket team’s tour of Australia. The very first Test match began on 15 March 1877; Australia won by 45 runs. The Test cricket series between England and Australia is now called The Ashes. Since then, over 1,800 Test matches have been played and the number of Test playing nations has increased to ten with Bangladesh, the most recent nation elevated to Test status, making its debut in 2000. Test matches are two innings per side, and are nowadays restricted to a maximum of five days. In the past, Tests have been played over three, four, or six days, and some have been “Timeless” – played to a finish with no maximum duration. Tests that are not finished within the allotted time are drawn.

One-day cricket:

Limited overs matches, also known as “one-day cricket”, were introduced in the English domestic season of 1963 in response to demands for a shorter and more dramatic form of cricket. One-day, single-innings, matches often took place before this, but the innovation was the limiting of each side’s innings to an agreed number of overs (nowadays usually 40 or 50). The idea was taken up in the international arena in 1971, during England’s tour of Australia, when a match was played on the scheduled fifth day of the rained-off third Test. The one-day game has since become a crowd-pleaser and TV-audience-generator across the globe, hastened in part by the success of the inaugural World Cup in 1975. The abbreviations “ODI” (One Day International) or sometimes “LOI” (Limited Overs International) are used for international matches of this type. Innovations have included the introduction of coloured clothing, distinct tournaments, and “day-night” matches (where play extends into the night under floodlights); together with frequent nail-biting finishes and the impossibility of either side opting to play for a draw, these have seen ODI cricket gain many supporters.

Twenty20 Cricket:

Twenty20 Cricket was first played in English domestic cricket in 2003 to popularise first-class cricket and attract more spectators. It has since spread to many other countries. A Twenty20 match consists of 20 overs for each side, a “free hit” after an illegal no-ball is bowled, short boundaries, batting-friendly pitches, and other rules designed to attract spectators who would not attend the slower-paced one-day games or test matches. The first men’s Twenty20 international was between Australia and New Zealand in 2005, the first women’s Twenty20 international having been between England and New Zealand in 2004. From 2007 to 2015 the Twenty20 World Championship will be held every two years; the first was staged in South Africa in 2007, and was won by India. It has an abbreviation as T20.

First-class matches:

A “first-class” match is generally defined as a high-level international or domestic match that takes place over at least three days on natural (as opposed to artificial) turf. First-class games are two innings per side. Like Test matches, if the game is not completed over the allotted time then it is drawn. Games where the teams have only one innings each are not first-class (including one-day internationals).

Among cricket statisticians, first class cricket is variously deemed to have started in 1660, 1772, 1801, 1815 or 1864; the reasons for this are described in the main article.

Cricket statisticians have also introduced the concept of list A status, which is not first-class, but includes important limited-over matches.

Other forms of cricket:

At all levels, the rules of cricket are often modified. At international or first-class levels this is usually in order to make the game more commercially attractive. More or less formal domestic club cricket matches are usually played over one to two days, either two innings per side or one innings per side with limited overs. At lower levels the rules are often changed simply to make the game playable with limited resources, or to render it more convenient and enjoyable for the participants. Variants of the sport are played in areas as diverse as sandy beaches and ice floes. Families and teenagers play backyard cricket in suburban yards or driveways, and the teeming cities of India and Pakistan play host to countless games of “Gully Cricket” or “tapeball” on their streets. Tennis balls and homemade bats are often used, and a variety of objects may serve as wickets such as the batters legs, as in “French cricket”, which did not in fact originate in France, and is usually played by small children. Sometimes the rules are also improvised: for instance it is sometimes agreed that fielders can catch the ball with one hand after one bounce and claim a wicket, or if only a few people are available then everyone may field while the players take it in turns to bat and bowl.

In Kwik cricket, the bowler does not have to wait for the batsman to be ready before a delivery, leading to a faster, more exhausting game designed to appeal to children, which is often used in English schools’ PE lessons. Another modification to increase the pace of the game is the “Tip and Run”, “Tipity” Run, “Tipsy Run” or “Tippy-Go” rule, in which the batter must run when the ball touches the bat, even if it the contact is unintentional or minor. This rule, seen only in impromptu games, speeds the match up by disabling the batsman’s ability to block the ball. Indoor cricket is played in a netted, indoor arena.

In Samoa a form of cricket called Kilikiti is played in which hockey stick-shaped bats are used.

In Estonia, teams gather over the winter for the annual Ice Cricket tournament. The game juxtaposes the normal summer pursuit with harsh, wintry conditions. Rules are otherwise similar to those for the six-a-side game.

International structure:

Cricket is one of the most widely played sports in the world. More than 120 cricket-playing nations are recognised by the International Cricket Council. In the countries of South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, cricket is the most popular sport. Similarly, it is the most popular sport in Australia, United Arab Emirates, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, which are collectively known in cricketing parlance as the West Indies. Cricket is also the national sport of England and The Bahamas, and a major sport in the countries of Europe (including Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy), Africa (containing South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia), Asia (including Hong Kong,Fiji and Papua New Guinea), and in New Zealand, etc.

Cricket is internationally governed by International Cricket Council (ICC), which is headquartered in Dubai and includes representatives from the ten Test-playing nations and an elected panel representing non-Test-playing nations. On December 11, 2007, the International Olympic Committee conferred the status of a recognized sport, on the basis of its youth promotion and anti-doping policies.

Each nation has a national cricket board which regulates cricket matches played in its country. The cricket board also selects the national squad and organises home and away tours for the national team.

Nations playing cricket are separated into three tiers depending on the level of cricket infrastructure in that country. At the highest level are the Test-playing nations; they qualify automatically for the quadrennial World Cup matches. Below these are the Associate Member nations. The lowest level consists of the Affiliate
Member nations.

Here are some useful links to information about the game of cricket:

  • Law 1 (The players)
  • CRICKET BOWLS OVER HS KIDS
  • Cricket rules and equipment
  • IOC recognizes cricket

    *Full acknowledgements go to Wikipedia.com, Cricinfo.com, and associated links.

  • Advertisements

    One Response to “WHAT IS CRICKET?!”

    1. Trevine Rodrigo said

      Pretty thoughtfully put together and very useful for those who have no idea about the game. Can be of immense benefit for new enthusisats.

    Leave a Reply

    Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

     
    %d bloggers like this: