I love cricket! Absolutely adore it! Why ? Because it is one of the biggest pleasures in life with your trousers on. It is a different game – much more relaxed as the players have time for tea and lunch but also a very intelligent and interesting one which is why it is often criticised for being a sport for lazy people and hypocrites. Absolute rubbish, isn’t it? Anyway, although I wouldn’t like to bore you with the weird rules of this magnificent game (if you already know it).
However, just in case you haven’t a clue about the game: there are eleven players on each team and three main aspects of the game are dominating batting, busy bowling and laborious fielding – it is a big ask I tell you. Both sides have to bat and the team which gets the most runs wins the game. I know the sentence probably doesn’t make sense to you so I would explain in a bit more detail but not in my words but in the words of my cricket coach.
“Cricket is a game in which you have two sides, one out on the field, and the other in. Each man in the side that’s in goes out and when he is out, he comes in, and the next man goes out until he is out and then he comes in. When the side that’s in is all out, the side that has been out goes in, and the side that was in goes out and tries to get out the side that goes in. Sometimes you get men still in and not out when thw side that is in is finally out. When both sides have been in and out, including those not out yet no longer in, that is the end of the game.”
Bravo! Doesn’t that help in the understanding of the game ? Of course it doesn’t. You readers probably think I am some sort of a fool. I’ll make it a lot simpler this time, I promise.
A cricket team consists of eleven players, or cricketers or simply lazy men as the game’s critics call them. At the start of a game, the decision over which of the two teams will get the right to choose to bat or to bowl and field is made at the flick of a coin. Whichever team bats is said to be “in” and the whole idea is to score runs in the process of defending the wicket while the other team attempts to get each of the team members “out” to get their turn to bat and go “in”.
There are many ways bowlers of the bowling team can get the batters of the opposition team out. The batsman guards his wickets as the bowler attempts to hit them to get him out. When the batsman fails to guard his wicket and the ball knocks off the bail and if possible the set of stumps, the Batsman is rendered “bowled out” and obviously he is a dead duck. For a fast bowler, there can’t be a better site than that – the three pale willow sticks or stumps cadaverously shattered on the cinnamon brown cricket strip or pitch.
Nevertheless, there are several other ways that a batsman can be dismissed from the game. The most common way batsmen get out is by getting caught by the fielders of the opposition as he is in the process of hitting the ball in the gaps between them so he can run while they chase the ball like pet dogs. Many batsmen who are chubby and have problems in running often find themselves in a situation when they get run out. This method of dismissal is when the batsman fails to reach the other end of the pitch while running to score runs and the bails are knocked off by a member of the opposing team before he reaches. If a batsman tries to use his pads to deflect a bowl aimed to crash on to his waiting stumps, he can be given out LBW – leg before wicket.
The decision to declare him out or not out can only be made by the Umpire who stands directly in front of the batsman and judges whether the bowl was going to hit the stumps when it made contact with the batman’s leg, sorry, not the leg, his pads. A hit on the leg or thereabout would probably break the poor batman’s let as cricket ball is a very hard object.
Unsurprisingly, a cricket umpire has to be as sober as a judge as there are many times when the bowler invariably appeals to him for a LBW decision or a “caught behind” by shouting at his face “HOWWSSSSSAATT” which means something like “How does that look to you Umpire – is he out”. These appeals are normally ignored by the umpires as they more often than not false and fake but are elements which make the game of cricket exciting to watch causing tension in the dressing room of the batting side, generating thrill and hope amongst the bowing side as well as providing sheer entertainment for the crowd and in international matches – for the millions glued to their television screens.
Nonetheless, if the umpire does think that the appeal is genuine and that the bowl would surely have bombarded the stumps had the batsman’s leg not been in the way, he would stick his finger up at the batsman to indicate, “sorry mate, that was going to hit your wickets”. In other words, he was out. Obviously, he wouldn’t stick up his middle finger up at the batsman to count as an offence and having his umpiring fee cancelled but his index finger which is how it has always been through the cricket tradition.
Finally, a very loser like way to get out is “hit wicket” when the batsman accidentally hits his own wickets while playing a shot and I can tell you having done it once myself, it is a horrible feeling. Yet, nothing can be more embarrassing as getting out without scoring any runs for your team – a duck or worse a golden duck when you miserably get out the first ball you face. The 50 yard shameful back to the pavilion feels like a 50 mile marathon being the worst site for a batsman.
Just like there are several ways by which you can be given out, you can score runs as well and lots of them if you are good enough. The cricket field is shape of the oval and the fielders of the bowling team are spread throughout the field where the bowler bowling wants them to. Conversely, a significant factor which has to be taken into account is that there are only nine fielders as there has to be bowler to bowl at the batsmen and a wicket keeper which works a bit like a backstop in rounders.
Because there are only nine fielders and not nine million on a cricket field, there are lots of gaps in the field. Intelligent batsmen unlike myself place the bowl in these gaps, let the fielders chase for the bowl to return to the bowler while they gingerly run up and down the pitch to score runs. However, an easier and more beneficial way to score runs is by hitting the bowl past the boundary line. If a batsmen hits the bowl past the boundary line on the bounce, he scores four runs for his team whereas hitting the bowl over the boundary in flight is signalled by the umpire as the optimum – six runs. However, hitting aerial shots are always risky as there is always a chance of being caught by a fielder if the shot is mistimed. This is what makes six hitting so hard for number 11s like me (the worst and hence the last batsmen to bat for the team).
On the other hand, an opening batsmen who start off the batting for the team would probably be gifted with amazing reflexes and great hand-eye coordination which allows them to do considerable damage to the opposition’s bowling figure. Accomplished batsmen who score hundred runs or over in a match are said to have scored a “century” and I believe that one day I will make one as well which my coach thinks is far too ambitious for me. The reason is that I simply can’t bat.
Fielders are placed at strategic positions (in order to both stop runs and to catch a batsman out if possible) and these positions have distinct names. For example, the long off position is near the boundary, far away from the batsman to his front and right, while silly mid-on represents a position of extreme danger, as the name might suggest, being as it is immediately to a batsman’s left. A square leg says more about where one umpire stands rather than how he is standing, while backward point or deep fine leg says nothing about any mental or physical ability at all. This was just a bad joke so if you didn’t get it then just ignore me.
I had said earlier on if you can probably remember that the team which scores the most runs wins the match. However, there are two distinct ways to say how exactly a team won a game of cricket. A team can either win by x wickets or lose by y number of runs. For instance, if there was a match going on between the flamboyant and the invincible Aussies who surprisingly had lost six of their world class batsmen but still exceeded the score the Indians made by two runs which they usually do, they would be declared winners by two runs and four wickets as they still had four of their batsmen who hadn’t got their turn to bat. This isn’t all that much confusing, is it?
So far I have only talked about the rules of the great game but not of its structure or the duration. The duration of a game of cricket depends on the type of match which will be played. There are two distinct forms of cricket – limited overs cricket and unlimited overs cricket. In limited overs cricket, there are a set number of overs – an over a series of six bowls bowled by a bowler at a time.
For example, in a typical one day game, there would be 50 overs which the bowling side would have to bowl but this varies to about 20 overs. This type of cricket is played by most amateur cricket clubs as it is neither time consuming nor too expensive. Professional playing county cricket also play this. However, unlimited overs cricket requires cricketers of higher ability and technique – tough guys who can concentrate on a cricket field for up to five days without being distracted by the wandering birds, the critical spectators or the voluptuous ladies in the crowd if they are lucky.
Contrastingly, I would like to inform you of my own cricket – my own game. I play cricket every lunch time in school and at weekends for Stourbridge Cricket Club in the summer. Being a spin bowler I can get frustrated quite easily as it easier for a batsman to drive, pull or loft me because I bowl at a much slower pace – actually two times slower than a fast bustling fast bowler, giving the batsman ample time to make decisions and encounter the ball. Their weapons are fingers, flight and deception when imparting spin on the ball instead of sheer pace, bounce and swing which the faster bowlers use being the tall giants of cricket and sometimes bullies too – look at the Aussie Glenn McGrath’s intimidating attitude for example – no offence to any proud Australian reading this.
Like most world famous sports, cricket has never been short of legendary characters – not just players, but also their mentors umpires. In my opinion, the wizard of cricket was undoubtedly Sir Garfield Sobers of the West Indies. What a player he was. An opening bowler who swung the bowl both ways making it almost impossible for even the best batsmen to guess which way the bowl would shoot off after pitching.
Besides, being one of the most elegant and explosive batsmen the game has ever seen who could also be a useful wicket keeper and spin bowler – like myself but a million times better. Cricket has seen many other great players who have contributed to the game to a very large extent. Unfortunately, the list is enormous. Personally, I believe the best batsman ever was the late Sir Don Bradman who scored at an average of 99.96 runs every match he played. It was a shame that he got out on a golden duck in the last ever match he played which restricted his average to not be 100.
People say “Cricket is a Batsman’s game” meaning it is a batsman dominated game but I disagree. It is true that in the modern era, world class players like Gilchrist, Jayasurya and Tendulkar have caused terror around bowlers worldwide. Still, guys or deceivers shall I say, like Shane Warne of Australia and Courtney Walsch of the West Indies have also puzzled and bamboozled hundreds of batsmen and earned popularity amongst millions of viewers across the globe.
Courtney Walsch is famously known as the “man with the most ducks” as he has taken the most number of Test wickets and, unfortunately for him, he is also the only person to score 43 ducks as well. By the way, as you know by now that duck is a shameful score of 0 but don’t think many number 11s like me care these days. We are not meant to score the runs. The team has got people called “batsmen” to do the job. Don’t you agree? Yes? No?
Similarly, Shane Warne is regarded by most as the best leg spinner the world has ever seen and how can I disagree. By the way, a leg spinner is a spin bowler who spins the bowl away from the batsman and not someone who spins on one leg to entertain the crowd as some people may guess literally.
Cricket has had many lovely and fair umpires but none have been more popular than the English Dickie Bird. As well as being a terrific umpire, he was a lovely human being who would win the crowd wherever he went to do his duty. Even he agrees with me as he has mentioned in his autobiography when he talks about the famous phenomenon of 1994 when the then latest sensation Warne bowled the England Batsman Mike Gatting by the bowl of the century.
“and it was there in Old Trafford that Shane Warne bowled that magic bowl that pitched 15 inches outside his leg stump and went on to hit the top of the off stump. It was a magnificent delivery – a never before seen marvel”.
Although I am really inspired by Shane Warne especially after reading his autobiography, my favourite cricketer of all times will still be the current best batsman in the world – master blaster Sachin Tendulkar of India. He has been described by the greatest batsman of all times Sir Don himself as his modern clone. In an interview in 1996 Sir Don admitted that whenever he watches Tendulkar play, he reminds him of the way he, himself, used to play in his playing days which I believe to be an invaluable praise for any batsman.
He is a scintillating batsman of sheer technique as well as sheer performance as he has scored the most runs in International Cricket as well as creating a record for the biggest number of centuries. Even Warne who is measured by many as the craftiest bowler in the game once admitted in his autobiography about the master blaster, “I don’t think I have seen a better player than Sachin Tendulkar”. This is what makes me wonder that even though the all time greats such as Lara, the Waugh brothers and the Viv Richards may return but you would never see a better player than Sachin Tendulkar.
I have been to see my life time hero Sachin bat live enough times at various grounds. However, there was one match which I will never forget. That match was at Edgbaston when India were playing Australia in the Natwest final. The pitch was velvet smooth and it wasn’t long before the windows of the pavilion were frosty spider webs as the English batsmen demolished the Indian bowlers. They had given us an almost impossible target to chase – 325. Millions across the globe had turned off their television even before the Indian batsmen came out to bat. I obviously didn’t as I believed as long as there is Sachin, there is hope and how correct was I.
He was determined to play a gem of an innings to see India home for a glorious win and which he did. Right from the first bowl he was ready to attack the English bowlers and smashed them to all parts of the ground. There was a shower of sixes and a stream of fours and anyone who was there that day would not forget the majestic pocket Hercules glowing in Tendulkar. I can never forget his grandiose stance when he prepared to pay England in her own coins by ripping apart their bowling.
The enormous international recognition that this strange game has achieved throughout its history wouldn’t have been possible, had the crowds and venues of cricket matches not been magical. Besides, just like there are rivals teams like Rangers and Celtic or Villa and West Brom in football, the cricket rivalry of India and Pakistan is said to be the fiercest of the fierce. Where Lords’ in England is the Mecca of cricket – the finest ground in the world, Eden Gardens of Calcutta is said to be the biggest and the most lively cricket stadium in the world. Its exhilarating atmosphere magnifies when old enemies India and Pakistan play.
The political conflict between the two countries rubs on their cricket as well and the stadium roars through out the match or matches. A few years ago, I had a chat with the former Pakistan Captain Wasim Akram about the tense feeling you get as a player when you set foot at the lush and leaf green ground of the Eden Gardens. He smiled and said, “the pressure to perform is so high and the crowd are so lively that you don’t hear anything. You just try to do what you really want to do which is to tear the opposition apart”.
If you look up the definition of cricket in a decent encyclopaedia, it would come up with two main definitions. Either something like chirping insect like a grass hopper or the cricket game definition as to be something like the following: –
“A bat and ball, team game played during the summer in the British Isles and in several other countries influenced by the British all over the world such as Australia and New Zealand, the whole of the Indian continent, African countries of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya as well as the Windies in the Caribbean.
You probably would have guessed that the glamorous British had invented the game but the fact that really magnifies the popularity of the sport is that even though being the first group of people to play the game, England frequently get slaughtered by most of the other countries outside the British isles which I am sure must lend them some satisfaction. Apparently, this is the reason why this slow game has gained so much popularity in the world why it was estimated that over a billion people were watching the Cricket World Cup between India and Australia in the March month of 2003.
Being a true Indian supporter, this was the worst game of cricket I have ever watched and probably the best one for a die hard Aussie fan as the glorious Australians took the game away from us right from the first go when our captain Sourav Ganguly decided to bowl first despite our batsmen regarded as the best in the world. In a long and short tale, we got whopped – our bowlers got thumped and walloped so much that the Aussies had scored a mammoth 359 in their allotted 50 overs – an almost impossible task which it did prove when our batsmen came out to bat.
Richie Benaud of Australia and Tony Greig of England are two very different commentators but are thought of as the best ever in the business as they have made the slow game of cricket seem very interesting to millions across the world still keeping their interest in this game. Benaud’s famous phrase “Thanks the name of the co-commentator. Good Morning Everyone.” with his laid back manner of commentary and high praise for deserving players is imitated by many other commentators. Whereas, Greig’s animated tone in his comments on the television have contributed over the years in attracting the younger generation to the game as they are used to the “cat and mouse” commentaries of football, basketball and rugby.
Indeed. It has been said that the amount you know about cricket is inversely proportional to a greater understanding of how to play. The popular American entertainer Andy Williams, on seeing his first cricket match, was completely intrigued by the bowlers, who spend a great deal of time rubbing the ball up and down on their groin! I know this doesn’t sound very straight but you would be surprised to know that other neutral observers would be advised to follow his example and worry not about the rules, teams or results but instead treat the whole experience as a strange and fascinating ceremonial ritual.
I am talking cricket – my biggest passion in my life. Therefore I can instinctively go on forever but would finally like to conclude that it is the commitment of the devoted and jubilant players and the jovial crowds along with the commentaries of golden voiced and silver tongued people like Tony Greig as well as the rivalries of old friends and enemies accompanied by the just demeanour of the umpires which makes the prodigious game of Cricket a pleasure to watch or play if you are lucky enough . . .
Cite this essay
Cricket: My hobby. (2017, Aug 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/cricket-my-hobby-essay