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A Primer On Cricket For The Traveler

Understanding the game of cricket.

Cricket

If you ever find yourself traveling in South Asia, Australia, or parts of Europe you’re bound to find groups of people intently watching televisions that has an odd game with players using flat bats and throwing balls underhand. Cricket, in fact, is said to be the second most popular sport in the world.

As of right now, Australia has the best cricket team in the world, followed closely by India, New Zealand, South Africa, and England. If you’re into putting some money into cricket, get some betting tips for IPL.

But for those of us from North America at least, cricket is a very foreign game. However, part of connecting with a culture is having an understanding of how they play — and sports is a key part of the play of any country.

So what’s the deal with cricket? What’s the object of the game? What are the rules? How do you play it? What’s its history?

Cricket pitch

Cricket is one of the oldest games in the world, having been around since the 16th century, and some elements of the game seem overtly antiquated, giving it a sense of charm. Cricket fields are 200 meters in circumference and a line delineates the area that’s in play and out of play. In the center of the field is something called the wicket. The wicket has two sets of three stumps that are positioned 22 yards away from each other. Bats are flat and are made of wood. The ball is made of cork and can be red or white depending one what version of the game is being played. There are three versions: test, one day, and twenty 20. The main difference is how long the games last.

Teams are made up of 11 players with one substitute in case of injury. Each player generally has a position that they usually play when fielding but can ultimately play any position they want.

While cricket may look a little strange to people who are not familiar with it, the object of the game isn’t anything out of the ordinary: score more runs than the other team. The game is played when a bowler (kind of like a pitcher) stands at one end of the wicket and throws the ball towards a batter who tries to hit the ball. Runs are scored when a batter and his batsman buddy (there are two batters) runs from one side of the wicket to the other or hits the ball over the boundary line in the air (6 runs) or after hitting the ground (4 runs). The batsman can score as many runs as they want on any given hit.

The game is structured around innings. An inning goes on until the fielding team gets ten batters out. In test cricket there are two innings … and the game can go on for up to five days.

All travelers eventually will come upon cricket fans watching games at some point in their journey, and having a concept of the game gives you the ability to jump right in and participate in the fun.

 

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