April 20, 2009

That most English of pastimes : cricket

A bowler bowling to a batsman. The paler strip...Image via Wikipedia

I spent a very enjoyable afternoon on Sunday on the local village green watching a game of cricket.

Ah, the sound of leather on willow and the polite applause of a knowledgeable crowd as the batsman hits a four or a six. Nothing beats it on a warm summers day. Especially as the drinks were coming in a steady stream from the local pub adjoining the common.

At one point I tweeted that the score was 48 for 5 off 19. It occurred to me then that a lot of folks will probably not understand what that means or, indeed, what the rules of cricket are. So - as a public service to the non-cricket lovers out there - I present the rules of cricket.

1. There are two teams. One out, one in.

2. The team that's out try to get the player that's in, out.

3. When they do get him out, he goes in.

4. Then the next player goes out. As long as he's out, he's in.

5. The object is then for the team that's out to get the second player out. When they get him out, he goes in.

6. This process is repeated for each innings until the team that's out gets the team that's in all out.

7. When the whole team is out, the team that was in goes out, and the team that was out goes in.

8. Then they play a second innings until they're all out. Except one player. He remains not out

9. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

10. When both sides have been in and all the men are out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

Nothing really hard about that is there?


  1. Ahem, pedant's corner here.

    If you were truly a Cricket fan, you would have told your readers that Cricket has no "rules" at all.

    "Laws" define how the game is played.

    That sort of pedantic nomenclature is both the beauty and the downfall of Cricket as a mass-popularity proposition. An intensely simple contest is rendered incomprehensible by decades of definitions and coinings of phrase.

    If you are really keen you can find them here:


    You're Welcome.


    All this being said, I wish people wouldn't keep implying cricket is complicated, when it's a very simple game to understand.

    Allow me to make a quick (and not funny) summary.

    The batsman tries to stay in the middle as long as possible.

    While there he wants to score "runs", so called because as a default they consist of running a short distance.

    The bowling team tries to get him out.

    Once ten batsmen have been got out, the teams swap over.

    At the end of play (which varies depending on the format agreed), whichever has the most "runs", wins.

    Everything else is just terminology, I've always viewed Cricket one ball at a time, as a contest between Batsman and Bowler.

    But as a bowler, I would say that.

    Sick of it being described as "hard to get" - the LBW rule is no harder than the offside rule, guys!


    P.S. I'm aware, btw, that you ARE a true cricket fan - just yanking your chain. :)

  2. I agree. Of course when you realise there are 10 ways a batsman can be 'out' you can see why people think it's complicated.

    Excellent comment, by the way. Thanks!

  3. How can you say "10 ways to get out" and then not list them in an obsessive manner?

  4. Well they are, of course (As you know full well)

    -Leg before wicket
    -Handled the ball (This is a type of dismissal you see rarely - but it does happen.
    Former England captain Michael Vaughan has been dismissed this way. Another former England captain, Graham Gooch, was once given his marching orders for handling the ball)
    -Timed out (There have only been a handful of instances of batsmen being "timed out" in the entire history of first-class cricket - one of which was Nottinghamshire seamer Andrew "AJ" Harris in 2003. With Notts playing Durham UCCE in a first-class friendly match, Harris was struggling with a groin strain when he came out to bat as Notts' last man - and was halfway down the pavilion steps when he was given out)
    -Double hit
    -Hit wicket (Kevin Pietersen was once out "hit wicket" when the chinstrap of his helmet broke and the helmet hit the wicket after it fell off)
    -Obstructing the field (This is a very uncommon method of dismissal hardly ever seen in club or international cricket. However Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq was controversially dismissed in this fashion during Pakistan's one-day international against India in Peshawar in February 2006.)