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Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint)
August 3, 2006 6:34 AM   Subscribe

"If that's what's on, then that's what they watch. It's either that, or a cricket match between Scotland and Bermuda. Now, I am an educated man, Charlie, but when someone tries to explain cricket to me, all I want to do is hit him in the head with a teapot." Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint) for those, following a recent cricket thread, that want to get it, but don't quite yet.
posted by nthdegx (41 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cricket is the game that gave us the saying "dif-
ferent strokes for different blokes"


Had no idea.

Can we extrapolate and also say cricket gave us Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Dana whats her name
posted by poppo at 7:18 AM on August 3, 2006


Well, yeah, but... he's only talking about international matches when he says one-day games are a recent development.

Kids in the street and the game on Sunday on the local green never went on for a week - obviously people do have jobs and such.
posted by genghis at 7:32 AM on August 3, 2006


Gave us the sticky wicket, too.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:37 AM on August 3, 2006


only 112 days to go! watch him. glorious stuff.
posted by hayeled at 7:43 AM on August 3, 2006


"Different strokes for different folks", surely.
posted by ninebelow at 7:44 AM on August 3, 2006


Good explanation
poor presentation

posted by blue_beetle at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2006


What the hell is hard about cricket? You can pick up the basics in 10 minutes of watching a match. American football, now there's a *fucking* bizarre sport.
posted by salmacis at 7:50 AM on August 3, 2006


Seems like a pretty good summary to me.

Though it's a shame he didn't go further into fielding terminology: silly mid-off, backward point, gully, short leg, &c. - don't suppose they matter when getting a basic understanding of the game, but they're all so euphonious, cricket commentary can be poetry even if you haven't the foggiest idea what's going on.
posted by jack_mo at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2006


Plato. Dana Plato.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:52 AM on August 3, 2006


Didn't she have a Retreat or something?
posted by The Bellman at 7:56 AM on August 3, 2006


Cricket is the game that gave us the saying "different strokes for different blokes"
Had no idea.


Do you believe everything you read on the internets? That may or may not be the source of the expression, but I wouldn't take the word of some random cricket fan for it if I were you.
posted by languagehat at 8:02 AM on August 3, 2006



"Didn't she have a Retreat or something?"
Well played, sir!
posted by cows of industry at 8:03 AM on August 3, 2006


This was grand. Now, if someone would do the same for Aussie Football (but include photos) I'd have all my sporting questions answered.
posted by cccorlew at 8:10 AM on August 3, 2006


Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint)

Now we need a continental European viewpoint, because you have to understand baseball to understand the American viewpoint.
posted by uncle harold at 8:16 AM on August 3, 2006


Do you believe everything you read on the internets?

Don't worry, it's not like i'm running around the office excitedly telling everyone i know where that phrase came from.
posted by poppo at 8:16 AM on August 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


After reading all that, am I correct in assuming that the only real reason to have an international test last 5 days is to give folks an excuse to get plastered outside for a week?
posted by Justinian at 8:18 AM on August 3, 2006


Cricket: As explained to a foreigner...

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been 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.
posted by adamvasco at 8:29 AM on August 3, 2006 [4 favorites]


And, my favorite: googly.
First saw it on Seinfeld's AmericanExpress ads, and thought it was made up.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:38 AM on August 3, 2006


"they bat and they bat and they bat and they bat..."

Cool post. Something I've always wondered about. And the (lack of) graphic design is kinda fitting to the content.

(And Dana Plato had a cave, btw.)
posted by turducken at 8:40 AM on August 3, 2006


Yeah, cows, but now I feel old. Not as old as Robin Byrd, but still old. Does anyone else remember when the channels on cable had letters instead of numbers?
posted by The Bellman at 8:47 AM on August 3, 2006


American football, now there's a *fucking* bizarre sport.

What, you don't like the clear and understandable rules behind "in-the-grasp," "down by contact," "intentional grounding except when you're in the pocket" and my favorite, "the ground caused the fumble."
posted by frogan at 9:21 AM on August 3, 2006


I didn't really get how cricket worked until I read Dorothy Sayer's Murder Must Advertise: key cricket scene in murder mystery makes it all the easier to get. But this was good, too.
posted by dame at 9:41 AM on August 3, 2006


Also "leg before wicket" is awesome: your leg wasn't just there, it was defending the wicket.
posted by dame at 9:48 AM on August 3, 2006


Erm, the "different strokes for different blokes" is obviously a joke, since blokes play cricket and do not haqve sensual experiences, whereas folks, from distant observation, are the other way around.
posted by alloneword at 9:58 AM on August 3, 2006


Justinian, your comprehension skills should be the envy of millions. That pretty much sums up the entire sport. It's also why the only time anything ever happens is when you get up for the long trek across the pavilion to the bar. Also, he forgot to mention night cricket, which is the same, except you do five days worth of drinking in a couple of hours. I think the only difference to the actual game is the brighter uniforms.
posted by dvdgee at 10:05 AM on August 3, 2006


Thanks for that. I've lived in the UK for almost five years now and have had a few people try to briefly explain the game to me but I never got it.

Now that I get it, I still don't think I'll watch it though.
posted by gfrobe at 10:09 AM on August 3, 2006


A better explanation.
posted by howling fantods at 10:20 AM on August 3, 2006


A better explanation.
posted by howling fantods at 10:20 AM PST on August 3 [+] [!] [↑] No other comments.


Now this actually explained cricket in a readable, quick to follow way. I don't think I totally get it, but I feel like I could watch a game and not be totally lost. Assuming I ever wanted to watch a cricket game...
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2006


On a very slow night in an Tasmanian hostel, I hung out with a woman and her young son watching cricket. Having already expressed my confusion at the sport, she started to explain, with frequent and quite amusing interjections by her son. However, that was an enjoyable evening, with their explanations only interrupted on my part by refreshing my beer to lubricate my brain. We all fell asleep on the couch. Great fun.

Still dont understand cricket.
posted by elendil71 at 11:11 AM on August 3, 2006


Erm, the "different strokes for different blokes" is obviously a joke

Upon review, I do believe you're right. I'm much relieved.

And between the original link and howling fantods' pies, I believe I actually have the beginnings of a glimmering of the initial stages of comprehension of how cricket works. Not that that's something I ever wanted, but there you are.
posted by languagehat at 11:12 AM on August 3, 2006


After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn't fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don't wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players -- more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it to center field; and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher's mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to to handle radio-active isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to try to waddle forty feet with mattress's strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and every one retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket.
--Bill Bryson
posted by Grod at 11:22 AM on August 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


What languagehat said. I can now ask about this:
Pakistan stopped batting in their 49th over when they surpassed West Indies' 260 runs. They won "by five wickets" because they had five wickets left when the match was over. Of course, in this limited-overs match, they only had part of one over left when the won the game, so it was a very close match.
And also, because it was a limited-overs match and they were in their second-to-last over, they never would've gotten to those five wickets they won by anyway, even though they won by five wickets. Right? Uh-oh. But that is right, right? Crap.

Also:
If you're the weaker batsman you'll try to hit a
single (which we recall is one run) so as to get the better
player to face the bowler.

Don't expect that type of selfless teamwork in US sport.
/cynical jerk
posted by zoinks at 11:23 AM on August 3, 2006


Upon review, I do believe you're right. I'm much relieved.

And between the original link and howling fantods' pies, I believe I actually have the beginnings of a glimmering of the initial stages of comprehension of how cricket works. Not that that's something I ever wanted, but there you are.


Ah, what I love about languagehat, the ability to keep his eyes open.
:)
posted by etaoin at 11:34 AM on August 3, 2006


Don't expect that type of selfless teamwork in US sport.
Oh, I don't know about that. Baseball batting orders are more or less predicated upon putting your strongest batters in positions where they can capitalize and where they can overcome your weaker batters.

The sacrifice also has a long and honorable history in baseball.

Anyway, allow me to throw a
[this is good]
to this whole thread and particularly nthdegx. I lived in London for a while and managed not to understand cricket despite that, and now I feel like I've gotten a nice languagehat-level introduction to it.
posted by scrump at 11:53 AM on August 3, 2006


You're right of course, scrump. I may be a cynical jerk, but I won't bother defending my cynical jerkitude.
And really, can anyone answer my question above? Does the question itself even make sense? Despite the slight glimmer of understanding it still seems very odd. I want to see a match! (Well, maybe just a few overs, for starters.)
posted by zoinks at 12:08 PM on August 3, 2006


Well, zoinks, it seems that since an over is six bowls, theoretically the team could have lost all five other wickets. I doubt that would ever happen, but it could. I think. I kinda want to go see some too now. And have pie.
posted by dame at 12:13 PM on August 3, 2006


When I was a boy and spent a year in Bath, Englad, my fellow schoolkids put me to work early on playing cricket, which was the only sport they had that I truly enjoyed (hated football and couldn't help but get hurt in rugby). I was quite good at it, from what I understand, which is srt of amazing, as I never understood what the hell I was doing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:39 PM on August 3, 2006


I still don't understand exactly what the definition of knocking a wicket over is. Here's from the link:

The vertical pieces are called "stumps" and the crosspieces "bails." The whole thing is about two feet tall and maybe nine or ten inches wide. When you hit the wicket with the ball one or both of the crosspieces will fall off. This is central to getting a batsman out. Pay attention, this is the crux of the matter here: the bowler bowls the ball to the batsman in such a way as to try to knock the wicket over.

So...is knocking the wicket over knocking both balls off, knocking only one ball off, or knocking both balls off as well as knocking all three stumps down flat on the ground.

And if you have to knock the stumps over too, how deeply are they pounded into the ground? And while I'm at it, what do they call the crosspieces "balls"? And are the balls simply placed on top of the stumps, balancing there such that a stong wind could blow them off?

OK, that's enough. No, one more: What does "sticky wicket" mean, does it refer to the stumps? I suppose it does, because it doesn't seem that the balls can be sticky if they're just lying there on top of the stumps.
posted by mono blanco at 4:35 PM on August 3, 2006


If one or both bails are off, the wicket is broken.
posted by Wolof at 5:22 PM on August 3, 2006


Note the spelling of 'b a i l s' - definitely not 'balls' on top of the stumps. The bails are indeed simply placed on top of the stumps. Here is a picture of the stumps set up, and here is a closeup so you can see what the bails look like. They are balanced on top of the stumps. There is a slight groove holding them so they don't simply roll off, but they are intended to come off easily if anything touches the stumps.

A 'wicket' is both the stumps and also the pitch (the rectangle in the centre of the field where the bowler and batsmen are standing). So a 'sticky wicket' actually refers to the ground, which might be damp after rain, which changes the way the ball bounces.
posted by jacalata at 7:18 PM on August 3, 2006


Interesting post. I never had much use for the American baseball vs. European football argument, because baseball is much more comparable to cricket than to soccer, and should be seen as its cousin. Both originated in prehistoric times, when a bunch of males, resting from the hunt, started to throw rocks and sticks, and one of them said, "Let's see if I can reach the tree before Ug can catch the rock." The rest is just the kind of obsessive refinement over the years that turns a pastime into a sport.
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:33 PM on August 3, 2006


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