For many newcomers, cricket seems to be quite a confusing sport. I mean, is it a foreign form of baseball? At first glance, it looks like it. In reality cricket is a really simple game to both watch and play. In this short, easy-to-use guide, I'll give you everything you need to know about the ancient art of playing cricket.
Things You Will Need2 cricket bats
2 wickets (or two sets of three sticks)
A cricket ball
2 teams (if professional, 11 per team)
Some safety pads
A place to play
Understand the five roles of cricketThere are 5 main players in cricket which I'll explain in detail:
1. Bowler - Sort of like your pitcher in baseball. Tries to get the opposing team out by getting it caught by the wicket-keeper (who I'll explain in a second) or by catching the cricket ball after it's been hit by the batter.
2. Batters - Same roles as in baseball. He tries to hit the ball out of the park to get as many runs as possible. There will be two batters of the same team on the field simultaneously (skip to step three for an image to display team make-up). They will run back and forth to score as many runs as they can.
3. Fielders - They try to get the ball back to the bowler and keep the ball (if hit by the opposing team's batter) from leaving the boundaries in which the game is being played.
4. Wicket-keeper - Think of the catcher in baseball. He tries to catch the ball that the bowler bowls to the batter. Basically, his job is to get people out.
5. Umpire - Your referee. He decides who gets what points or if anybody is out.
Understand the scoring systemThe way cricket is scored is a bit different from the way baseball measures scores. There are basically only four things you need to know:
1. If you hit the ball with anything other than your bat (or wicket, as it's traditionally called) you're out. If hitting the ball with any other part of your body was unavoidable, this can be avoided.
2. If the batter hits the ball and it bounces before it reaches the boundaries of the field, you automatically receive four runs. However, if the ball is hit and it goes over the boundary without bouncing, six runs are awarded.
3. Otherwise, once the ball is hit, the batter runs back and forth between the wickets (I'll explain this in a minute) to get as many runs as he can before he gets out.
4. If you hit your wicket as you hit the cricket ball being bowled, you're out, and if the bowler hits your wicket, you're out.
Understand field and team make-up
You may be a bit confused with all this wicket and cricket jargon, am I right? Well, hopefully this picture sets things straight. As you'll be able to see, there are two lines. One where the batter bats, and one where the umpire and wicket-keeper stay and also where the two team's wickets (three poles in the center of the line) stay.
The place you choose to play cricket has to be able to fit your two teams and incorporate the boundary system outlined in the image I've included. If you're an amateur, you don't need 11 players for each team.
Start playing (or watching)With this knowledge, you'll at least be able to play a pick up game of cricket at your local park or gym. If you're more into watch the sport of cricket, there are a lot of live cricket streaming resources online that allow to watch professionals play the field.
You'll find that cricket is just as fun a game to watch as it is to play.
I hope this lesson on cricket has been very helpful to you. Now, keep in mind that these are just the basics. There's a lot more to cover if you ever want to become an experienced cricket player. You learn by watching and doing, and those should be your two main courses of action after reading this.