Old School's Out
Believed to have originated in England, the utterance of the word "cricket" often see's people's minds drifting over images of lords and ladies who talk like they have a plum stone lodged firmly within their mouth and prance around dressed in white uniforms shouting "oh good shot ole chap" whilst sipping tea in between chasing a small ball around a big oval. Whilst this may have been the case when we look back at its humble beginnings in the 17th century and early ensuing years, this is definitely not the case now.
Electrifying Forms Of Cricket
In my youth cricket was going through electrifying changes that saw Australia's Multi Million Dollar TV mogul "Kerry Packer" initiate taking cricket onto TV screens and out to the world. Packer believed that the athletes playing this game deserved to be payed for their elitism. He formed a breakaway from the stock standard cricket competition and gave birth to "World Series Cricket". This brought together all the worlds best cricketing nations and players but in highly controversial circumstances, that saw all kinds of underhanded deals and secret player signings with the stars of the game joining the rebel breakaway association . Many old school cricket aficionados and crickets governing body, could not see into the future and struggled to hold on blindly to what it already knew. If they had only had the foresight to see the changes that would eventuate from this move, they could have saved their time and energy and enjoyed the now bright future that was heading their way.
The Many Forms Of Cricket
Don't go believing that the only form of cricket is the long 5 day test match series. For cricket enthusiasts such as myself, Test Cricket is tactical and exciting. I love nothing more than a good "Ashes Test"... but for the uninitiated... I have heard people liken it to spending 5 days sitting around watching paint dry.
If you're new to cricket, there are actually now many forms of the game that have been born to bring all the excitement, spectacular catches, massive hits, colour and hype...all designed especially for people like yourself. You no longer need to sit through five days extracting highlights to see what it is exactly that people DO like about this game... Enter left of the stage, the short form versions of the game.
World T20 Promotion
Introducing Fun For The Whole Family
To make this sport more accessible for working families etc who can't spend 5 days watching a match, the first "One Day International" series was introduced to the public in Melbourne Australia in 1971.
One Day International Cricket
Short forms of the game had started to come into play during the early 1960's with English county teams but it really didn't hit the big time until the "Cricket World Cup" began in 1975. These "one dayers" as they are known, eventually did away with the drab white uniforms and bought in colour, excitement, lights and night games. From 5 days of tactical test match play, the public could now come along and see one day of powerful action. But for those of you who are thinking..."hey, that's still one whole day" for one match? the action recently went into "turbo drive" with the inception into the ranks of T20 Cricket.
(Twenty/Twenty cricket) is basically cricket on steroids. It now means that one can go to see frantic cricket action in a power packed match that only lasts for about three hours.
I can almost hear Cricket baggers saying "see your game is so great that people want to see less of it", but if you haven't seen T20 and you're still wondering "what is Cricket anyway"? T20 gives people all over the world a chance to see the major cricketing nations, the best of the current players in the cricketing world, former great players, new up and coming talent...all together in what can be described as a serious cross between India's Bollywood and crickets finest athletes, showing everything they and the sport has to offer, in a few hours of jam-packed, colour and noise. It's a wonderful introduction for the cricket uninitiated which also stems people's interest over into other forms of the game.
IPL Indian Premier League Promotion
Women In Professional Sport With TV Coverage
One of the other impressive things about cricket is the way that they have now integrated the women's game professionally, bringing not only the worlds best male but also female cricketers well out into the professional spotlight. This first came into being in 1994 when Zoe Goss of Australia dismissed arguably the worlds best batsman in Brian Lara from the West Indies. It was during a televised exhibition match of no competition importance but people started to realise (in Australia anyway) that...hey women can play this game well too!
Some Big Drawcards For The Game
- Cricket is not solely a sport for one country, it is for the world.
- You can choose between many different forms of the game to watch.
- Different Associations throughout the world, means that players do not have to only exclusively play for their country but can also play along side players from other countries... as team mates. A great example of this is seen in "The Indian T20 Premier League"Commonly known as the "IPL". It shows off great comradery and sportsmanship when traditional rivals for their countries become comrades in arms for the international T20 leagues around the world.
- There are International World Cup competitions and series for whichever type of cricket you want to watch or play, pitting country against country for the patriotic amongst us.
- A healthy, non contact but tactical and exciting sport for kids to pick up and enjoy.
Basic Cricket Terms
Before you tune in to join in the action here's a quick run down of some cricketing terminology:
- HOWZAT! - This is what the bowlers and fielders all scream at the umpire if they believe the ball they bowled got the player out (Howzat - is slang for how was that!)
- Over - 6 balls are bowled in 1 over. In a one day international match each team bats for 50 overs each. Obviously in a T20 match, each team bats for 20 overs each. Test cricket is played for 6 hours a day with a minimum of 90 overs supposed to be played each day. This however is often rain interrupted and the overs and totals required adjust accordingly.
- Duck - If a player comes in to bat and is out having made no runs, he is said to be out for a duck. If he is out on the very first ball he faces for no runs, he is said to be out for a Golden Duck.
- Runs - There are two batsmen on the playing pitch at one time (11 players on each team)Every time the batter hits the ball the two batsmen must run between the wickets to score a run before the ball is returned to hit the wickets or stumps.
- Wickets or Stumps - These are the three round sticks with bails on the top situated at either end of the playing area which is called the called the wicket or pitch. If the fielding team throws the ball and hits the stumps before a player is back in his ground...He will be RUN OUT. If a bowler gets through a batsman's defence and knocks over the stumps, the player is out and if the ball hits a player on his legs directly in front of the stumps....YES, he will be out.
- Fours and Sixes - These are the big hits people love to see. Around the edge of the playing field is a white rope boundary. If the ball is hit and it rolls into or over this boundary, it is automatically four runs. If the batter hits the ball in the air and over the boundary, it is 6 runs. If the batsman can play these big shots, they have the luxury of not having to physically run to get the total added to their score.
- Hat-Trick - This is when a bowler dismisses (takes the wicket of) 3 batsmen one after another with 3 consecutive balls.
- Specialised Fielding Positions - There are many of these situated around the large playing area. If you hear the terms slips, gully, point, outfield...they are all different fielding positions.
- Wicket Keeper - This is the player who stands directly behind the stumps (wearing gloves) to take balls missed, not played and nicked through by the batsman who is on strike.
- All Rounder - This is a player who doesn't per say specialise in one area such. These players can bat, bowl and field to a high level.
The Basic Aim
So the ultimate aim of the game is:
- Each of the two teams playing have 11 players per side.
- The winner of the game is the team that can score the most runs so as an easy example if team A batted for twenty overs and scored 200 runs, then team B comes in to bat for their 20 overs and must score 200 runs to draw the game or 201 runs to win.
- Bowlers try to bowl out batters, batters try to make runs and fielders try to take catches.
- If the bowling team gets on top, they may bowl the batting team out (all 11 players) before they have completed their alloted overs.
- All players must take their place in the batting line up, even if they are a bowler, however not all batters must bowl...they must field. It is much more common these days to see more "all-rounders" in the game, versatile in batting, bowling and fielding.
See there really is excitement and action in cricket! It's not just the fast bowling, wizardly spin bowlers and big hitters but also the astounding catches, not to mention the electric atmosphere.
The 10 countries who are listed as full members of the International Cricket Council are
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- West Indies
Many other countries do play and are listed with associate member status like Scotland, Canada, Ireland, Afghanistan etc...
If you are living in a country that doesn't have cricket as a main sport, you will have to head online to watch the cricket action as it's a reasonable assumption that you won't get it on your local TV stations. There are many free to air live streaming cricket sites.