Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to explain cricket

Written for Massey University's student magazine Magneto. The first in a series of 'this sport explained to a retard student' articles.

So, it's the end of summer now and the Rugby season has kicked off. But the cricket season is still persisting. Or is it the other way around? Anyway. In order to help you impress the sportsperson in your life, here's an explanation of what the willow and cork game is all about.

First things first, you'll have to learn the different types of the game. This is easy. There's Test, One-Day and Twenty20. Test cricket is a four, or five-day long match, in which each team gets to bat and bowl twice. They have an unlimited number of overs, but if the team to bat last does not get enough time to attempt to win, the match is deemed a draw. One-Day cricket is limited to 50 overs, with each team batting once. Twenty20 is limited to 20 overs each.

Still with me? No, you aren't. I've just prattled on about overs and batting and bowling and other such shit. You've got a vague idea what they are, but that's not going to help when old man Pete quizzes you about Hindelbottom's 6.4 run rate against slow off-spin seamers on a firm pitch in England.

So, to break it down even further. An over consists of six deliveries by a bowler. A bowler is the person who throws the ball at the batsman. The batsman is standing in front of wickets - three sticks, which he is trying to stop from being hit by the ball the bowler is hurtling his way. Each bowler is limited in the number of overs he may bowl in the 50 and 20 over versions.

There are all kinds of rules regarding the way a ball can be bowled, and how the batsman can hit it. For example, a bowler cannot have his elbow bent any more than 15 degrees as he lets the ball go - to do so would mean he is throwing it. Likewise, a batsman cannot simply stand in front of the wickets to stop the ball from hitting them. To do so will have him ruled as being out, under the Leg Before Wicket rule. The best way to avoid a Leg Before Wicket dismissal is to have a team full of people who have had legs removed through gangrene, or blown off by mines.

A Leg Before Wicket dismissal is decided by the umpire. Umpires are always fat, and look like the weird old fat guy who sits in the four-seat space on the bus. They also wear big hats, to prevent them from the hot sun. This is important because umpires are actually made of Goody Gum-Drops icecream. When a batsman is out, the umpire will extend his forefinger, and raise it above his head. For an explanation on 'extending the finger' refer to the Wikipedia article titled John Hopoate.

Being out means that a batsman has fucked up majorly, and he now loses his opportunity to try and hit any more deliveries. He has to walk back to the changing rooms, and on the way he'll generally swing his bat and look emo.

But some batsmen don't do this. Generally this is because they've done what is called 'fucking smashing it'. 'Fucking smashing it' is the act of scoring a high amount of runs for that batsman's team. A run is scored two ways.

Firstly, running between the wickets - remember, those things the bowler tries to hit with the ball - there's two of these on any cricket pitch, positioned around 16 metres apart [a standard cricket pitch is 20 metres]. Batsmen can 'stroke' the ball with their bat - don't try it on your partner though - and then run from one set of wickets to another. This will commonly result in adding one or two runs to the team's total. There is also a boundary rope, which is set around the edge of the pitch. If a batsman hits a ball and it bounces once or more before going over the rope, it will automatically add four runs to his team's score. However, if he hits it over the rope without it bouncing, six runs will be added. This is the easiest way to 'fucking smash it'.

It is the bowler's job to make and get all 11 of the opposition team's batsmen emo by getting them out. He also attempts to stop them 'fucking smashing it'. He is helped in this by his Fielders. These are people who stand somewhere between the wickets and the boundary, and will try and stop the ball if it is hit their way. They can also catch a ball if it has not bounced or gone over the boundary, and the batsmen will be out. The closer to the boundary this happens, the more emo the batsman becomes.

There is also a Wicket-Keeper. He is positioned behind the batsman and it is his job to hurl abuse at the batsman. Batsmen are notorious for their self-esteem issues and incestuous relations with their parents, so a Wicket-Keeper will commonly utilise this material. He will also catch any deliveries which the batsman does not hit.

After both teams have 'fucking smashed it', one team is declared the winner. This is the team who scored more runs than the other. That team is then rewarded by being given lots of money by television companies, because lots of people have watched them play the sport. Are you completely confused yet? Good. Next up: The Duckworth-Lewis system.


  1. Even though it is light-hearted, this article you wrote seriously had me being more learned. I kept reading until the end, hoping there was more funny-ness, but I guess that's all you can write on cricket.

    I am into sports, but cricket has always baffled me for 15.3 years. I could never fully grasp its inner workings. Until now that is. So, thank you. No, seriously, fucking thank you.

  2. Hey man, thanks a bunch, that's a great compliment!

    I'm not using this site much more, I'm writing at www.dropkicks.co.nz if you want to find my newer stuff.