March 31, 2004

A Beginner's Guide to Cricket: SF author Justine Larbalestier goes well and good into the deep explaining Cricket so that, for the first time after many tries, I think I understand the basics. Though still no word on why innings is always plural.

posted by billsaysthis to other at 11:24 AM - 19 comments

There is also Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint), which I found to be pretty useful in understanding the basics..

posted by blarp at 11:54 AM on March 31, 2004

I have long wanted to understand the rules etc of cricket, but the link in the original post spends so much damn time editorialising that it turned me off. I want to read something that is written in a somewhat more technical style. Thanks for the link though. It reminded me that I need to read up. Do any American cable stations run cricket? I occasionally see highlights on the BBC news. I did have occasion to watch a match on a pitch in Bath when I was visiting in 2000. Watching live helped me enjoy the game more.

posted by scully at 01:54 PM on March 31, 2004

Heh, the only live cricket I've ever seen was also in Bath, probably c. 1998. Best cricket guide I've found is cricket for baseball players.

posted by tieguy at 02:10 PM on March 31, 2004

None of these links work for me. I get about to the point where "wicket" means three (or more?) different things and my head starts spinning. I'm sure that if I watched a game, on TV or in person, I'd have no problem understanding.

posted by dusted at 03:39 PM on March 31, 2004

Yeah, the main thing I don't understand about cricket is why I have to pay $50 on pay-per-view to watch it. I mean, if there's a mainstream audience for timber sports, there's gotta be one for cricket... On the other hand, I can watch Arsenal vs. Man U live, but the 5 million yearly Celtic vs. Rangers matches are all PPV...

posted by molafson at 04:13 PM on March 31, 2004

I'm sure that if I watched a game, on TV or in person, I'd have no problem understanding. Actually, the terminology is what kept me from understanding anything about cricket when trying to watch a match with my wife's family in India. The biggest obstacle, I thought, was that I had no idea how to keep score. Of course, I kept asking "oh, like a in baseball" which was no help to them because they knew as much about baseball as I knew about cricket. Thanks for the links, I've been looking for a halfway decent cricket primer.

posted by Jugwine at 05:34 PM on March 31, 2004

Not to derail too much, but does anyone have similar primers for Rugby/Aussie Rules?

posted by togdon at 06:02 PM on March 31, 2004

FSW is about to start showing this year's Aussie Rules season, I think the first game is tomorrow night. Some links: Official league site American Footy Origin, history HTH, togdon.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:04 PM on March 31, 2004

The Link's working fine for me. That's not a bad summary - a bit too much detail in some places (some of what she goes into isn't that important) and there's an Australian bias (a few examples of the terminology she gives only apply in Australia). dusted: I think the multiple meanings of wicket are one of the most confusing things about the game. Maybe you could just try ignoring the bits where she's written "(or wicket)" - at least at first :) jugwine: I've got a basic understanding of baseball - pity I wasn't watching with you :)

posted by Infinite Jest at 04:31 PM on April 01, 2004

Jest, no explanation of the plurality of innings for me?

posted by billsaysthis at 09:58 PM on April 01, 2004

billsaysthis: The word "innings" is used to indicate both the singular and the plural in all versions of English except American English, in which the singular has evolved into the word "inning". Therefore, "innings", as used to refer to a singular stay at the crease (or wicket) in cricket, is the original, and "inning", as used to refer to a similar sojourn in baseball, is the quirky linguistic adaptation. This has clearly come about on account of the fact that no one in America can get their head around a word that has more than one meaning (or, as we say here in the UK, more than one "wicket"). I am reminded, as I often am (I must admit), of something Eddie Izzard once said: "You say 'erb, and we say hhhhhhhherb... because there's a fucking 'h' in it." To sum up, and return to what I thought was a point when I began this post - cricket did not pluralise inning; baseball singularised innings!

posted by JJ at 06:06 AM on April 02, 2004

As for understanding cricket... The only way to get a decent crasp of the game is to sit and watch it with someone who already has such a grasp. Ideally, this should be done somewhere in the home counties in August, whilst drinking warm flat beer in the cool shade of a 300 year old oak tree that actually forms part of the playing surface. There is no concise definition. Consider cricket to be God. Bear with me. A degree of understanding of God can be attained from the teachings of a religion, but a deeper and truer understanding of God must come from within and cannot be defined (apparently). As with God, so with criket - you can read the rules and ask questions until you're blue in the face, but until you find yourself actually getting excited about something that's happening out there on the field of play (something other than a streaker), you've just not got it. If it's bitesize chunks of micro-excitement you're after, leave cricket alone. The moments of excitement that cricket can generate come mostly as a result of having watched the hours of seeming mediocrity that precede them. A bit like life really. To sum up again. Cricket is God. Criket is life. Boredom is merely the yin to excitement's yang. The beer must be warm.

posted by JJ at 06:36 AM on April 02, 2004

Oh God, I've awoken a purist.

posted by dusted at 11:27 AM on April 02, 2004

JJ, is that an invitation? And don't blame me for bits of language that were changed decades before my birth, I am American not America! RESPEC MAH AUTHORITAH!

posted by billsaysthis at 08:09 PM on April 02, 2004

I'm apportioning no blame - indeed, there's none to apportion - language evolves whether I like it or not. As for the invitation - I'm no expert on the game if the truth be told - it's the warm beer and sentences with dashes in that I'm a fan of.

posted by JJ at 03:49 AM on April 05, 2004

OK, so I'm shooting low, JJ. I won't try to understand God, but the next time I'm in a cricket-playing country, I'll go to a test(?) and find someone who looks like they know an innings from an innings and a wicket from a wicket. Then I'll write my own attempt to explain God to the heathen Americans. Until then, can you just tell me what a "sticky wicket" is?

posted by dusted at 10:32 AM on April 05, 2004

God, I understand - but cricket's a mystery. Now then - sticky wicket - pay attention at the back. Obviously (or perhaps not) the expression has acquired a meaning beyond the game itself, but I'll deal with that in a second. In the cricketing context, a sticky wicket is literally a wicket (in this case, the word refers to the 22 yards of grass between the two sets of stumps) that has recently been rained on. As the ball nearly always bounces before it reaches the batsman, the condition of the wicket is very important. If the wicket is hard, dry and flat, the ball will bounce as you might expect it to - this favours the batsman. However, if the wicket becomes damp in places, or begins to deteriorate and/or crack, the ball will start behaving eratically; sometimes bouncing high, sometimes bouncing low, and often changing direction - this favours the bowler. As such, a sticky wicket is one upon which life becomes very tricky for the batsman. The broader meaning of the expression reflects this - a sticky wicket can refer to a situation that has become a bit tricky - and it is usually used in an understated and/or humorous way (e.g. "Ah yes, World War Two, I remember that... bit of a sticky wicket that was."). For further (and much more concise) definitions of cricketing terms, including "sticky wicket", have a look at this. It seems to have been written by Americans, for Americans (but not of Americans). My own favourite (leaving aside the names of the entire Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistan teams) is "googly".

posted by JJ at 02:53 AM on April 06, 2004

Thanks. Now I understand one small part of the game of cricket.

posted by dusted at 11:22 AM on April 06, 2004

Ideally, this should be done somewhere in the home counties in August, whilst drinking warm flat beer in the cool shade of a 300 year old oak tree that actually forms part of the playing surface. Heh. I think you mean lime tree...

posted by etagloh at 10:27 PM on April 15, 2004

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