I don’t intend to start playing mid off, silly point, short leg, nor gully any time soon.
They just don’t seem like the positions for me.
Deep cover and deep midwicket maybe?
Historically, I would have been a fit for wicket keeper.
All of these position names will become common knowledge as the Warren Area Council of Cricketing Opportunity (WACCO) or the Cricket Association of Mid-northwestern Pennsylvania (CAMP) or Conewango Area CricKet League Enthusiasts (CACKLE) become household names.
That’s right. Cricket.
The second most popular sport in the world with some 2.5 billion fans.
There are pockets of popularity in the United States, but it is far from mainstream here.
Every time I see it on TV, I watch. I think I’ve watched it once in the past decade.
Maybe the major networks will pick up CACKLE’s Wednesday night matches.
So far, I haven’t spoken to my deep cover cricket expert, but I think I’m getting a feel for the game.
Baseball was derived from it, so it should be somewhat familiar to the average baseball fan. Right?
The field is generally round with the key players taking up spaces near the middle.
There are 11 field players including a position like pitcher — bowler — and one like catcher — wicket keeper. On the other team — side — there are batters — strikers — and base-runners — non-strikers — or waiting their turn off the field. As in baseball, one team is in the field while the other is at bat, and the same players both hit and field.
The striker tries to hit the ball delivered by bowler and if successful, starts running.
The ball can bounce and usually does before it gets to the striker.
The strike zone is very tangible. A couple of sticks — wicket — with something on top — bail — that falls off if the ball hits it or the striker steps — trods — on it or hits it with the bat…
The bowler tries to strike out — bowl — the striker. But there are other ways to get the striker out, including catching a batted ball before it hits the ground. Familiar.
If you are out — your wicket is taken — the next person in the line-up takes your spot. I don’t know if there’s a dugout, but I am thinking that’s where you go.
Your team keeps hitting until all of your wickets are taken and the inning — innings — is over. An innings is 10 outs. All of your team members will advance to the batting crease. All but one will eventually be out. In most cricket matches, there are only one or two innings (yes, it’s innings for both singular and plural) per team.
There is only one base path — the pitch. The striker is at one end. The non-striker is at the other.
If the striker is not bowled, he or she may start running for the other end of the pitch. Hopefully, the non-striker will do the same, with the players crossing in the middle. If they both reach their target ends safely — before a wicket is struck with the ball or by someone holding the ball, they score a run for the team — one that is credited to the striker. They can keep running back and forth as long as they feel it is safe or until one is out. If they score an odd number, the non-striker will be at the appropriate end of the pitch to take the next ball bowled and becomes the striker… that is, unless the bowler has bowled the last six balls — an over — in which case, someone else must bowl and the ends change.
If I have it all straight so far, hooray — Shabash!
If not, I’m confident one or more cricket experts will let me know where my failings (hopefully only those related to cricket knowledge) lie.
Brian Ferry has been a writer/photographer for the Times Observer for many years. He has never played cricket. He may have some English heritage, which may or may not explain his rather sudden interest in cricket. Disdainful, or less negative, comments about his cricket knowledge may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.