Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 23:36:21 -0400
From: jps <>
Subject: Australia journal - page 3

Hi David:

> I hear cricket matches can go on for days or weeks.

Mostly true. They usually last between four and five days, unless the game being played happens to be the bastardized, one-day variety -- deplored by the, ahem, purists, who call it "pajama cricket" because the players wear brightly colored, Americanized uniforms, rather than standard whites -- which was on display during the recent World Cup.

It's a pretty simple game, really, but it seems complex at first. Similar to baseball, but different ...

To wit: Each team gets 10 outs instead of three. And your team bats until it makes its 10th out, then the other team gets its 10 outs.

Then they do it over again.

So, basically, a game (match) is, in baseball terms, two innings long ... but it usually takes at least four -- or the maximum of five -- days for those two innings to be completed.

This, in part, is because while they play roughly eight hours a day, they break in the morning for "drinks," then at midday for lunch, then two hours after that for -- of course -- "tea."

(In the one-day game, however, they speed everything up. Each team bats only once and instead of everything revolving around both teams getting 10 outs, well, they still get 10 outs but everything is predicated upon a set number of pitches. In other words, each team gets 300 pitches. You score as many runs as you can off your 300 -- or before you make your 10th out -- and then the other team does the same. And the team with the most runs, wins. They invented the one-day game because of the younger generation's short-attention span and the fact that in traditional cricket, you often play for five days only to have the match end in a draw! In the one-day game, there's always a winner and a loser. Makes for better TV.)

A guy bats for as long as it takes for him to make an out.

They bat in pairs, one batter at each end. When the guy hits the ball, he runs to the other end, changing places with his partner.

Each time they change places is one run.

They can change places as many times as they feel able to on a single hit. But they don't want to get caught between ends, or they could get thrown out (see below).

Having said all that, when a guy hits the ball over the boundary on the fly, it's an automatic six runs (so you half-heard the announcer right when you thought he said the score went from five to six. He probably said it "went for six," standard cricket jargon).

When he hits it over the boundary on the bounce, it's an automatic four runs.

Also, the batter doesn't have to try to hit every ball. But if he doesn't hit the ball and it hits the wicket behind him, he's out.

Otherwise, the only way he commonly can make an out are by hitting the ball and having it caught on the fly or by being run out -- that is, a fielder throws the ball at one of the wickets and knocks it off its stumps as the batter is between the two ends. It's sort of like getting caught between bases, only the fielder doesn't tag you out; he just has to knock the wicket down with his throw.

And, of course, whichever side (team) scores the most runs, wins.

This is a very simplified explanation. But it pretty much covers it.

You can file this under: Things I Really Don't Need to Know ;-)


(recovering sportswriter and probably the only American Deadhead who subscribes to the cricket channel on his satellite dish)

back to the story