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Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint)




Cricket explained from an American Viewpoint - PART 1

I'll take a stab at this.  As an  American,  perhaps  I  can
explain in a way more easy to understand to fellow Yanks.

In a cricket match, there are two sides with eleven  players
each.   There  are  two  main  varieties of cricket, regular
cricket and "one-day" cricket.  One day cricket is a  recent
invention and I'll talk about it separately later.

The length of a cricket match can be  whatever.   Generally,
the  more  important  the  match,  the  longer.  The longest
matches are the international ones, where one  country  pits
11  players  against  another  country.   These  matches are
called "tests" and last five days.  They usually play  eight
to  ten  hours a day, so it's quite a long game.  Scoring is
in "runs" like baseball but at a much  higher  rate.   In  a
test  match  it's  quite  common for each side to score over
five hundred (!) runs.

In a cricket match each side (teams are called  "sides")  is
up  twice.   The  first team bats, the second team bats, the
first team bats, the second team bats,  and  whaddaya  know,
it's five days later.  Whoever scores the most runs wins, of
course.  What baseball calls a "half-inning," cricket  calls
"innings."  So  the first team has its "first innings," then
the second team (whoops! side) has its "first innings",  the
each side has its "second innings."

This is what happens when a side has its innings:  they send
up  their  first  *two* in their batting order.  In cricket,
two "batsmen" are up at a time, not one.  They bat  and  bat
and  bat  and  bat  until  one of them is out.  Then he sits
down, and the third man in the  order  replaces  him.   Then
those  two  bat  and  bat  and bat until one of them is out.
Then that person is replaced by the  fourth  person  in  the
order,  and so on.  This goes on until ten of the eleven are
out.  Then the innings are over,  because  the  last  person
cannot bat alone, you need two to bat in cricket.  After ten
people are out, the other team has their innings.

Cricket in played with the batsmen in the middle of an  oval
shaped  field (the "cricket ground").  There is no foul ter-
ritory in cricket.  You can hit the ball in  any  direction,
including  directly  behind  you.   Cricket bats have a flat
edge (well, it's slightly rounded) so that the  batsman  can
direct  the  ball  in  a  preferred  direction.   Batting in
cricket is way more involved than in  baseball.   There  are
several  different "strokes" (not "swings"), and batsmen are
often known for being good at particular  ones  rather  than
others.   Cricket  is the game that gave us the saying "dif-
ferent strokes for different blokes" (true!).

So how do two guys bat?   OK.   In  cricket,  there  are  no
bases.   Each  batsman  is  standing at either end of a rec-
tangular area in the middle of the cricket ground,  kind  of
long  and  thin  like  a  bowling alley (not *that* long and
thin).  Here's where the real cricketers  will  get  me:   I
think  the  central  area,  which  is called the "pitch", is
about 66 ft. long and 10 ft. wide.

Batting is like this:  one batsman receives the  ball  (I'll
say  how very shortly) and hits the ball in any direction to
the outer part of the cricket ground.  While  the  fieldsmen
are  chasing  the  ball  and  trying to throw it back to the
center, the two batsmen *change places*.   This  scores  one
run.   If  they  have  time, they change places again.  That
scores another run.  If they have time, they  change  places
again, etc.

    --------------------------
    |                        |
  B1|                        |B2
    |                        |
    --------------------------

In the above diagram, the rectangle is the pitch and B1  and
B2  are the batsmen.  Say B2 hits the ball.  While it's away
from the center, B1 and B2 run and  change  places  as  many
times as possible.  Each time they do, they score one run.

The outer edge of the cricket ground is marked with a  rope.
This  is  called  the  "boundary."  If a hit ball touches or
goes over this rope to the  outside,  it  scores  four  runs
automatically  without the batsmen having to run at all.  If
a batsman hits a fly ball that lands outside the rope,  that
scores  six  runs automatically.  These are known as "fours"
and "sixes" and also "boundaries." Incidentally, if the ball
is  hit  just  far  enough  for the batsmen to change places
once, scoring one run, this is called a "single."

In cricket, the pitchers are called "bowlers."  Here are the
main differences from baseball:

Bowlers cannot *throw* the ball.  They must  bowl  it.   The
crucial difference is:  when you throw a ball, at the end of
the motion you are straightening your elbow.  When you bowl,
your  elbow is straight almost the whole time (except at the
very beginning) so you're making this wide circular arc with
your arm.

You can bowl overarm or underarm, but 99.99% of the time the
ball is bowled overarm.

When you bowl the ball toward the batsman, it's OK  for  the
ball  to  bounce  off  the ground before it reaches him.  In
fact, 99.9% of the time, this is exactly what happens.

In cricket, unlike baseball, the bowler can take  a  running
start.   In fact, the "fast bowlers," as they're called, are
running at a flat-out sprint when  they  release  the  ball.
Where  are they?  They are on the opposite side of the pitch
from the batsman who is going to bat.   How  do  you  decide
which side of the pitch?  I'll explain that shortly.

    --------------------------
  B1|                        |
  BL|                        |B2 WK
    |                        |
    --------------------------

Here's the same picture from before, with  the  bowler  "BL"
drawn  in.  The batsman who's not batting is standing off to
the side, which is what really happens.  The bowler  has  to
release  the  ball before he crosses the line.  Remember the
bowler is not just standing there, he has run in  from  'way
outside your CRT :) I've just drawn him in where he approxi-
mately is when he releases the ball.  That guy  "WK"  behind
the  batsman is the wicketkeeper, the cricket version of the
catcher.  The  wicket  (more  on  what  that  is  later)  is
directly  behind the batsman, directly in front of the wick-
etkeeper, and actually there's one on each side.

So, we can see now what the team that's "out in  the  field"
is  doing.   One  guy's bowling, one's the wicketkeeper, the
other nine are standing  at  strategic  spots  all  the  way
around the cricket ground.

Wow!  I *think* I'm now ready to explain  how  the  game  is
played!  Wasn't it worth the wait?  Here goes:

In cricket, there are no balls and strikes.  Instead of try-
ing  to  "strike  out"  the batsman, the bowler is trying to
"take his wicket."  Instead of a strike  zone,  there  is  a
wooden  thing called a "wicket" directly behind the batsman.
It has three vertical pieces and  two  horizontal  ones  and
looks like this:

     -----
     | | |
     | | |
     | | |
     | | |
     | | |
     | | |

The vertical pieces are called "stumps" and the  crosspieces
"bails."   The whole thing is about two feet tall and maybe
nine or ten inches wide.  When you hit the wicket  with  the
ball  one or both of the crosspieces will fall off.  This is
central to getting a batsman out.

Pay attention, this is the crux of  the  matter  here:   the
bowler bowls the ball to the batsman in such a way as to try
to knock the wicket over.  The batsman isn't just trying  to
score runs, he's "defending his wicket."

Listen carefully, this  is  almost  always  the  point  that
drives  baseball  players  crazy:   when the batsmen hit the
ball in cricket, they DO NOT HAVE TO RUN!!!  If the  batsman
hits  the  ball  and  it only goes ten feet, and there is no
chance for him and his  "partner"  to  change  places,  they
don't.   They  just stand there.  At first, that sounds like
the weirdest thing, but you have to look at it in  the  con-
text  of  protecting  your  wicket.  If the bowler bowls the
ball really really well, it may be all the  batsman  can  do
but  protect the wicket.  Remember, in cricket you keep bat-
ting until you're out ("your wicket is taken")  so  this  is
vitally important!

Remember when I said in cricket the  batsmen  have  lots  of
different  strokes?   Well, they're classified as "defensive
strokes" and "offensive strokes."  The defensive strokes are
not  designed  to  score any runs, but rather to dribble the
ball away a few feet, protecting the wicket.

Now I have to explain about "overs."  Before I said I'd  get
around  to  telling  you  how  they know which side to throw
from.  This is  it.   A  cricket  innings  is  divided  into
"overs."  In  one over, a bowler delivers six balls from the
same side of the cricket pitch.  When this is done,  a  dif-
ferent  bowler  delivers  six  balls  from  the  other side.
That's the next over.  Then a different bowler  from  *that*
one  (might  be  the  first  bowler, but doesn't have to be)
bowls the next over from the first side again.

    --------------------------
    |                        |
  B1|                        |B2
BL1 |                        | BL2

    --------------------------

Are we clear?  In over #1, bowler 1 (BL1) bowls from left to
right  six times.  Then, in over #2, BL2 bowls from right to
left six balls.  Then, in over #3, BL1  (or  somebody  else)
bowls from left to right six balls.  Who bowls is a strategy
thing.  The only catch is, one bowler can't bowl  one  over,
then  run  over  to  the  other side and bowl the next over.
Overs are also very important in  cricket  statistics  (like
baseball, cricket is statistics-laden).  You see things like
runs per over, etc.  Also they're used to time  things  "you
wouldn't  believe  what  happened  in the 37th over", you'll
hear people say.

Now if BL1 bowls the ball to batsman 2 (B2) and B2  gets  an
even number of runs (including 0) he will face the next ball
also.  But if B2 gets an odd number of runs, he and B1  will
be  on  the  opposite  sides  of  the  pitch from where they
started, so on the next ball, BL1 would actually be  bowling
to  B1.   If  B1  hit  an odd number of runs, but it was the
*last* ball of the over, he would again wind up  facing  the
next  ball, but on the other side of the pitch, and from the
bowler BL2.

There are several other ways  a  batsman  can  be  made  out
besides  having  the wicket knocked over by the bowled ball.
Here are some of the more common ones:

If the batsman hits a fly ball and it is caught, he is  out,
just like in baseball.

If the ball hits the batsman's leg and an  umpire  rules  it
would  have hit the wicket if the leg hadn't been there, the
batsman is out because he must "defend his wicket" only with
his  bat,  not  with  his  leg.   This is called "lbw" which
stands for "leg before wicket."

The batsmen are only "safe" (the  cricket  term  is  "making
your  ground")  when  they are on the *outside* of the outer
lines which demarcate the pitch  (actually,  the  pitch  has
more  lines  than  I've  drawn, but it'll do for now).  When
either batsman is inside the lines,  such  as  when  they're
running to exchange places, they can be made out by knocking
over the wicket closest to them.  There  is  no  tagging  in
cricket.

Also, when the batsman makes  a  stroke,  his  momentum  may
carry him inside the line.  If he's missed the ball, but the
ball hasn't hit the wicket, the wicketkeeper may have caught
it.   In this case, the wicketkeeper can get the batsman out
by knocking over the wicket (the  wicketkeeper  is  standing
directly  behind  the  wicket,  which is directly behind the
batsman) before the batsman can get back across the line.

Here's some odds and ends:  the wicketkeeper wears a leather
glove on *each* hand.  The fieldsmen do not wear any sort of
glove.  When the batsmen run in  cricket,  they  take  their
bats  with  them.  To "make their ground" (be in safe terri-
tory) it is not necessary for them to physically  cross  the
line,  all  they have to do is touch safe territory with the
tip of their bat.  In fact, when batsman score more than one
run  at  a time in cricket, you'll see them run to the other
side, stop before they get to the line, touch their bat just
over the line, and then turn and run back.

Review :-)
Cricket is played by two sides of 11.
Each side is up twice.
The first side is up, they send two guys to the field.
The two batsmen stand  at  either  end  of  the  rectangular
pitch.
The bowler delivers the first ball of the first over.
The batsman tries to hit the ball and/or defend his wicket.
He hits the ball in any direction in  an  oval-shaped  field
with a relatively flat-bladed bat.
If he hits the ball, he does not have to run.
If he hits the ball a little,  he  and  his  partner  change
places.
If he hits it far enough, he may get a "boundary."
If he gets out (wicket knocked over, fly ball caught,  etc.)
he  leaves  the field and is replaced by the next guy in the
batting order.
But the two men keep batting until one of them is out.
When ten men are out, the innings is over and the other team
is up.
When each team has been up twice, the game is over.
If it's a test match, five days have elapsed.
The team with the most runs wins.
As in baseball, if  the  last  team  is  having  their  last
innings  ("bottom  of the ninth") and they surpass the other
team's run count, the game ends immediately at that point.

One new piece of terminology:  two batsmen are up at a  time
in cricket.  The one who is actually facing the next ball is
called the  "striker."   He  is  also  known  as  being  "on
strike."

A piece of cricket strategy: recall that the striker is  out
"lbw"  if  the  ball  hits  his leg, and the umpire rules it
would have hit the wicket if  the  leg  hadn't  been  there.
Well,  the  bowler is well aware of this fact.  A large part
of the bowler's strategy is to try and spin the ball  around
the striker's bat and into the wicket.  But you also need to
know that a large part of the bowler's strategy is  also  to
try  and spin the ball around the striker's bat and into his
leg!  When a batsman is given out lbw you'll often hear that
he was "trapped lbw".  This is an acknowledgment of the fact
that the bowler did it on purpose.

Also the "on" side in cricket is also called the "leg" side.
And yet another thing I forgot:  how international teams are
chosen.   Each  of the cricket-playing nations (I'll mention
these in the next post) has a national board  known  as  the
"selectors"  who  choose  who will represent that country in
the  next  international  match.    Remember,   there's   no
substitution in cricket except in certain cases of injuries.
So the selectors decide who exactly will play.  From what  I
have  personally  seen,  I  think  the  selectors  take more
collective shit than anyone  else  connected  with  cricket.
You haven't heard anything until you hear a few cricket fans
start talking about their nation's selectors.

OK, new stuff:
I already told you  that  the  length  of  a  cricket  match
varies.  How it works is:  the length of the match is agreed
upon before the match starts.  For example, in a test match,
the  agreed-upon  time is five days.  When the five days are
up, the match is over.  So, while there is no rigid  "clock"
as in American football, cricket matches do have an implicit
time limit.

If a cricket match is not completely finished when time runs
out,  the  match is a draw, no matter how lopsided the score
may be.  This has strategic consequences.   Supposing  in  a
test  match the first side has their first innings, and they
are so good they bat and bat and bat and bat for five  days,
they've  scored  over  a  thousand  runs  and the other side
hasn't batted yet.  Guess what!  The  game's  a  draw!   You
didn't win!

Well,  cricket  has  a  way   around   this,   it's   called
"declaring."  At  any  time  the captain of the team that is
batting may "declare" that  their  innings  are  over,  even
though  maybe  they  are  only  in the middle of the batting
order.  The team immediately takes the field, and the  other
team has their innings.

So, suppose you're the captain of the first side to bat in a
test  match.  Your team bats and bats and bats for the first
two days, and you've only had six wickets taken.  You  could
keep  batting  until  your other four wickets are taken, but
you're worried that the game won't finish in five days.  For
the  game  to  finish,  of  course, you have to take all ten
wickets of the opposing  side  *twice*.   So,  you  declare.
This  gets  you immediately to work on the job of taking the
other side's wickets.

Other  cricket   matches,   below   the   skill   level   of
international  cricket,  are  allocated  less time than five
days.  This is because as the skill  level  goes  down,  the
batsmen  aren't  as good and it's easier to get them out, so
the whole thing takes less time.

Oh, by the way...suppose during a cricket match it starts to
rain and play stops waiting for the rain to stop.  Supposing
during  a  test  match  it  rains  for  two  days  straight.
Surprise!   The time is NOT MADE UP!  Only got three days to
play a five- day match?  Better hurry!

Are we having fun yet?  Time to  move  on  to  the  exciting
topic  of  "extras," also known as "sundries."  In baseball,
not every pitch goes perfectly.   There  are  wild  pitches,
passed  balls,  balks,  etc.  Weird things happen in cricket
too, and collectively they are called  "extras."   The  main
ones are "no balls", "wides", "byes", and "leg-byes."

A  "no  ball"  results  when  the  bowler  bowls  the   ball
illegally.    There  are  several  possibilites  here.   For
example, if the bowler throws the ball, rather than  bowling
it,  that  is  a  "no  ball."   A  "wide" is another type of
illegal ball, one that is bowled so far wide of the  batsman
that the umpire feels it is unreachable.

The penalty is the same in either case.  The batting team is
awarded  one  run,  and the illegal ball is *not counted* as
part of the over.  OK?  An over is six  balls.   The  bowler
bowls three times.  There's three left in the over.  Then he
bowls a wide or a no-ball.  There's *still* three balls left
in the over.

Now in cricket statistics (which  I'll  have  a  section  on
later)  the  runs for each time are tallied next to the name
of the batsman who scored them.  But runs accrued by no-ball
or  wide are tallied in a separate column labelled "extras",
the point being no batsman gets  credit  for  having  scored
them.

A "bye" in cricket is just like a passed ball  in  baseball.
The  bowler  bowls the ball, it goes right past the striker,
doesn't hit the wicket, and the wicketkeeper fails  to  stop
the  ball  and  it  goes way out into the field.  If the two
batsmen think they can get away with  it,  they  will  start
running  and score runs.  These runs are tallied as "extras"
although they are not "penalty" runs as  in  wides  and  no-
balls.

A "leg-bye" is the same as a bye, except  the  ball  bounces
off the batsman's body somewhere.  You remember from before,
if the ball hits the batsman's leg and the umpire  feels  it
would  have  hit the wicket, the batsman is out lbw.  But if
the umpire doesn't think it would have hit the  wicket,  and
the  ball  bounces  out into the field, the batsmen can run.
However, this is  not  allowed  if  the  umpire  thinks  the
striker  stuck his body purposely in the ball's way.  It has
to be an accident.

One last point on extras:  if the bowler delivers a wide  or
a  no-ball and the ball goes out into the field, the batsmen
can also run.  If they do, the runs scored  are  counted  as
extras.   But  if  they  run,  they  are not awarded the one
penalty run that they get if they just stand there.

Oh, here's something I should have mentioned earlier  but  I
forgot.   When  a  batsman  is  out  in  cricket,  he is not
*automatically* out.  Even if he hits an easy pop fly  which
is caught, even if his wicket is blown to smithereens by the
ball, the batsman is not out *yet*.  Someone on the fielding
team  has to ask an umpire "is this guy out?" and the umpire
will then call the guy out.  The  umpire  WILL  NOT  call  a
player   out  unless  he  is  asked  (the  cricket  term  is
"appealed") by the fielding team.

The actual phrase used to appeal to  the  umpire  is  "how's
that?" which is such a standard phrase you may as well write
it "howzat?" Since *all* outs must be preceded by  the  call
howzat,  one  thing you will sometimes see is a wicketkeeper
rather obnoxiously calling "how's that" to the umpire  after
virtually  every  delivery  of  the  ball  in which anything
remotely questionable happens.
The signal the umpire makes  to  signal  a  batsman  out  is
holding up one finger.

ONE DAY CRICKET

One day cricket has been around about twenty-five or  thirty
years,  I  have  been  told.   Apparently, ticket sales were
declining in international test matches.  People only wanted
to attend on the last day, they weren't happy sitting at the
cricket ground eight to ten hours and going home  having  no
idea  who  was  going  to  win the match.  So they came up a
one-day version of cricket,  which,  while  decried  by  the
purists,  is  nonetheless  today  a very popular form of the
game.

There are two major rule changes  in  one-day  cricket,  and
several  minor ones.  Major change #1:  each side is only up
once.  Major change #2:  each of  the  two  innings  of  the
match  has  a  set  maximum  number of overs.  It's as if in
baseball your team was told the pitcher was  only  going  to
pitch  a  maximum  of  15  balls to your team, regardless of
whether you'd had  three  out  or  not.   In  fact,  one-day
cricket is also commonly known as "limited-overs" cricket.
Typically in an international match each side is given fifty
overs.   Another rule change, each bowler can only bowl some
set maximum number of overs (typically ten).  To  understand
this,  recall that in cricket there is no substitution.  You
have to decide before the match who you're going to put  it.
Without  this  rule, in a one-day match you would be tempted
to send in two bowlers and nine hot bats.   But  if  no  one
person can bowl more than ten overs in a fifty-over innings,
your team must have  at  least  five  who  can  bowl.   This
restores some balance to the game.

There are also restrictions on the way you  can  place  your
fieldsmen in a one-day match, but that's beyond the scope of
this description.

I'm still leaving out descriptions of bowling and the  major
types  of strokes.  Should I try and do anything with these?
I mean, without pictures, I don't know how anyone can really
visualize what's going on.


OK, review from parts 1&2, this is a cricket ground:

                     *    *    *    *
                *                        *
            *                                *
        *                                       *
      *                                           *
     *                                              *
    *                   -----------                  *
    *                   -----------                  *
     *                                              *
      *                                            *
        *                                        *
           *                                 *
                *                        *
                     *    *    *    *

The cricket ground is oval shaped with  a  rectangular  area
called  the  "pitch" in the middle.  Here's a closer look at
the pitch:
                    ---------------------------
                  B2|                         |
                   ||                         |B1|WK
          L  E  R   |                         |
     O W            ---------------------------
   B

The "BOWLER" is running in from the left to deliver the ball
to  the  batsman  "B1."   Behind  B1  is "|" the wicket he's
defending.  Behind that is "WK" the  wicketkeeper.   On  the
other side of the pitch is "B2", the other batsman who's up.
Below B2 is "|" the other wicket.

The bowler bowls six balls to the batsman, and that's called
an  "over."  In my last post I mentioned a bowler can't bowl
two overs in a row, but I neglected to mention that you also
cannot change bowlers in the middle of an over.

Let me explain about player substitutions:  except in a  few
limited  circumstances  involving  injury to a player, there
are no substitutions in cricket.  The  same  eleven  players
bat  and  field  for  the  entire  match.   Bowlers  act  as
fieldsmen when they are not actually bowling.  When a bowler
is  not  good  with a bat, you put him at the bottom of your
batting order and hope for the best.  When  a  player  is  a
good  bowler  and  also a good batsman he is called an "all-
rounder".

Let me explain about the captain:  cricket teams don't  have
a  head  coach  or  manager  as  in  major  American sports.
Instead, one of the players is the "captain," also  commonly
called  the "skipper," and he does the things that a manager
would do such as setting  the  batting  order,  placing  the
fieldsmen, etc.

Having looked over my previous post, I think it's  now  time
to  mention  some  of  the major strategy points of cricket.
Cricket strategy is very intricate, but there are one or two
Very Big Considerations that should be brought out early.
The first Really Big Thing is  this  notion  "you  bat  'til
you're out." Let me make a baseball analogy.  Suppose you're
a baseball player and you're a very good hitter, like  Barry
Bonds.  You're so good your team expects you to get two hits
per game.  Suppose you're up in the  first  inning  and  you
strike  out.   Guess  what!  In baseball, that's OK!  You'll
have approximately four other chances in  the  game  to  get
your hits.  Cricket is *very* different.

Suppose you're a cricket player ("cricketer") and  you're  a
very  good batsman.  You're so good your side expects you to
score about 80 runs every time you're up.  Now  suppose  you
go up to bat for your team, and on the very first ball, your
wicket is knocked over.  Guess what!  You don't get  another
chance!  You're out!  You're finished!  You're done!  That's
it!  Your teammates will have to get those 80 runs for  you,
because you're not coming back!  True, your team will have a
second innings, but they're expecting you to score  80  runs
in those innings too.

The point is the cricket batsman's head  is  on  a  chopping
block  with  every  ball.  The most obvious manifestation of
this situation is that you will  see  many  batsmen  batting
conservatively   when   they   first   start   batting,  and
progressively get more aggresive as they  score  runs.   And
it's  why  there  can  be  a  lot of tension in the air of a
cricket match even when not much seems to  be  happening  to
the casual eye.

The situation between bowler and batsman has many  variables
not in baseball.  Let me start with the bowler.

The bowler takes a running  start.   He  can  run  from  any
direction,  at  any speed.  The fact that he's running as he
releases the ball not only adds to the speed  of  the  ball,
but  also  he can twist his whole body into the delivery and
put a really wicked spin on  the  ball.   You  know  how  in
baseball,  the  ball  is  replaced  every  time it's hit, or
there's any suspicion that it is not perfectly round?   Well
in cricket they use the same ball for a very long time.  The
old rule was you used the same ball for  the  entire  match,
but  that has been relaxed somewhat.  Still the ball is only
replaced about once a day or every other day, and as it gets
lumpier,  it  flies  and  bounces more and more irregularly.
And don't forget the bowler bowls the ball overhanded and it
bounces  off  the  ground.   The  ground  in a cricket pitch
should be smooth but of course  ground  isn't  perfect,  and
combined  with  the spin the bowler puts on the ball and the
fact that it's lumpy, it's an intriguing proposition  for  a
batsman.

There's a lot of different ways to place the fieldsmen in  a
round   field.   I  can't  describe  it  explicitly  without
pictures, but suffice it to  say  that  there  are  definite
positions  for fieldsmen in cricket, and when you place your
players, it's based on who's batting,  who's  bowling,  what
types  of balls you will bowl in this over, and based on all
that, and weather conditions etc., which way you  think  the
ball is likely to go when the batsman hits it.
Now the batsman also has  more  choices  than  the  baseball
batter.   As  in baseball, the batsman wants to hit the ball
where nobody  is  standing.   But  because  there  are  many
different cricket strokes, both offensive and defensive, the
bat has a flat  blade,  and  there  is  no  foul  territory,
there's just a lot more that a batsman can do.
Now,  suppose  two   batsmen   are   up   (it's   called   a
"partnership")  and one is a lot better than the other?  You
want the better batsman to face as many balls  as  possible.
Who  receives  the  next ball depends on what over is it and
whether you have hit an odd or even number of  runs  lately.
So,  if  you're  the better batsman and you're receiving the
ball, you want to hit an even number of runs.   Notice  that
if  you  get a boundary that's either 4 or 6 runs, both even
numbers.  If you're the weaker batsman you'll try to  hit  a
single  (which we recall is one run) so as to get the better
player to face the bowler.  On the last ball of an  over,  a
good  player  may  purposely try and hit a single so that he
will continue to face the ball when the next over starts.

I'm honestly not sure  if  it's  useful  at  this  point  to
enumerate  some  of  the  more  common  types  of  balls and
strokes.  I think I'll leave them  out  for  now.   But  you
should know the difference between the on and off sides.

             OFF SIDE (right handed batsman)
           ---------------------------
           |                         |
-----------|-------------------------|B1|WK--------
           |                         |
           ---------------------------
              ON SIDE (right handed batsman)

Suppose the batsman B1  in  the  above  picture  is  batting
right- handed.  The entire cricket ground is then divided by
an imaginary line (the long dotted line in the middle of the
drawing).  The batsman's strong side is called the "on" side
of the field.  The other side  is  called  the  "off"  side.
These  terms  are used in naming field positions (mid-on vs.
mid-off, for example) and in general  commentary  of  what's
going on in the match.


Cricket terminology:  you can win a cricket match by runs or
by  wickets.   It  happens  like  this.  Suppose you are the
second team to bat, and it's your second innings,  therefore
the  last  innings  of  the  match.   One  of two things can
happen:  your run total surpasses that of the other team, in
which  case  you win; or your tenth and last wicket is taken
and you still have less runs than the other team,  in  which
case you lose.

Suppose team A has scored 550 runs in its two innings.  Your
team  B  is batting its second innings.  Unfortunately, your
last wicket is taken when  you  only  have  530  runs.   The
expression  is  "team  A won by 20 runs" which is worded the
same as any baseball game (lot more runs, though).

The other situation is different.  Suppose you have 549 runs
and  your batsman hits a boundary 6 when you're only on your
seventh wicket.  The four runs added to your score give  you
555  runs, and the match ends immediately.  You win.  But it
is not common to say "you won  by  5  runs."   Instead,  the
correct  expression  is  "team  B  beat  team  A  by  *three
wickets*." I spend  all  this  time  explaining  this  point
because  it's an important example of cricket thinking:  you
had three more  wickets  with  which  to  keep  batting  and
scoring runs, but you didn't need them.

Here's a box score from a recent one-day match  between  the
West  Indies  and Pakistan that I got from cricinfo (thanks,
guys).  After the score I will give a translation.

===========================================================
West Indies
B.C. Lara        c Latif   b Mushtaq  14
D.L. Haynes      c Mushtaq b Akram    6
P.V. Simmons               b Rehman   81
K.L.T. Arthurton c Anwar   b Mushtaq  63
R.B. Richardson  c Malik   b Mushtaq  7
C.L. Hooper      c Mujtaba b Akram    18
J.C. Adams       not out              18
R. Harper                  b Akram    2
A.C. Cummins stumped Latif b Qadir    10
K.C.G. Benjamin            b Akram    4
C.A. Walsh       not out              2
Extras: (b3, lb10, nb2, w20)          35
Total: (nine wickets - 50 overs)      260

Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-57, 3-189, 4-201, 5-204,
                 6-222, 7-234, 8-251, 9-256

Bowling: Akram 10-1-40-4, Rehman 10-1-59-1,
         Mushtaq 10-1-46-3, Qadir 10-0-43-1,
         Malik 7-0-35-0, Mujtaba 3-0-14-0

Pakistan
Saeed Anwar      c Lara    b Hooper   131
Asif Mujtaba   c Arthurton b Cummins  15
Inzamam-ul-Haq   run out              20
Javed Miandad    c Adams   b Benjamin 20
Basit Ali        run out              16
Salim Malik      not out              34
Wasim Akram      not out              5
Extras: (b1, lb9, w9, nb1)            20
Total: (five wickets - 49 overs)      261

Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-86, 3-143, 4-186, 5-251

Did not bat: Rashid Latif, Mushtaq Ahmed, Abdul Qadir,
             Ata-ur-Rehman

Bowling: Walsh 10-1-39-0, Benjamin 10-1-54-1,
         Cummins 10-0-69-1, Simmons 2-0-10-0,
         Harper 8-0-36-0, Hooper 9-0-43-1

Result: Pakistan won by five wickets

Man of the match: Saeed Anwar

Umpires: David Shepherd/John Holder (England)
===========================================================

The first set of  statistics  for  each  time  concerns  its
batting  performance.   The  batsmen  are  listed  in  their
batting order.  The West Indies starts like this:

>   B.C. Lara
>   D.L. Haynes
>   P.V. Simmons
>   K.L.T. Arthurton
etc.

This means Lara and Haynes batted first.  One  of  them  got
out  and  was replaced by Simmons.  One of those two got out
and was replaced by Arthurton, etc.

For each batsman, is listed his name, how he  got  out,  and
how many runs he himself scored (like rbis).

>   B.C. Lara c Latif b Mushtaq           14

Lara scored 14 runs and hit a fly ball which was  caught  by
Latif.  The ball was bowled by Mushtaq.

>   P.V. Simmons b Rehman                 81

Simmons scored 81 runs (helluva score) and was  "bowled"  by
Rehman.  This means the ball knocked over the wicket.

>   A.C. Cummins stumped Latif b Qadir    10

Cummins scored 10 runs.  On  a  ball  bowled  by  Qadir,  he
stepped into "unsafe territory" (the cricket term is "he was
out of his ground")  and  while  he  was  there,  Latif  the
wicketkeeper knocked over his wicket with the ball.  This is
called being "out stumped."

>   Inzamam-ul-Haq run out                   20

Either Inzaman-ul-Haq or his partner hit the ball, and while
they  were running back and forth, scoring runs, Inzaman-ul-
Haq had his wicket knocked over by the ball before he  "made
his  ground"  (re-entered  safe  territory).  Inzaman-ul-Haq
scored 20 runs.

>   Salim Malik not out                      34

Malik scored 34 runs and was not  out.   There's  always  at
least  one  "not  out"  in  every  cricket innings.  When an
innings ends early because the match is  over  or  the  side
declares or whatever, there are two not out.

>   Extras: (b3, lb20, nb2, w10)          35

West Indies scored 35 runs that were classified as "extras."
3  were byes, 10 were leg-byes, 2 were no-balls, and 20 were
wides.

>   Total: (nine wickets - 50 overs)     260

West Indies scored 260  runs  total.   They  only  had  nine
wickets  taken  from  them  in  this time.  Since this was a
limited- overs game, their innings ended after  fifty  overs
even though they had one wicket left.

>   Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-57, 3-189, 4-201, 5-204,
>                    6-222, 7-234, 8-251, 9-256

In West Indies' innings, their first wicket was  taken  when
they had scored 26 runs.  Their second wicket was taken when
they had 57 runs.  Their third wicket was  taken  when  they
had 189 runs.  Etc.

>   Bowling: Akram 10-1-40-4, Rehman 10-1-59-1,
>            Mushtaq 10-1-46-3, Qadir 10-0-43-1,
>            Malik 7-0-35-0, Mujtaba 3-0-14-0

This are the Pakistani bowlers' stats for  the  West  Indian
innings.  Each bowler has four statistics, which are:

# overs bowled - # maidens - #  runs  allowed  -  #  wickets
taken

A "maiden" is an over in which the bowler does not allow any
runs.  So the first entry

>  Akram 10-1-40-4

means Akran bowled 10 overs, one of which was a maiden.   He
allowed  forty  runs  and  took  four  West  Indian wickets.

Note if you add up the first column for each bowler you  get
50,  the  total  number  of overs bowled.  If you add up the
last column you get 9, the total number  of  wickets  taken.
If you add up the third column, you get 237!  Whazzat?  West
Indies scored 260

You have to look in the extras category.   While  wides  and
no-balls are charged to a bowler, byes and leg-byes are not.
So, the total number of runs allowed by  the  bowlers,  plus
the number of byes and leg-byes, is equal to the total score
of the opposing side.

The rest of the Pakistani score is  the  same  as  the  West
Indian one.  Their total

>   Total: (five wickets - 49 overs)        261

>   Result: Pakistan won by five wickets

shows that Pakistan stopped batting in their 49th over  when
they  surpassed  West  Indies'  260 runs.  They won "by five
wickets" because they had five wickets left when  the  match
was over.  Of course, in this limited-overs match, they only
had part of one over left when the won the game, so it was a
very close match.

 Contributed by Jeff Tucker (jeff@ix.netcom.com)


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