Look at that smile! That big fat giddy smile!
That’s the same moronic expression I’ve had on my chubby cheeks since Sri Lanka won the T20 Cricket World cup a month ago.
Yes, a full month has passed but still the occasional involuntary outbursts of “Go Lions!!!” tend to spurt out of me at the worst of times (Note to self: stay away from libraries and funerals for a while…).
Some of you were rather direct in asking me to write this post; others were more subtle… “I heard you guys won something, but sadly I don’t know much about the sport.. sigh (hint hint!)”.
So this is me introducing this wonderful sport of cricket (to some of you) and at the same time teaching some new Sinhala words (to all of you)…
First of all, I’ll ease up on the “Go Lions!” comments…
I’ll try to keep this post country-neutral as I don’t want to annoy any of you patriotic cricket fans out there. Already, a post on cricket is not going to be for everyone. No need to alienate more people.
Here’s how I approached this blog post:
While living in Europe, especially during the last 6 years or so, whenever Sri Lanka came into the finals of a world cup (an amazing FIVE times!!!… Stop it Dilshan, you promised) I watched these matches with some of my European friends who had no clue about this sport.
So my approach for this post was simple: I remembered how I explained the bare minimum of cricket so that they could follow and enjoy the game with me (and obviously, so that they stop bothering me with questions every 5 minutes!).
I hope you’ll understand it as well as they did… And trust me, if they could get it, so can you :-)
Here’s the structure:
Let’s get started with some basics in Section 1 then…
The Basics of Cricket That You’ll First Need To Know
1.1 What kind of field is Cricket played on?
- Cricket is a team sport played on a large oval shaped grass field (usually called a “Cricket Ground”)
- At the center of the field, there is a rectangular hard-surfaced area with shorter grass called the “Pitch”.
- This is where most of the action takes place
- On both ends of the pitch, you have 3 wooden stumps called “Wickets”.
- The outside border of the field is called the “Boundary”
- You’ll soon see that this plays an important part when it comes to scoring
Related Sinhala Words:
|Cricket Ground||grawund (“ground”) é∙kȧ|
|Pitch||pich (“pitch”) é∙kȧ|
|Wicket||wi∙kȧt (“wicket”) é∙kȧ|
|Boundary||bawun∙dȧ∙ri (“boundary”) é∙kȧ|
1.2 How is it played?
- There are 2 teams with 11 players on each side
- Each team will take turns to “bat” (hit a ball) using a wooden bat and score points
- The other team will “bowl” a hard ball made of cork and leather to the player with the bat
Related Sinhala Words:
|Bat||bæt (“bat”) é∙kȧ|
1.3 What the hell’s a “Batsman”, “Bowler”, & “Fielder”?
There are many positions & roles that cricket players take during a match. However, the following are the only important ones you’ll need to know to be able to follow a match.
- “Batsman”: The player holding the bat, awaiting the delivery of the ball to hit it. At any given time you’ll see two batsmen at each wicket (one will be facing the delivery of the ball)
- “Bowler”: The player delivering (“bowling”) the ball to the batsman
- “Fielder”: One of the 10 remaining players on the same side as the bowler, who tries to stop (“field”) the ball. They are strategically placed around the cricket ground
- “Wicket Keeper”: Technically a fielder but with an important position right behind the batsman and the wicket
- “Umpire”: The match official making rulings on the field. On field there’ll always be two of them
Related Sinhala Words:
|Wicket Keeper||kee∙pȧ (“keeper”)|
Step-by-Step Walkthrough of a Cricket Match
2.1 Deciding who bats first:
- First, there is a Coin Toss between the 2 teams (let’s call them Team A and Team B) to decide who bats or bowls first
- The decision usually depends on the type of pitch, the weather, and the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses
- Let’s assume that Team A wins the coin toss and decides to “bat” first
2.1 Start of Play:
- Team A will then send in 2 “batsmen” (remember, there are always 2 batsmen at a time),
- Team B will send in their entire team of 11 players.
- One of them will be the “bowler”;
- One of them the “wicket-keeper”, and
- The other 9 will be strategically placed around the grounds (the “fielders”).
- A bowler can consecutively bowl 6 balls at a time; after that a different player needs to bowl the next 6 balls.
- A set of 6 balls is called an “over”. Depending on the format of the game (see box below) a team will bowl a specified number of overs:
In this example, I’ll be describing T20 cricket.
2.3 Scoring in cricket:
- When the ball is bowled to the batsman, he attempts to strike it to an area in the grounds that is vacant from a fielder.
- To score points in cricket (called “runs”), the batsmen need to run past each other to the opposite ends of the pitch.
- If they run once, then 1 run is scored (2 if they ran twice, etc) – I’ll soon explain what determines how many times they run.
- If the batsman gets the ball past the fielders and the ball reaches the edge of the ground (the “boundary”), the team scores 4 runs
- Similarly, if the ball is hit over the fielders and lands beyond the boundary, the team scores 6 runs (these are the most exciting to watch!)
- And of course, if they don’t run, nothing is added to the score and the bowler gets ready to bowl the next ball
2.4 Dismissing a batsman:
- When the batsmen are running, if the ball is returned to a wicket before one of them reaches the said wicket, the batsman is dismissed and can’t bat anymore (the batsman is considered “out”).
- This is why, depending on how quickly the fielder stops and returns the ball, the batsman will decide if they take 1, 2, or 3 runs. If they misjudge it, one of them could get “out”.
- There are a number of ways the bowling side can get a batsman out. See box below for the most common:
- When a batsman gets out, he’ll leave the ground and a new one comes in to replace him.
2.5 Reaching the half-way point of the match:
- The half-way point is when either the 10th batsman of Team A is out or the allocated number of overs – in this case 20 – are up (whichever comes first).
- The total runs that the team has scored will be the target score to win
2.6 How is the game won?
- Team B will now send in 2 batsmen.
- Team B will try to win by:
- Trying to score the targeted runs within the allocated 20 overs
- On the other hand, Team A will try to win by either:
- getting all of Team B’s batsmen out before the target score is reached; or
- by bowling and fielding so well (and thereby restricting the number of runs) that Team B is unable to reach the target score within the allocated overs
And that’s it!
Related Sinhala Words:
|“Over”||ō∙vȧr (“over”) é∙kȧ|
There you go… I honestly think that this is all you need to know to enjoy watching cricket.
In case you’ve got any questions about cricket or the new Sinhala words you learned today, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.
And in case you want to know where I get all my news updates concerning Sri Lankan cricket… I’d be happy to share it with you:
Your one stop shop for all things Sri Lankan cricket
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So don’t take my word for it, see for yourself by clicking below (and you can thank me later).
(Note: This is not an affiliate link and I don’t get any compensation from it. Just recommending a damn good website to you nice people).
Oh, and before I leave…