Let's Play Cricket!
Cricket is India's unofficial national sport. Professional players are revered by children and adults alike, and India is one of the host countries for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Cricket dates back to 16th century Great Britain and is mainly played in countries like India that were part of the British Empire. In India, many kids play an informal game called gully cricket that can be played in any street or field.
Although the game play and rules are very different, the basic concept of cricket is similar to that of baseball. Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team's innings.
After each team has batted an equal number of innings (either one or two, depending on conditions chosen before the game), the team with the most runs wins.
A formal game of cricket can last anywhere from an afternoon to several days!
Here's a basic explanation of how to play cricket:
There are two teams. The team bowling has 11 players on the field, an oval-shaped area with a long rectangular strip of ground down the middle called a pitch. The team batting always has two people on the field.
The Captain of the bowling team chooses a bowler from his team; the other 10 players are called fielders. The bowler is trying to aim the ball at a wicket, which is made up of three sticks (called stumps) stuck into the earth, with two small sticks (called bails) balanced on them. One of the fielders, called the wicket keeper, stands behind the wicket to catch the ball if the bowler misses the wicket. The other fielders chase the ball after the batter has hit it.
The bowler throws (bowls) the ball overarm six times, which is called an over; then another player becomes the bowler for the next over, and bowls from the other end, and so on. The same bowler cannot bowl two overs one after the other.
The batter is trying to defend the wicket with his bat. When he hits the ball with his bat, he runs toward the other wicket that the bowler or the other batsman is standing at. To score a run, the two batsmen must both run from their wicket to the other wicket, as many times as they can. If the ball leaves the field after being hit without bouncing, six runs are scored. If the ball rolls or bounces out, whether or not the batter hit it, it counts as four runs.
There are different ways that a batsman can get out. The most common ways are:
- The batsman misses the ball and it hits the wicket (called Bowled)
- The ball hits the batsman's body and it would have hit the wicket otherwise (called Leg Before Wicket, but it need not be his leg that stops the ball)
- A fielder catches the ball after the batsman hits it, and before it bounces or leaves the field (called Caught)
- A fielder can throw the ball at the wicket, or to the wicket keeper or bowler. They can try to hit the wicket while the batsmen are running. If unable to finish the run, the batsman nearer to the wicket that is hit is out (called Run Out)