The ICC Cricket World Cup arrives in the UK this month, to the delight of cricket fans around the world. However, do you like cricket or even know what it is? To be truthful, many English people aren’t so sure. But don’t worry, you’re in luck. The men’s Cricket World Cup takes place in England this summer so now’s the time to start learning. Get to know your yorkers from your full tosses and you’ll soon be bowling googlies.
So, what exactly does happen on a cricket pitch? It might seem slightly absurd to outsiders, but cricket is actually one of the most sophisticated games ever invented. It’s baseball meets backgammon. Which makes it sound complicated, but it isn’t – honest! The premise is simple and North Americans and Japanese who follow baseball will understand the basics. One team throws a ball (known as bowling) and the other team tries to hit it with a bat (that’s called batting).
If they do hit it they can score runs and the team that scores the most wins. See… simple! Batting teams score by hitting the ball over the field’s boundary or by running between the wooden stumps (wickets) in the middle of the field. The bowling team tries to stop them scoring and also tries to get the batsmen ‘out’. Are you following?
There are 10 ways batsmen can be out, some of them so obscure they have only happened once or twice in the game’s history. Most likely a batsman will be out when the ball hits his stumps, hits his legs when it would have hit his stumps, or the ball is caught by a fielder without it bouncing after the batsman has hit it. Batsmen can also be ‘run out’ if they attempt a run but don’t get to the line (called the crease) near the stumps before the fielders get the ball there (similar to baseball when a batter doesn’t reach base).
If a batsman is out having scored no runs, he’s said to have scored a ‘duck’. But if he gets 100, he has scored a ‘century’ and everybody, including opposing players, will applaud. This sportsmanship is part of what’s known as ‘the spirit of cricket’, a revered aspect of the sport which old-timers say has been lost (it hasn’t).
The classic example is a batsman leaving the field because he knows he’s out even if the umpire disagrees. Bowlers have an arsenal of different ways to flummox batsmen. When the ball is shiny and new they bowl at frighteningly high speed. When the ball is slightly scuffed the bowlers try to keep one side polished and the other side rough so it swings in the air. And when the ball is old and misshapen, slow bowlers spin it so it bounces off the ground at bamboozling angles. Fans claim cricket is a thinking person’s game, and if you’ve ever seen a wily bowler confounding a clever batsman then you might be inclined to agree.
So, if you’re already a die-hard fan, looking for accommodation during the ICC Cricket World Cup then look no further than Strand Palace. Both Oval and Lords cricket grounds are easily accessible from our central London location. Book your stay today.
To read the full article, visit us at Strand Palace and ask for a copy of Palace Papers!