I was asked by my dad to throw a shout out to my readers in England!!! SUP!!!!!! Thanks for the support. I was also told I'd be supported even more if I mentioned England beating Australia in cricket for the "Ashes". The Ashes are a match played every two years betwooen England and the "Aussies". Yep, I had to look that up. I've never watched cricket nor understand the rules. What I do know is that the Ashes Urn has returned to England for the first time in 16 years...and is cause for celebration. I've read about songs being sung to Aussies like "You all live in a convict colony"....sung to the tune of "Yellow Submarine".
But, I still have no idea what cricket is. I mean, I guess it's kinda sorta maybe like baseball....but not. I've seen terms like "the Oval"..."bowler"..."wickets"...etc. Of course, I'm sure them reading about baseball or football takes on my blog make equal amounts of sense.
And that made me wonder...does anyone in America play cricket?
Um. Yes. You can go to the USACA website at United States of America Cricket Association. The major cricket centers are in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Chicago and Texas...and most players are of South Asian or Jamican decent.
Sporting goods legent Alfred G. Spaulding said "Cricket would never do for Americans; it is too slow. It takes two and sometimes three days to complete a first-class cricket match; but two hours of baseball is quite sufficient to exhaust both play, players and spectators."
So...what is cricket??
[From ESPN.com] Cricket matches are divided into two types, ODIs and test matches. ODI sounds like the name of Garfield's sidekick, but is an acronym for One Day Internationals. These matches are fast pacedand last exactly as described. Test matches are longer and tend to stretch three to five days. Times to start and end are decided ahead of time. Breaks are taken for tea and lunch.
The cricket ball is like a baseball, but connected by thick glossed red leather on both ends like a hemispheric wrap. It feels much harder. It is played on a circular field. The action takes place in a rectangular area in the middle called a pitch, which has a wicket at each end. The wicket resembles a devil's pitchfork and consists of three wooden stumps hammered into the ground with two crosspieces called bails connecting them.
A coin is flipped to decide who bats and fields. Cricket consists of 11 players on each side. Two batsmen always stand at opposite wickets like a tag-team duo. Pitchers are called bowlers. They stand at the other end and throw the ball on a bounce to the batsman. After a bowler throws six pitches (called an over), a new bowler comes in to pitch to the other batsman. Players who both bat and bowl are called all-rounders. Cricket batters maintain a variety of swinging techniques, from drives to backsweeps to hooks. Footwork is pivotal. The entire field is at the batsman disposal. To score a run, batters must run safely from one wicket to the other.
If the ball is hit past the outer boundary line on a bounce or rolls over, it's four runs. If a ball clears the boundary in the air, the batter is awarded a six, equivalent to a home run without the Sammy Sosa theatrical trot.
One-hundred runs is dubbed a century, a remarkable feat. Statistical analysis in cricket would make the faintest of number crunchers blush. Bill James' "Baseball Abstract" would be a mere pamphlet compared to the amount of formulas cricket statisticians use to measure performance. Did you know that Courtney Walsh of the West Indies holds the record for ducks (0 runs) in a test series with 43 in 185 innings or that Kapil Dev had a 3.71 bowling economy rate in ODIs throughout his career?
Fast pitchers such as Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar can throw a missile off the ground at more than 100 mph. With their magical ability to dazzle the eye, spinners twist and contort balls in unbelievable variations.
Fielders are placed at different locations and are dubbed gullies and slips. A wicket keeper is equivalent to a catcher. Jason Varitek has trouble handling Tim Wakefield's knuckleball, but it's even harder to imagine him handling a Muttiah Muralitharan doosra.
When a batsman gets out, he "loses a wicket." Wickets occur in numerous ways, from a bowler's breaking the wooden wicket on a pitch, by a barehanded catch, on a run out, or by the infamous "lbw" (leg before wicket), an offsides call an umpire makes when the batsman steps in front of the ball interfering it from hitting a wicket. Teams famously ask aloud "howzat" to question the umpire. However, no matter what the umpire's decision, players respect the call.
So congrats to England on the big win!!!! Celebrate like we all know you guys can!!!