Cricket is a sport that originated in England and has developed to be one of the most popular sports in the world.
It is played between two teams of eleven players. One side bats first, each batsman taking it in turns to visit the pitch, attempting to score as many runs as possible from the bowling of the other side. There are always two batsmen present on the pitch.
A run is scored when the batsman at the striker’s end hits the ball that is bowled at him far enough to allow him and his partner to run to each other’s end before the fielding team can gather and return the ball.
This continues until the batsmen is “out”, which can occur in a number of ways. When the ball is bowled at him from the other end of the pitch, he is guarding a wicket, which comprises of three parallel sticks driven in to the ground.
If the ball hits the wicket the batsman is out. Other ways he could be out: hitting the ball in the air so that it is caught without bouncing by one of the fielding side, allowing the ball to hit his legs when it would otherwise have hit the wicket (“LBW or leg before wicket), having the ball returned to hit his wicket while attempting to make a run before he reaches the other end of the pitch (run out).
At the highest levels, cricket is played by highly skilled professionals to packed stadiums of fanatical followers.
Bats are made from finely crafted blocks of willow and the balls are made from compressed cork covered by a leather stitched skin.
The balls are very hard and top bowlers can achieve speeds of over 90 miles per hour, which is amazing when you consider that bowlers are not allowed to bend their bowling arm. As such, protective equipment such as hard hats, leg guards and a “box” (protecting the sensitive body area) are essential.
Cricket is a fantastic sport which can be played informally in a recreational area or competitively in leagues. It is an excellent vehicle for developing the moral fiber and character of youngsters as always in cricket the emphasis is on gentlemanly conduct and fair play.
Cricket has an image of a sedate knock about in the park but in truth the fat burning potential is good, using up to 400 calories per hour. It is an interesting and fascinating alternative to baseball.