On Sunday I went to the cricket. It was the first outdoor professional sporting event I'd ever been to.
Since marrying J I've slowly been learning the rules of cricket. I learnt what the score means (the number of people out and the number of runs scored so far), what an over is (six bowls of the ball) and why some bowlers have a run-up and others don't (fast versus spin bowlers). But I've never been really interested in watching the cricket on TV for more than a few minutes so I was a little apprehensive about going to a live game for 6+ hours. I didn't really know much about how it all worked.
So here are some of the quirks of cricket from a relative newbie to the game.
The bowler would die if he had to bowl consecutive overs (more than six bowls). J's words. Bowling is hard work.
In getting the ball back to the bowler everyone on the team (okay, maybe not the outfielders) *must* touch the ball. This means it is thrown around to all the fielders (perhaps for catching and throwing practice?). Sometimes even the umpire is included in this fun!
It doesn't matter if you don't hit the ball, you can still run. Here I was thinking that hitting the ball was the whole point.
Australians drink a lot of beer. I should have known this already.
Only the batter who hit the ball gets to count the runs against his name. But the other batter still has to run unless he wants to get run out.
There are certain times in the game when only a small number of fielders are allowed near the boundary. Everyone else has to stand nearer to the pitch in the "inner circle" (my words). This means that you're more likely to see bigger hits or more wickets. It's really just a rule to make the game more exciting. It's called a power play.
The crowd is rubbish at catching the ball. I guess that's why it's so exciting when it does happen. To be fair, the ball isn't hit into the crowd very often.
Left handers make things harder. (sorry everyone).
A Mexican wave is very hard to start. But when it gets going it's fun to watch it go all the way around the circular stadium. Sometimes it goes around more than once, or even twice. Hitting a six effectively stops a Mexican wave.
Sometimes the wicket keeper doesn't wear his helmet. Instead he sits it on the ground about five metres behind him. (This happens when the bowler is a fast bowler and the wicket keeper stands a very long way behind the wicket, for obvious reasons).
The wicket keeper does literally 300 squats a match. Imagine how strong his legs must be.
When a fielder catches someone out his whole team will run to him from all over the field for a big group hug. I love this camaraderie.
Don't look at the light.
The third umpire is the slow-mo technology. (J told me later that there is actually a person behind this technology, a real third umpire who makes a decision based on the slow-mo. It was more fun thinking that the actual tech was the third umpire.)
The human body is amazing. We can throw a ball at 148 km an hour! (Well perhaps not all of us.)
To play (international/professional) cricket you have to know how to slide on grass, roll for a catch, hit the ball while spinning around, catch and throw the ball while running, and throw really, really, ridiculously long.
I think I like cricket now.
*I did already know some of these things from J's previous lessons.