A Beginner’s Guide To Cricket

cricket has built up something of a bad reputation for itself, so we need to tell them just why they’re sleeping on this much-loved but underrated sport.

cricket game

Over the years, cricket has built up something of a bad reputation for itself. Those who don’t like the sport will often ridicule it for being “boring” or “slow-paced”, which, to us, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what cricket really is. That’s why it’s important to disabuse people of this notion as soon as you can; if we love cricket and want others to love it too, then we need to tell them just why they’re sleeping on this much-loved but underrated sport. Here’s our beginner’s guide to getting into cricket.

The basics

First, it’s important to get a grasp on the basics if you want to fully understand cricket. It’s played in two teams of eleven, each of them taking it in turns to bat or field. When a team is batting, they need to hit the ball the bowler throws at them, then run towards the opposing wicket as many times as they can before the ball makes it back to the wickets. If you’re fielding, then the bowler bowls the ball, and the fielders attempt to catch it before it hits the ground after the batsperson has hit it. In this way, cricket is quite similar to other bat-based sports like rounders or baseball.

The leagues

There are many leagues around the world, most of them concentrated in countries where cricket is popular. If you want to become a cricket fan and watch the sport being played, it’s important to familiarise yourself with those leagues. You can do that by reading analyses, like the excellent Betway interview with Kevin Pietersen, in which he discusses his predictions for the upcoming 2022 IPL playoffs. Pietersen’s expertise, and the expertise of players who are as experienced as him, will be invaluable when you’re learning the ropes of international cricket structure.

The equipment

It’s a little more difficult to play cricket on a local level than it would be for, say, football, because more equipment is needed. You’ll need to get yourself stumps and wickets, as well as cricket bats and balls. You’ll also need a reasonably-sized pitch to play on. However, once you’ve got those things, you can successfully set up your first game of cricket, and you can usually find reasonable cricket equipment without breaking the bank, too, so don’t despair!

The international tournaments

It’s not just about the local cricket leagues. Cricket fans will tell you that some of the most important and exciting games in the sport are played at the international level. Here’s a fun fact: did you know that until the early 21st century, there wasn’t really much of an international cricket structure? Now, however, the ICC (International Cricket Council) serves as the governing body for tournaments like the Cricket World Cup, which you should definitely be watching if you want to see what cricket looks like when it’s played at the highest level.

The best international teams

Every sport has international teams that are more highly-respected around the world than others. Whether it’s New Zealand in rugby, Brazil in football, or the USA in baseball, international sporting sides are not created equal. The same goes for cricket; you’ll usually hear about India, England, Australia, Pakistan, and South Africa, for example, and teams like Bangladesh and Pakistan are also extremely important for the structure of international cricket. It pays to familiarise yourself with these teams if you want to learn as much as you can about cricket.

The scoring

Many people who don’t watch much cricket claim that the scoring method is somewhat arcane. This couldn’t be further from the truth; it’s actually very easy to score cricket. The batsperson must score runs, which they can do by hitting the ball as far into the stands as possible. If the batsperson hits the ball across the external boundary, they automatically score four points, and if they hit it into the stands without it touching the boundary, they will score six. Fielders, meanwhile, score points by getting batspeople “out”, namely by hitting the wicket when bowling or by catching the ball in flight.

The different types of game

Unlike many other sports, cricket is actually played in several different ways on an international level. Test cricket is played across five days and contains four innings (two for each team). The team with the most runs after all four innings are over is victorious. ODI, or One Day International, is, as you might expect, played over a single day, and there’s only a single innings per team in this game style. Finally, there’s Twenty20, which was created in order to make cricket a little more accessible. It’s a shorter game style in which each team plays only 20 overs per inning instead of the 50 played in ODI.

The victory conditions

There are different conditions that players want to achieve when they play cricket. First and foremost, the fielding team wants to get 10 of the opposing team’s 11 batspeople out, because if they do this then the innings is over. Batspeople, then, want to get as many runs as possible, because getting more runs than the opposing team wins the game. There are also a number of ways to get opposing batspeople “out”, including LBW (leg before wicket), stumping, and other methods. It isn’t too difficult to understand all the different ways of achieving victory in cricket, but the rules can seem a little obscure if you haven’t spent much time watching the sport.

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