The game of cricket originated in England. As you will learn in this issue, before the U.S. gained independence on July 4, 1776, our nation was ruled by England. America's “favorite pastime” baseball, was created from cricket. In fact, before baseball, there are records of President George Washington playing cricket. This sport has been around since before the 1300s. As the British traveled to other countries they brought the game with them. That is why it's so popular in places like India and Pakistan. If you like playing baseball or softball, you should give cricket a try.
There are two teams, with 11 members on each team. The goal of the game is to score the most runs, just as in baseball. The fielding team spreads out on the field to catch the ball and get the batsman, or batter, out.
In cricket, the batting is done in pairs. One player bats as the teammate runs. The bowler will bowl (pitch) the ball to the striker batsman, meaning the batter. The batter stands in front of the wicket as the pitcher throws the ball towards the batter's wicket. The non-striking batsman, meaning the runner, is by the opposite wicket ready to run. A wicket is made up of three vertical sticks Once the ball is hit, the two batsmen run in opposite directions toward the other wicket, meeting in the middle of the field. When the runner makes it back to the wicket he or she stood at originally, then a point is scored for the team. They could continue to do so until the ball comes near them. The bowler will attempt to hit the wicket while the batsmen are running, so the batsmen must be careful to stop running once the ball is near so as to guard the wicket.
If the bowler's ball rolls past the boundary of the cricket field, then the batman's team earns four points. If the ball is still in the air from being hit when the boundary line is passed, then the batman's team earns six points. When the pitcher or bowler throws the ball, if the pitcher hits the wicket, which is behind the batsman, then the batsman is out and doesn't get to bat again. If the batter hits the wicket while trying to hit the ball, then the batter is also out. And, if the team in the field catches the ball in the air, the batter is out.
The game continues until every member of the team is out. Then the batting team switches with the fielding team. Everyone has a chance to bat.
There are many similarities between cricket and baseball. In both games, teammates take turns batting, and as the other team bats, the opposing team is in the field trying to catch the batman's ball. Unlike baseball, cricket includes wickets, which adds a twist. Instead of bases, players run between the wickets, and instead of trying to tag the batsman at a base, players in the field are trying to hit the wicket to get the batsman out.
Next time you decide to go outside and throw the ball around with friends, give cricket a try. It's where America's favorite pastime originated, and it's a fun twist!