The game of cricket is played on a field between two teams, each with eleven players. Teams take turns batting and bowling where they try to score as many runs as possible or to bowl the other team out. The game is very popular in Commonwealth or former Commonwealth countries. In order to gain some understanding of the game, one needs to know what some key terms and expressions mean.
A bowler is similar to a pitcher in baseball. The bowler stands at the opposite end of the play area and bowls to the batter. Bowling, the act of releasing the ball, can take several forms; fast bowling or spin bowling are two types of bowling. When the bowler hits the stumps of the wicket , or the bowled ball is caught, the batsman is out.
The bat used in cricket is wooden but flatter than the one use in baseball and is used to strike the ball, which allows the batsman to gain runs, which converts to points. Batsmen are usually skilled in the art of batting and are not only expected to score runs but to use the bat to protect the wicket from being hit.
A wicket is made of wood with 3 posts or stumps, topped by bails and are 28.5 inches tall. Batsmen run between wickets to score runs. If there is no batsman protecting the wicket when a ball is returned to the bowler, the wicket could be hit and the batsman declared out.
Leg Before Wicket (LBW)
This is when the batsman miss hitting the ball with his bat and he blocks the ball with a part of his body, preventing the ball from hitting the wicket. An umpire usually makes a determination as to whether this has occurred and the decision can be appealed by teams. If the umpire determines that the ball was intercepted by the batter’s body, the batter could be declared out.
In the course of attempting to hit a ball, the batsman may step outside his crease (like base in baseball), and miss hitting the ball. The wicket-keeper manages to retrieve the ball and uses it to break the wicket before the batsman can return to his position. When this happens, the batsman has been “stumped.”
Batsmen are called into play in a specific order the best ones come in first and the least skilled batters come in toward the end. However, at the end of a day’s play in a multi-day game, a batsman may come into play outside of the usual order. A lower skilled batsman may be brought in to protect the higher skilled batsman allowing him to remain in the game longer and into the next day. The batsman who comes in out of order is called the Night watchman.
On Over in cricket refers to a set of 6 pitches delivered by a pitcher from one wicket to the other. When a set of six pitches are delivered by the bowler and no runs were scored, it is referred to as a maiden over.
There are hundreds practical and quaint expressions and terms used in the game of cricket. You would have to be an avid cricket fan to know many of the terms. However, this comes with time, and like any language, the terms become more familiar the more you watch the game and listen to the commentators.