Cricket, the world’s most popular bat-and-ball sport (and a senior relative of baseball) is one of the first major sports to be codified. Emerging in something like its modern form in rural England in the eighteenth century, it already had a set of rules and a national profile before the beginning of the industrial age. That helps to explain why its overall shape is so different from such sports as Association Football and Rugby, also first codified in England, but only after industrialization and urbanization, not to mention the more recently codified team sports of North America. In fact, its early emergence and codification as a sport can better be compared to golf — another sport with a rather “pre-industrial”, “rural” shape — requiring lots of land and quite a lot of time.
Spread across the British Empire in the nineteenth century, cricket has become the most popular sport in South Asia, and the biggest summer sport in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the West Indies, as well as in its homeland. In the last several decades the sport has established a foothold (and sometimes more) in many other parts of the world, including the United States, where the influx of immigrants from South Asia and the Caribbean has generated a cricket boom in many areas.
Here is a PowerPoint presentation about cricket, given at Canton Public Library in July, 2011, by MCA’s Information Director. The presentation explains a little more about the history of the game, and sets out some of the basics of play and equipment.
Here is how one American explained the game (from Cricinfo, the biggest single-sport web site in the world): Cricket Explained.
And here is how the BBC sets out the basics of the game, while here is how the BBC demonstrates the fundamental of the skills of the game (there are several videos).
Unlike baseball, cricket has many possible fielding positions, but the captain only has nine men to position (he can’t change the position of the bowler or the wicket keeper, don’t forget). Cricinfo has produced a nice chart of the main possible fielding positions.
MCA has also produced a guide to writing on cricket and online sources of information about the game.
And here is that famous gimmick explanation (“When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in”, etc), which articulates, without explaining, the paradoxical language of the game.
Interested? Then contact MCA to get involved!