How do you play this game?

By Deane Barker

This is hard to describe in words. You sort of have to watch it visually.

Here are two great videos (literally the first two results when searching YouTube for how to play cricket):

It’s tempting to compare this to baseball, because there are some similarities, but it’s also very different.

(Also, I’m missing a ton of subtleties here. Like baseball, there are all sorts of obscure rules and exceptions, which is what makes the game interesting and strategic. But this is the game distilled down to the raw basics.)

First, the “pitcher” and the “batters” (there are two of them at the same time, facing each other down a dirt path) are in the middle of a circular field – it’s not a “cone” like baseball. And they’re called the “bowler” and the “batsmen.”

Behind each batsman is a “wicket,” which is a wooden contraption with the legs, connected at the top. It’s kind of like the catcher in baseball.

The ball is pitched (“bowled”) towards a batsman. They try to hit it. The ball doesn’t stay in the air like in baseball – it’s bounced along the ground, and the batsmen hit low, like a golf swing. The bat isn’t a cylinder either – it’s flatter, like a paddle.

If the batsman misses, and the ball hits the “wicket” behind him, he’s out.

If he hits it, like baseball, if someone from the other team catches it, the batsman is out. If it grounds before they get to it, they can try to hit a wicket while the batsmen are running (see below) and get them out.

When a batsman hits the ball, the two batsman run toward each other to the other wicket. Every time they pass each other, they get a run – they can do this as many times as possible before the other team get to the ball. If the ball is hit hard enough to touch the outside fence, four runs are awarded. If it goes over the outside fence (a “home run” in baseball), six runs are awarded.

There are 11 players on a side. When every batter is out, they switch sides. There are two innings, so each side gets to bat twice.

Why I Looked It Up

I remember the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, being obsessed with cricket in his book Hit Refresh.

I also remember this hilarious video: How Cricket Looks for Most People

However, I don’t actually remember my specific reason for looking this up.

This is item #166 in a sequence of 730 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys to navigate