07 July 2009

Cricket Made Simple

I see the first Ashes test match is starting. After much research, I've finally made sense of cricket.

It turns out it's actually very simple. Someone throws a ball at someone else, who whacks it with a wide stick. After that, everyone runs around the field — yes, field, not "pitch," because pitching is what you do with the ball, not "bowling," because we all know bowling involves rented shoes — everyone runs around the field helter-skelter, randomly going in any direction, while the announcer makes up as many funny-sounding phrases as he can think of, like "silly midwicket," "googly," "diamond duck," and "maiden over." Then they announce that the score is "[some three-digit number] for [some one-digit number]," and everyone nods and pretends to understand. They do this for up to three days, taking occasional breaks for tea, and then go home.

Lewis Carroll understood this well in his description of the caucus race:

First [the Dodo] marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (the exact shape doesn't matter, it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no One, two, three, and away, but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over.