sports gazette

An American's Guide to Cricket

Published: 31 May 2017

Looking for a new sport to become invested in? Cricket may be the one for you.

A bright and sunny day at Bushy Park in Teddington led to perfect conditions for a cricket match between Teddington Cricket Club and Richmond Cricket Club in the Middlesex County Cricket League.

Defending champions Teddington batted first and put up 214 runs in their innings. Teddington then fended off the Richmond chase and won by 22 runs after Richmond were bowled out in 49 overs.

To many Americans, cricket may seem like a simplified game of baseball, but the reality is much different than the perception. Even for someone like myself, who has watched cricket for the past two years now, gained a whole new appreciation for the game by watching a live match.

There is so much more to cricket than just the sport itself. It is an all day event in every sense of the phrase, and there is much to appreciate about the game from the play, to the environment that the sport produces.

The point of this is not to explain the rules of cricket, those are simple enough and can be found through a quick google search. The goal is to give some tips for anyone who is interested in attending their first cricket match.

Come prepared

This cannot be emphasized enough. Even in a limited overs match, plan to be out for at least five to six hours. I made the mistake of not bringing a lunch or sunscreen but luckily the ground had a bar on site. Use the long day as an opportunity for an extended picnic in the park. 

Spend a few overs only watching the fielders

Think of it as a shift in baseball, but even more exaggurated. Fielders are moving every play and this is something you don’t get while watching a cricket match on television because the focus is always on the bowler. It is a constant chess match between the captain, bowler and batsman, and one misplaced fielder could be the difference between a single and a boundary.

Walk around the pitch and observe different angles

The nice thing about a round pitch is you have a variety of different places you can watch the game. Tryto get right behind the wicket to see what the batsman have to deal with, especially if there is a tricky spin bowler in the attack, as shown below.

Make new friends

The best way to understand any new environment are to interact with local people who are there week in and week out. It was a very social environment as everybody chatted away with everyone else (including the players). The locals were also more than happy to share some of their own tips on watching a cricket match.

One fan advised: "Take a look for the sledging, (trash talking) it's one of the best things about cricket at any level, especially at a park game."

Cricket will never be a top-10 sport in popularity in the US, it may never even break into the top-20. However, if anyone is looking to get invested in a new sport give cricket a go. Afterall, how can you argue with six hours of drinking in the sun with your best friends?

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