Cricket (game), a high-scoring outdoor bat-and-ball game played between teams of 11 players that originated in England over 500 years ago. A team sport exceeded in popularity worldwide only by soccer and basketball, cricket can be found in over 120 countries. The game has been played in the United States since the early 18th century. II. EQUIPMENT AND PLAYING AREA Cricket Basics Cricket Bowler Bob Willis Cricket Pitch Cricket Bowler Bob Willis There are four main categories of cricket bowlers: fast, fast-medium, slow-medium, and slow.
English cricketer Bob Willis, one of the best fast bowlers in modern cricket, is shown a second before the ball is bowled. Encarta Encyclopedia COLORSPORT Full Size Cricket Pitch In a cricket match, the bowler and the batsman face each other across a rectangular area called a pitch, located in the center of the field. The pitch is marked by lines called creases, and at each end it contains a wicket. Each wicket consists of three stumps, with two strips of wood lying across them, placed end to end in grooves.
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A cricket ball is about the same size as a baseball, made of alternating layers of cork and wool and covered by either red or white leather. It cannot weigh less than 156 g (5. 5 oz) or more than 163 g (5. 75 oz) and cannot be larger than 23 cm (9 in) in circumference. The cricket bat is long and flat, made of willow, and is fitted with a cane handle with a rubber grip. It cannot be longer than 97 cm (38 in) or wider than 11. 5 cm (4. 5 in), though it can be any weight. The only fielder in cricket allowed to wear gloves is the wicket-keeper (the “catcher” in cricket), who wears two large, shallow-pocketed leather gloves. Sidebars
SPORTS AROUND THE WORLD Cricket in India Cricket is played in nearly every village throughout India. India’s national cricket team generates high emotions as well as national pride. This report describes some of the rules and procedures of this team sport. open sidebar Cricket is played on a large, circular, grassy area called a ground. Cricket grounds can be any size, but those used in professional cricket are usually between 114 m and 160 m (375 ft and 525 ft) in diameter. Most of the action in cricket takes place in the center of the ground on a manicured strip of grass, 20 m (66 ft) long and about 3 m (10 ft) wide, called the pitch.
At each end of the pitch, set upright in the ground, are three wooden poles called stumps. Collectively the stumps are known as a wicket. The wicket is 71 cm (28 in) high and 23 cm (9 in) wide. Resting in grooves on top of the stumps are two small pieces of wood called bails. Four feet in front of and parallel to the wicket is a long white chalk line called the popping crease. Running between the two wickets, 2. 7 m (8. 7 ft) apart, are two other white lines called the return creases. III. RULES OF THE GAME Cricket World Cup Winners Cricket World Cup Winners This competition was first held in 1975. Encarta Encyclopedia Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Full Size In general, cricket is very similar to baseball. The cricket batter stands in front of one wicket and tries to score runs by hitting balls that the bowler (the cricket “pitcher”) throws to him from the opposite wicket. In specifics, however, the two games are very different. Cricket has no foul territory, no balls or strikes, and the batter does not have to run when he hits the ball. The cricket batter also has a partner who stands at the opposite wicket with a bat. If the batter hits the ball and decides to run, the two players then simultaneously run to their opposite wickets.
Once they are both over the popping crease at the opposite wicket, one run is scored. If the batter hits the ball far enough, he and his partner can continue to run back and forth from wicket to wicket, scoring another run each time they switch wickets. If the batter hits a fly ball out of the ground, much like a “home run,” his team gets six automatic runs. If the batter hits a ground ball out of the playing area, the team gets four automatic runs. Unlike baseball, the batter does not come out after scoring a run but continues to hit until he is put out.
The fielding team can get the batter out one of four main ways: (1) the bowler can throw the ball past the batter, hit the wicket, and knock off at least one bail (called an out bowled); (2) the batter blocks a ball from hitting the wicket with his body, even unintentionally (out leg before wicket, or LBW); (3) the batter hits the ball and any fielder catches it on the fly (out caught); and (4) a fielder can get the ball while the batters are running, throw it, hit the wicket, and knock off at least one bail before the batter crosses the popping crease (out run out).
The bowler in cricket can take a run-up and can throw the ball to the batter on the bounce as well as on the fly, but he must keep his arm straight while throwing. He must also stay behind the popping crease and within the return creases at his wicket until he releases the ball. To give both batters a chance to hit, the bowling direction is reversed every six pitches (called an over). After the first bowler has thrown six times from one wicket, another fielder takes the ball and throws six times from the other wicket.
This change of bowling direction continues every six pitches throughout the game. A cricket game can last one or, at the most, two innings. This is because the fielding team must get out 10 of the 11 players on the batting team before they can come to bat. When the fielding team comes up, they also bat through their entire order. Whichever team has the most runs after each team has batted once is the winner. In a two-innings game, each team would bat and field twice.
IV. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION World cricket is governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which represents the national cricket bodies of more than 70 countries. The ICC coordinates tours between member countries, qualifies umpires, maintains a code of conduct, and promotes the game on a worldwide basis. The ICC is also responsible for organizing the World Cricket Cup, cricket’s world championship, held every four years since 1975.
In 2002 the organization launched the ICC Test Championship (ICCTC), awarded annually to the country that has the best record in test matches (two-innings matches played between national teams). Women’s cricket is governed by the International Women’s Cricket Council (IWCC). Since 1973 the women’s world cricket championship has also been held every four years. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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