5 questions you always wanted to ask about cricket

Cricket is number 11 on the ParticipACTION 150 Play List because there are 11 defensive players on the field – along with two batters from the opposing team. If this raises some questions, read on for the answers from Cricket Canada.

1. IS CRICKET SIMILAR TO BASEBALL?

In some ways, yes. Like baseball, cricket is a striking and fielding sport where the objective is to score as many runs as possible without getting out. The skills of throwing, running, trapping and leaping are seen in both sports. Cricket also has its own distinctive elements, such as:

  • There are 11 defensive players and two batters on the field at any given time.
  • The pitch can be purposely bounced off the ground before it is hit.
  • With the exception of the wicket keeper (sort of like a combination of a back catcher and a goalie), cricket players do not wear gloves or protective equipment.

2. WHAT DOES A CRICKET FIELD LOOK LIKE?

A cricket “pitch” (field) is a rough oval shape or sometimes a circle. Unlike baseball, it has no foul zones, meaning that the “batsman” (batter) is free to hit the ball anywhere. Instead of a home plate and three bases, cricket has two wickets that serve a similar purpose. A running batsman is safe when he touches a box designated by white lines on the pitch. At an elite level, cricket is played on natural grass that has been carefully watered, rolled and cut to provide a hard surface that allows the ball to bounce easily.

3. HOW MANY INNINGS ARE THERE?

While baseball teams get three outs per inning over a nine-inning game, cricket has 10 outs per inning and only one inning per team. Think of it as a one-inning baseball game, but instead of the defensive team needing to get three outs, they need 10. The team batting first scores as many runs as they can in the allotted time, with the opposition trying to restrict the batting team to as few runs as possible. Once the defensive team achieves 10 outs or the time limit is reached, the other team bats and attempts to achieve a higher score.

4. HOW DO YOU GET SOMEONE OUT?

Since there is only one inning, a batter who is called “out” is out for the rest of the game. There are 11 different ways to get an out, but the three main ones are:

  • The batter hits the ball and the opposing fielder catches it before it contacts the ground.
  • The batter misses the ball and the pitch successfully hits the wickets.
  • The fielding team hits or dislodges the wicket while the batter is not in their “crease” (on base).

5. WHAT ARM ACTION IS USED IN PITCHING?

Bowling (pitching) is likely the most difficult and unnatural aspect of the game. The bowler, like a pitcher in baseball, is the player who delivers the ball toward the batter to try and get them out. The bowler must keep his arm straight, usually by keeping it close to his head and brushing the ear while keeping his head still. It is a complicated skill that takes a lot of practice. Beginner games should be pitched overhand or underhand as in baseball or softball.

If you have more questions, check out this CBC video clip where the always-entertaining Rick Mercer interviews members of Canada’s national cricket team – and puts on the gear himself.