Cricket, noun.For a lesson on a sport as British as Buckingham Palace, Stars and Stripes went to Ron Pateman, an umpire in the East Sussex cricket league, to get the basics.
Cricket involves two teams of 11 men facing each other on an oval field with two sets of wooden uprights, called wickets, facing each other in the center. Just like in baseball, one team takes the field with a bowler (pitcher), wicket-keeper (catcher) and a group of fielders. The other side sends out a batsman, who stands at one set of wickets.
When play begins, the bowler hurls a one-hopper down the dirt strip between the uprights (the pitch) toward the batsman, whose goal is to earn runs by hitting the ball. After a hit, the batsman has to run to the “base” around the opposite wicket (called the crease), for a point, repeating the trip for another if he can. The batter then hits again, trying to belt the ball out of the oval either on the ground (four points) or in the air for six. A batter hits without stopping until he’s called out, allowing a team’s score to go into the hundreds.
In order to get a batsman out, a fielder must catch the ball in the air or tag the wicket with the ball while the batsman is running. Alternately, if the bowler hits wickets or the batter’s leg (“leg before wicket” or LBW), the batter is out. After 10 outs, the sides switch.
Matches generally last for one or two batting rotations (innings), which can take days — with regular breaks for teas — and whoever’s ahead at the end, wins.