Going to a Game
Attending a professional cricket match is a unique experience. With a day's play taking seven to eight hours (including the
breaks), it is not as intense a spectating experience as many other sports.
In baseball, seven hours is about the length of a double-header - two games in a row.
In cricket, seven hours is about the length of a one-day match, or one day's play of a Test match.
Some fans will arrive an hour or more before the game starts, in order to watch the players practice and warm up - activities
they usually do on the field. These warm-ups involve a mixture of general activities such as stretches and sprints, as well
as drills in cricket skills such as catching and bowling. Batting practice is usually performed in special
nets outside the playing area, and these may be visible to fans as well.
The best place to sit to watch cricket is in line with the pitch, so you can see the line of the ball as it moves from
the bowler's hand towards the batsman. Since bowlers switch ends every over, there are two opposite ends of the ground where
keen spectators like to sit. Half the time they will be "behind the bowler's arm", with the batsman facing them, which is
generally considered the best way to watch cricket. The other half of the time they will be watching the ball coming
towards them from behind the batsman.
Cricket has always been considered more a "gentleman's" game than many other sports, and this is reflected in the
behaviour of the fans. Although cricket crowds can get rowdy at times, the vast majority of fans will show respect and
admiration for opponents and their performances. Significant achievements on the field, by players of either your own
team or the opposition, are always greeted with warm applause. It is a common experience for the fan to be watching an
opposing player bat, willing his own bowler to get him out, but to break into applause as the batsman hits the ball
through the field for 4. The fan is not cheering the opposing player per se, but rather his display of athleticism and skill.
A day's play begins with the two field umpires walking on to the field, to a round of polite applause from the crowd. Next,
the fielding team walks out, to their own applause and cheers as they take up fielding positions. Finally, the two batsmen
emerge and walk to the middle as they also get a round of applause and cheering. The home team will generally get a more
enthusiastic crowd reponse, but the opposition is always greeted warmly too.
Other events that stimulate applause include:
- A bowler completing a maiden over.
- A bowler completing an over, not necessarily a maiden, in which he significantly troubled the batsman, making him play
and miss, or generating false strokes or edges that might have been caught.
- A bowler taking a wicket.
- A bowler completing an over in which he took a wicket.
- A spectacular piece of fielding, including catches, run outs, close attempts at run outs, athletic dives to gather the ball,
and long, accurate throws from the outfield back to the wicket.
- A batsman hitting a good, solid stroke such that the ball beats the infield, displaying skill and elegance as he does so.
- A batsman hitting a 4, or a 6.
- The batsmen completing a run in which they have to run at top speed to narrowly avoid a run out.
- A batsman reaching a total of 50 runs.
- A batsman reaching a total of 100 runs.
- A batsman reaching any subsequent total that is a multiple of 50 runs.
- A pair of batsmen reaching a 50 partnership.
- A pair of batsmen reaching a 100 partnership.
- A pair of batsmen reaching any subsequent total partnership that is a multiple of 50 runs.
- Any player reaching a significant career milestone. (e.g. 100 career wickets, 1000 career runs, or multiples thereof.)
- Any player breaking a significant career or individual match record.
- A parting round of applause as an out batsman leaves the field.
- A new batsman walking on to the field at the fall of a wicket.
- The end of a session of play, as the players leave the field.
Home | DM's Explanation of Cricket
Last updated: Saturday, 17 February, 2007; 15:18:10 PST.
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