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Cricket was invented by bored English shepherds as an answer acceptable in polite company to the age-old question, "What can we do with this ball of wool?" It later became an elite pastime of public school boys and ex-boys (old boys), consuming vast stretches of lazy summer afternoons, [1] along with endless cups of tea and glasses of Pimm's,[2] who made their serfs perform any menial stuff involving physical exertion, such as pitching bowling. It was for many years the best method for Asian Gentlemen,[3][4] and descendents of transported convicts, to get their names in the papers, in a good way, by beating the Poms at their own game.[5]

Most sports with balls involve either:

  1. putting them into nets, or into holes (sometimes in a particular order), or banging them onto the ground. The person or side which does this the most often, or in the most spectacular manner, wins. (Some games allow the players only to kick balls, or to hit them with sticks; others are based upon a handling game. A rare few allow more than one of those options.)
  2. keeping them in the air for as long as possible. The person or side which fails to do so, loses.

Cricket involves neither.[6]

The offside rule is not cricket.

Serious view, as shown in RW template[edit]

Two tumbleweeds rolling across the screen, from left to right.

Utterly incomprehensible outside of the remaining stumps of the British Empire[edit]

Crikey. A "pitch" is when the pitcher does what he's paid to and doesn't balk. Why they call it "bowling" makes no sense at all, nor do the contortions required of the arm and upper body.

A "sticky wicket" is an item of croquet furniture that has been used for toasting marshmallows.

It was worth a spate of bloodshed to distance ourselves from this thoroughly silly so-called "sport."

How to play cricket[edit]

English boys learn the principles of cricket as soon as they old enough to help with the washing-up:

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in, and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in, and the side that's been in goes out, and tries to get out those coming in. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, including the not outs, the winner is declared - if there is one.

—Well-known tea towel

In the proper form of the game, all that happens twice, each half-inning being called an innings. There are drink- and meal-breaks during play, which usually takes several days.

Proper cricketers wear white. Shorter forms of the game, completed within one day, often finish in the evening, so for convenience the players wear their nightclothes.

Only the catcher wicket-keeper is allowed to wear a mitt gloves, which would make the game too easy.


The first international cricket match was played in 1844, in New York, between the USA and Canada. Canada won.

Starting in 1864, the first English teams crossed the English Channel to challenge the Paris Cricket Club. A team from Nottingham led by Sir Robert Clifton inaugurated the Parisian pitch on May 16 and May 17.[7]

Great Britain are the reigning Olympic champions, having consigned France to the silver medal position in the 1900 Games.

The game's appeal is explained by the fact that British pubs used to shut for the afternoon - except where there was a cricket match on. The practice of players drinking beer while on the field has fallen into desuetude.

Ian Peebles once missed his turn at bat to bat during a tour of South Africa, the scorer giving the reason as "absent bathing".

In 1939, South Africa and England played a timeless Test match at Durban. It was called off as a draw after nine days play spread over twelve days, because the visitors had to catch their boat home.

Australia and West Indies fought each other to a tied match in 1960. Many more spectators have claimed to be present on the fifth and final day than the ground could hold.

The first ever match in the Gillette Cup (a one-day competition) took two days to complete.

Fastball pitcher bowler John Snow once introduced a red soap-on-a-rope into a game. The scorer recorded "ball exploded".

Essex cricketer Ray East, called to field alternately at opposite ends of the ground, borrowed a bicycle from a spectator.

In June 1975, a cricket match in England was held up when it started snowing.[8]

In 1989, Sheila Nicholls streaked (including a stylish cartwheel) across Lord's cricket ground during a Test match between England and Australia. The radio commentators talked about something else.[9]

Members of the MCC, the most prestigious club in the world, wear red-and-yellow striped ties to disguise stains from the bacon and eggs they ate for breakfast.

"Heading the cricket ball" has never caught on as a sport.

Useful features[edit]

Woodworkers seeking a small supply of well seasoned willow may harvest it from old cricket bats.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that cricket players may be predisposed to survival in zombie apocalypses.

See also[edit]



  1. When not raining.
  2. No, not both at once, you wittering jackanapes!
  3. Western Oriental, if you're a Yank.
  4. Wogs, if you're a Brit.
  5. Like so much that is good in the world, Brits tend to invent terribly good things and then grow bored with them and allow the colonials to have a go, but then remember that competition is good for the soul (or something), and promptly kick the arse of every Test playing side other than South Africa.
  6. Nor does baseball rounders.
  7. The Paris Cricket Club
  8. Cricket: The day snow stopped play at Buxton
  9. Howzat?