Understanding Cricket – Part 3 – Taking Wickets

The primary goal in cricket is taking wickets. (getting batsmen out)  There are a few different ways of accomplishing this, most of them center on the wickets(the 3 posts) at each ind of the pitch.  The bowler (think pitcher) is trying to knock over the wicket and the batsman tries to stop him.  If the ball gets past the batsman and knocks over the wicket, the batsman is out.

Broken Wicket

The batsmen stands in front of the wicket, more or less, and at some point in the games history someone realized that wearing pads on your legs would prevent a lot of broken shins.  With this protection, it would be very tempting to just block the wicket with your legs.  This is obviously unfair, so there is a rule that says if the ball hist your legs and would have hit the wicket, you are still out.  This is called Leg Before Wicket(or LBW).  It is slightly more complicated than this simple summary, but that is the gist of it.

The third way of getting a batsman out is for the fielding team to knock over a wicket while a batman is running across the pitch.  There is a white line at each end that the batsman must be behind.  For this rule, the bat is considered to be a part of the batsman. (that’s right, they run with their bat)  The other trick to this rule is that the batsman(or bat) must be  on the ground and behind, not on, the line.  If the fielding team manages to do this, the batsman on that end is out.

The last way to get someone out is to catch the ball in the air after the batsman has hit it.  This is just like in baseball.  The slight difference is that in cricket there are times when fielders are placed ridiculously close to the batsman (some of these positions are actually called “Silly”) and so there is a lot more concern with slight contact with the bat.  I know that any contact with the bat is still important in baseball, but trust me it is an issue much, much more often in Cricket.

So that is a quick summary of how the fielding team takes wickets.  The goal is to take 10 wickets in an innings, which puts the batting side out.  After that, the teams trade off and the fielding side bats, or if it is the last innings, the game ends.  In my next post, I will describe the basics of bowling.



Understanding Cricket – Part 2 – Basics

Here is my attempt to summarize Cricket.

Cricket is a bat and ball game which shares a lot of terminology with Baseball, even if play is significantly different.  The game is played on an oval shaped field with a hard packed rectangle (the Pitch) roughly in the center.

Cricket Field

Each team consists of 11 active players.  The fielding team has all 11 on the field, while the batting team fields 2 players (or batsmen) at a time.

At each end of the pitch is a wicket, three standing posts with two removable bails (wooden rods) connecting them.  Also, at each end of the pitch stands one batsman.  The fielding team (which, unlike in baseball is the offensive team) is trying to get the batting team out.  This is done by taking wickets (in this sense outs) until there is only one batting player left.  That means the goal for the fielding team is 10 wickets (or outs).  I will describe how wickets are obtained in the next post.

While trying to not get out, the batting team attempts to score runs.  After the ball is hit, the two batsmen may attempt to switch sides.  Every time the batsmen switch sides they score a run.  If the ball crosses the boundary after touching the ground at least once, the batting side receives 4 runs and the batsmen return to where they were when the ball was hit.  If the ball does not hit the ground, the batting team receives 6 runs.

Each team bats until they have lost 10 wickets, this is called an innings.(still singular, even with the s) in some versions of the game(we will get into different version later) each team gets to bat for two innings, in other forms each team gets only on innings to bat.  Winning also varies a little between forms of the game as well.(I said this game was complicated) In the multi-day versions, a team must get 20 wickets(2 innings worth) in order to win. This must be accomplished while also having a higher run total.(If this doesn’t happen the game is a draw, no one wins)  For the versions that last for 1 day or less(sounds crazy, doesn’t it) finishing the match with a higher run total than the other team is sufficient.

I am going to stop there for now.  I want to break this up so that a person new to the game can digest each bit.  There is a lot more to discuss, but I hope this was a good, short survey of the basics.  Please feel free to comment and give me feedback.



Understanding Cricket Part 1 – Introduction

I love Cricket.  I can’t help comparing every other sport I watch to it, often out loud, which can be very annoying to my friends.  As much as I love it, I have to admit that it is a very complicated game.  There are so many rules and concepts that it can be very difficult to explain efficiently.  This series of posts will be my effort to break down the sport into small chunks so that someone who is unfamiliar with the sport can pick it up.  I will try to reference other sports more common in America (Baseball primarily) when I can to help American in particular.

A Quick Thought About The New ODI Rules

I am watching the England v Sri Lanka Women’s World Cup match from last night and I was thinking about the new ODI rules.  Specifically the rule about having 2 bouncers per over.  I wonder if it would be a good idea to use the last ball of the over as a bouncer much more often than the current practice.  I realize you could never do it all the time, that would be too predictable.  But could this new latitude be used to get a few extra dot balls in an innings?

I admit that Cricket strategy is not my strongest suit, so please let me know if I’m off base.

Finally, A Solution To The Problem With Willow TV

I finally got a phone call from someone at Willow.  Two nights ago, after not hearing from anyone there, I started a chat session on the Willow site.  For anyone having problems reaching Willow, this is your best bet.  I still have no confidence in their email support.  During the chat I got a lot of the same unhelpful answers, but she did say that someone would call in 24 hours.  and almost to the minute, I got a call.

The man on the other end was very polite and helpful.  It was difficult to understand him because his connection was very echoy.  He listened to my actual problem, that some of the YouTube videos work as some don’t and said that the are looking in to the problem and are planning to fix it.  I will be much happier when the problem is actually solved, but my main concern lately has been the lack of response from Willow.

In the mean time, my ability to use the replay videos on the Willow site has been restored so that I can actually watch some cricket now.  It seems as though they are trying to get everyone to use the YouTube channel, and while that was a major inconvenience for me, I understand.  And, frankly, I would much rather use YouTube.

My issues with Willow are not completely over.  There is still a long way to go until I can use the service fully on my Android devices.  I am very pleased with the progress that was made and I am now slightly more hopeful that the problem will be solved.

Big Problem with Willow TV

It has been a long time since my last post.  Life has been crazy and I frankly have not been able to watch as much cricket as I would like.  Part of that comes from business and part is the fault of Willow.tv.

Here is the problem, I am in an unusual situation in that the best time for me to watch cricket is at work. (I love my job!) But in order to watch at work, I need to watch on my android tablet.  It is also rare that there is a live match on during Easter time zone working hours, so I need to watch replays.  So to sum up, in order to fit watching cricket into my life, I need to watch replays(I prefer full replays over highlights) on my Android device.

Ever since Willow made the jump to YouTube watching cricket on my tablet has gotten harder.  Currently, only some of the videos that Willow uploads to YouTube are compatible with Android.  There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to which videos are compatible and which aren’t.  Sometimes a whole match will work fine, other times no video in the playlist works.  Even more confusing, is when a few videos in a playlist work and others do not, for the same match!

This problem has been annoying in the extreme, but the true problem has been Willow’s lack of response.  I have been emailing them at support@willow.tv for months and months now and I can’t get anything like a real answer.  I either get no response at all, which seems to be a common complaint. or I get a response that clearly shows that my email was not read properly.  There is no phone number or physical address to use to complain further.

So I have now resorted to public complaining.  I hate to do this because it really is an ugly thing to do.  But I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to get any answers from them any other way.  In addition to this post and more emails, I have started tweeting both Willow and their CEO.  It is obvious that some of there videos are compatible with Android, so they should be able to make all them that way.  Or at least give some rationale for why this is happening.

I have been a paying customer of Willow for years now and have previously praised their service on this blog.  I have no desire to stop my subscription, I simply want and expect a reply from a company that I have paid hundreds of dollars to.  I do not like the feeling that my emails are being sent to spam, which is where I am right now.

If you are having any similar problems with Willow.tv I encourage you to comment here and help me get their attention.  I am not doing this to force Willow to support Android(although I see no real reason they shouldn’t) I am doing this to let them know that the way they are handling support for their customers is abysmal.  Just because they have a monopoly on many cricket events in the U.S. does not mean they should be able to treat paying customers this way.



Just got a reply from Vijay Srinivasan in a timely manner.  We will see if anything comes of it.  I certainly hope it does.

Cricket’s Big Problem

The sport of Cricket is in the midst of great change.  Ever since 2003 and the advent of the T20 format the very nature of the game has been changing.  There are two fundamental forces that are battling each other for the future of Cricket – the tradition of Test Cricket and the money making potential of T20.

I find myself in a frustrating position because I want both of these forces to win.  I won’t go so far as to say Test Cricket is the only legitimate form of the game, but I do believe it is the highest and most impressive form.  On the other hand, Test Cricket is very difficult for me to share with others.  I have a few friends in my life that would sit down and watch a T20 match with me on occasion.  There will never be a time that anyone comes over to my house 5 days in a row (usually during working hours or in the middle of the night) to watch a full Test match.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Test Cricket is not financially viable in the long term. (As I wrote that sentence I looked at the crowd at the Eng V SA match and its full)  At any rate there is no denying that a Test match is a very long time investment both to see live and to set aside space on television.  Four hours for a T20 match is much more manageable.  The ability to have T20s at night is also a large reason that that format has more advertising potential.

The main conflict that I see between these two formats is time.  It would appear that the way forward in many board’s minds is to have a T20 tournament on the scale of the IPL (Even the US is apparently attempting one).  This means that the year is going have large chunks of time carved out where Test series will be difficult to manage.  These tournaments will not work without big name international players.  These are the very players who are big stars largely do to their Test match play.  They are needed by their countries to play in both and that is going to be difficult to manage.

So far, I have not mentioned 50 over cricket.  I am a fan of ODIs as well, but I think this may be the first and largest casualty of this conflict.  I think there will be few if any ODIs in the not too near future.  I also think that Test series are going to get shorter.  The latter is the most depressing to me.  There are already very few T20s on most international tours, so I think that will remain much the same.

The overall effect of these new tournaments will be a loss of importance for the National sides.  Whenever I explain Cricket to someone, I always mention that playing for a one’s country is the highest achievement for a cricketer.  in the next few years, it will be playing for a franchise team.  I can’t say that I like this development but it seems to me to be inevitable.

All things change and the sport of Cricket is at a stage where we can see big change coming.  People who hold to traditions are usually disappointed in the end.  I hate to say this because I want Test Cricket to continue both in practice and prominence.  T20 is a very different game and while they are both Cricket, one does not replace the other.  I hope there is a way to preserve the long form of the game, but I fear that it will be too much of an afterthought all too soon.

Feel free to disagree with me on this – I would love to be wrong.

Knight Riders Win

I never thought I would see the Knight Riders win the IPL.  The first three years wee so disappointing.  There was so much talent on the team, to get nowhere was very frustrating.  Last year had its frustrations as well.  Losing to Mumbai twice in a row felt like being kicked back down the ladder.

This year, I dared hope that we would reach the playoffs.  I was surprised to see the Knight Riders win the second place spot and then beat the Daredevils rather soundly.  The Super Kings may have been in fourth, but they were on fire during the elimination games.  After two decisive wins against very good teams, it seemed that Chennai had all the momentum.

What happened was one of the closest games I have seen.  I don’t think the Knight Riders’ bowlers did as well as the could have during the first innings.  It was very disappointing to see Narine fail to get a wicket.  I admit I was very worried when Kolkata went in to bat.  Even though Gambhir got out so early, I think the batting lineup did a great job.  Especially Kallis – who was obviously exhausted by the time he got out.

Now it’s time to wait for the Champions League!

Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo.


Kolkata V Channai in Indian Premier League Final

So the Kolkata Knight Riders will be facing the IPL champions for the last 2 years in Sunday’s final.  Chennai put in an incredible display today and I can’t say it made me more confident.  This season each team has won one match.  I think the Super Kings have a big advantage having such a devastating victory so close to the Indian Premier League final.  The other big advantage is the fact that the have played in three finals so far and have won the last two.  The Knight Riders will have a lot of new pressure on them.  I hope they watch Hoosiers together sometime tomorrow.

The Knight Riders have come a long way and I am proud to be a fan.  I am happy that they made it to the finals and even if they don’t win on Sunday(I hate when people talk like this) it will still have been a great season.

Cricket America – A New U.S. Cricket Organization

A few days ago I received a press release from a new organization called Cricket America.  The release says that the new organization is being setup by more than 20 local cricket clubs.  I love to see any advancement of the sport in this country as it is desperately needed.  My fear is the relationship between this group and the USACA.

Nothing specific is stated in the press release about how this new group fits into the ICC sanctioned body in America and that worries me a little.  I do not believe that there should be only one group with the right to organize and promote cricket in any country.  Unfortunately from what I understand the ICC and the USACA do not agree.  Any strife that this new organization causes with the existing power structure may end up being counterproductive to the sport as a whole.

So what is the solution to this hypothetical(but likely) problem?  Should Cricket America just shrink back into the shadows and let the USACA have sole control over the sport?  I don’t think so.  The USACA has had its trouble over the last few years and has drawn a lot of criticism from both domestic and international sources.  The press release from Cricket America alludes to some of these problems, even though it never says anything directly about the USACA.

I hope my reading of this situation is off and Cricket America has the full blessing of the USACA, not because they need it but because Cricket needs unity not division.  I just deleted a lengthy section explaining my opinions on this matter in more detail, but that can wait until we see what the new landscape really looks like.

Cricket in the U.S. needs a massive grassroots effort to expand, especially with younger players.  I think Cricket America has the potential to provide some of the energy needed to accomplish this.  I truly hope this new organization is a boon to the sport.