Ah, the Ashes. One of the best times of the year for a cricket fan. And an apt occasion for a post about cricket…


Photo: Andy, reused under CC license

1. It has become associated with a standard of behaviour. Particularly when it has nothing to do with that behaviour. “It’s just not cricket” may not be used quite as much as “That’s not very Christian”, but also conveys an expectation of overall uprightness of behaviour and the following of unspoken rules.

2. It is full of tales of miracles. Such as a window breaking after a cricket bat was simply leaning against it. Or a 19-year-old trumping cricket giants in his first international game.

3. It is English at heart. (kudos if you can guess where the link will take you before clicking it)

4. Its expansion to overseas countries has a lot to do with colonialism. But that doesn’t make it an intrinsically bad thing.

5. It comes with its codes, which make it somewhat impenetrable to an outsider. But these codes also give the fans a common language and (for better or for worse) an identifying mark which facilitates immediate mutual clicking.

6. The Laws that come with it are generally considered dull and in most cases irrelevant; but there is still something exciting in them. It isn’t the silly things such as the fact that a batsman can be timed out, but what it points towards (a pure game where the players aren’t even thinking of playing for time) that makes them exciting.

7. The Laws aren’t what define the play of cricket. As was, ahem, made clear on Friday by Stuart Broad.

8. There are many forms of cricket. Twenty-twenty, county cricket, one day international, and my personal favourite, test cricket. They all have their different flavours, with the former being quicker, more prone to exciting batting; and the latter more prone to careful deliberation and safe batting. None of them are not cricket, but some may identify with one particular form.

9. There’s an American version of it, which has barely anything to do with the original.

10. To the outsider, it looks like an incomprehensible waste of time.

11. When explaining cricket, it may be better not to start with the Duckworth-Lewis method. When a friend tried to explain cricket to me (a long time ago), he started listing the ten ways to dismiss a batsman. I didn’t understand that there was a fielding team and a batting team. In the same way, if you start looking at Christianity by reading Revelation, or by talking about predestination, you won’t be able to understand (and live!) it quite as easily.

12. If you’re doing it properly, you should wear whites.

13. The hats give you information about the role of some players. They aren’t magically conferring higher powers. And it doesn’t mean that the hat-less people are any less important!

14. Even if you’re not in the England side, nothing is stopping you from playing cricket. Even if you don’t have a cricket ball – a tennis ball would do the trick.

15. Tea has a very important part to play in it.

Add your own!