Everything you need to know about the world’s 2nd most popular spectator sport, cricket. I’m joined by my Dad, Rick Thompson and we describe the rules, the appeal of the game and also some expressions in English that come from cricket.
It’s summer in the UK and at this time of year there are various sounds that you might hear in a typical English village, the sound of bees buzzing, kids playing in the playground, an ice-cream van and perhaps the smack of leather on willow (the sound of a cricket ball – a hard, heavy ball covered in leather, being hit by a wooden cricket bat made of willow) those sounds coming from a game of cricket on the local village green.
Also, the sounds of cricket make their way into your home during the summer months as people listen on the radio or watch the coverage on TV.
International test match cricket is a feature of the summertime in England and is somehow deeply rooted into English life. It’s one of those cliches of rural England – sandwiches, afternoon tea and cricket on the green.
But for many foreign people who don’t play cricket it can seem like a weird antiquated slow game with rules that nobody understands. People are surprised that a game of cricket can last several days. Americans are often horrified to discover that games often end in a draw with no winner at the end.
The fact is, cricket is a fantastic game which requires strategy but there are many moments of dramatic action and great skill and ability shown by the players.
My Dad is a big fan of cricket. He used to play it when he was younger and has always followed the matches on the radio. I’ve been threatening for a while to do an episode about cricket, to somehow achieve the impossible and explain cricket to the world, and my Dad is going to join me.
So sit back, have a cup of tea and some cake, and try to get your head around this wonderful game.
And stay tuned for some nice idiomatic expressions which we use in English and which originally came from the game of cricket.
Well, that was a valiant effort by us. I hope you agree! But I wonder if you managed to keep up with all of it! If you are listening all the way to the end and you’re still alive – well done!
You may have got lost at some point along the way, or did you follow all of it? Let me know.
In any case I hope you got something out of that conversation, even if it is a sense that cricket is worth getting enthusiastic about even if you don’t fully understand it, and that it’s a big thing in the UK and many other countries around the world.
I recommend that you have a look at some cricket being played. There are videos showing you different aspects of cricket on the page for this episode, so check them out.
Also, there was that vocabulary.
Let me just go through the vocabulary again here, just to make it clear.
- On a sticky wicket = in a difficult situation (We’re on a bit of a sticky wicket here because of the result of the EU referendum) (NYTimes “It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as “a slap in the face to his supporters right after they’ve just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams.”)
- To have a good innings = to have a good long life (How old was he when he died? 94? Oh, so he had a good innings)
- It’s just not cricket = it’s not fair! (Getting queue jumped, it’s just not cricket, is it?)
- It hit me for six = it surprised, shocked and stunned you. (When my ex-girlfriend told me she was getting married to my best friend it really hit me for six)
- I was absolutely bowled over = I was really surprised and amazed (“Bowled over” actually comes from bowling not cricket – when a pin is knocked over by the ball) (We were really bowled over by your presentation, you did a fantastic job!)
- I’m completely stumped. You’ve stumped me there. = I’m unable to answer that question because it’s too complicated. (I did ok in the listening part, but I was completely stumped by the grammar questions)
- You’ve caught me out there. = You’ve asked me a difficult question which has shown that I’ve made a mistake. (What about the outstanding tax payments on your public accounting report? There’s 300 pounds missing! – Oh, you’ve caught me out there, hah, yes I forgot to include them!)
Stephen Fry explains LBW in cricket
Shane Warne from Australia – the greatest spin bowler ever