Tung: What is the origin of cricket?
Callum: It was centuries ago, I think. Cricket probably began sometime around the thirteenth century, but no one is sure. It originated in south-east England, became more and more popular, became England’s national sport in the 18th century. It is said that the game was generally a children's game for many generations before it was taken up by adults around the beginning of the 17th century. And now, as you can see, it has developed globally. The first international game was between the US and Canada in 1844, in New York as I remember.
|A pictorial representation of the game from the New York Museum (Photo: Cricinfo)
Tung: How is the game played?
Callum: The aim of cricket is simple - score more than the opposition. Two teams, both with 11 players, will take turns to bat and bowl. When one team is batting, they try and score as many runs as they can by hitting the ball around an oval field. The other team must get them out by bowling the ball overarm at the stumps, which are at either end of a 22-yard area called a wicket.The bowling team can get the batsmen out by hitting the stumps or catching the ball. Of course it’s more than that, but basically that’s all.
Tung: Sounds a bit like baseball right? What are the difference?
Callum: Well of course there are a lot, but I can name some very obvious features. The pitch for baseball is a diamond-shaped, while that of a cricket game is oval. And, well…..the baseball bat is Round like a baton with a tapered handle ending at a knob, and a cricket bat is has round handle on top with a flat wooden bottom. Well….there are more, but it’s quite complicated. I really hope that someday, I can take you to a cricket game so it can be easier to explain. For me, cricket is easier to play than baseball.
|Photo: India Today
Tung: What was the first cricket team in England?
Callum: The first and most influential cricket club in the land was formed at Hambledon, Hampshire, in the 1760's. The club was sponsored by wealthy patrons, but the players were local tradesmen and farmers. The club laid some really big foundation for the game. It established techniques of batting and bowling which still hold today, and Hambledon claims a page in history books as the "Birthplace of Cricket". The spot soon shifted to London with the establishment of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). In 1835 the MCC gave cricket its first formal laws, which still stand largely intact today. A major boost for the sport of cricket was provided by public schools such as Eton, Harrow, and Winchester. The sport proved so popular among the well-to-do students that an annual match called "Gentlemen vs. Players" took place at Lord's from 1806-1963.
Tung: I can see that you are indeed a big fan of cricket. Please tell me why you love that game so much?
Callum: Maybe you won’t believe it, but I love it because cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. So many things can affect the outcome of the players’ performances. The game can be stopped by the sun, yes, sun stopped a play between India and New Zealand. It could only happen in cricket. A car drove onto the middle of the field during a cricket game a while ago – a Wagon R, if I remember correctly – and play has also been stopped by pig, snake and hedgehog. This is nuts, and for me, it’s merely exciting. Plus, the weather will certainly affect the performances. The pitch matters, the nip in the air matters, even the speed with which the ball rushes through the outfield matters. This is special, and makes me, as a cricket fan, feel excited.
Thanks a lot Callum for your talk. We wish you good luck and hope to see you again soon.
Culture Rendezvous will be back next week with more fascinating stories about cultures around the world. This is Hoang Tung. Until then!