Hundreds of millions of people around the world are crazy about cricket. And most of them are indifferent to other sports. Thanks to them, cricket confidently ranks second in popularity in the world after football and, in terms of the number of loyal fans, confidently overtakes all other team games – from baseball to hockey.
And although cricket is almost unknown outside the former British Empire, in countries with a total population of about 2 billion people, it is a religion. They have heard about Messi and, perhaps, have an idea of who Pele is, but in the hearts forever – Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, and in the Instagram feed – Virat Koli and Joe Ruth.
India captain Kohli confidently pushes Bollywood stars to the top of the popularity rankings and earns $ 25 million a year as Liverpool’s top scorer Mo Salah.
Ex-captain Sachin has a status close to the divine in India. And the former leader of the Pakistani national team, Imran Khan, now leads the entire country as prime minister. Australia mints coins with a portrait of the legendary Don Bradman, and the British queen knights the former English captain Alistair Cook.
For the right to broadcast the English Championship, TV channels have laid out a record $ 1.5 billion. Tickets for good seats start at $ 100, while tickets go up to several thousand for an important match.
It looks like there is something in this game since it captured the hearts of a third of the world’s population. For the remaining two-thirds, we attempted to answer a few awkward questions about cricket.
Do they really play all day?
Only if it’s a short match. Normal – the so-called test, test – last five days: six hours a day with a lunch break for 40 minutes and two teas for 20 minutes.
A classic series of five test matches, in which two separate teams regularly sort things out among themselves, take up to one and a half months.
This has advantages. At least, at the amateur level, playing cricket goes well with a picnic in the park all day long. And the spectators of the professional match are always guaranteed entertainment from morning to evening.
But there are also disadvantages. Firstly, not every fan will find so much free time and understanding in the family. Secondly, not every TV channel will risk such volumes of airtime.
Thirdly, sports bars, cafes and pubs prefer to lure visitors with broadcasts of other sports, more dynamic and shorter. Even in India, the English Football Premier League is gaining popularity.
Fourth, because of the awkward format, cricket has been left out of the Olympic Games since 1900. Finally, it is killing amateur sports, the forge of talent. In small and rural clubs, there are fewer and fewer people willing to spend every other day off on cricket.
Therefore, in recent years, cricket has been trying to shake off the age-old slumber and be reborn from an imposing sport dedicated to a dynamic show for everyone. Instead of five-day tests, national teams and clubs now mainly meet in three new one-day formats.
The shortest (English novelty The Hundred) is limited to a hundred throws of the ball per team and can be as long as football matches. The most common (T20) – 120 balls each, lasts about three hours. And the serious format of the World Championship (ODI) – 300 goals per team. This game usually takes all day.
Five days of the game is an ultra marathon. No strength is enough
Cricket requires serious physical training. But this is not hockey or football, and in principle, it is enough to just be in shape. Which makes it accessible to the masses who shy away from strict diets and exhausting workouts.
And even professionals are no exception. That was proved by the last world championship, where both Sri Lankan Lasit Malinga and Afghan Mohammed Shahzad appeared.
Despite a pronounced departure from athletic form, Malinga is one of the best bowlers in the world, and Shahzad is the most productive batsman of the Afghan national team.
And what’s the point of the game?
The main rules are very simple. Nuances and exceptions are another matter. It’s hard to figure it all out, even after a month and a half of almost daily World Cup matches. But this only makes the game more interesting – almost any meeting gives rise to heated disputes.
In the middle of the 19th century, the British even considered banning competitive cricket for public safety reasons. A rare game then did without massacre and mutilation – and even murder.
Players are constantly appealing to the judges, although most disputes are resolved by video replays and a virtual simulation system.
If you do not go into subtleties, in general terms, everything looks like this. Two teams of 11 people – like in football. But they attack and defend themselves in turn.
In the first part of the game, one team in full strength enters the field and attacks the opponent’s goal with the ball (a wicket of three posts with two cylinders at the top). The other releases its batsmen in turn. One by one, they defend the wicket, hitting balls and scoring points. When all 10 defenders are knocked out or the allotted number of throws has been exhausted, the teams switch places. The winner is the one with the most points.
Highest class batsman – hitting balls so that none of the 11 enemy players can catch them. While the batted ball rolls around the field, the batsman runs between two wickets in the center of the field. For each run, one point is awarded. If the ball leaves the field, then you cannot run – they will give four points for rolling out and six for taking off.
A batsman’s failure is when he gets knocked out. In three main ways: if the ball directly knocks down the posts of the wicket; if he flies away from the bat into the hands of the enemy without touching the ground; and if the batsman hit the ball and ran, but the opponent picked it up and knocked down the posts before the defender could return to the wicket.
Batsman Milestone – 100 points no relegation. By the number of hundreds in their careers, they are placed in the world cricket hall of fame.
The best batsmen are rarely good at attacking. Conversely, those who throw balls – bowlers, come out with a bat in the last rows and rarely stay on the field, they are quickly knocked out. But they are the spearhead of the attack.
An attacking team of 11 people is spread across a large oval field. Its task is to prevent the batsman from knocking the ball far and to earn points.
A talented bowler is half the battle. The more intricate or powerful the throw, the higher the chance to knock down the wicket and the harder it is for the batsman to hit the ball, which either spins and bounces unpredictably or rushes at a speed of 150 km / h.
The other half is the field players. They have two main tasks. The first is to catch the ball that bounced off the bat before it touches the ground or goes out of bounds: this is the end of the batsman’s game. Second, if the batsman managed to kick the ball across the lawn and began to run, gaining points, you need to pick it up as quickly as possible and return it to the wicket area in order to either knock it out or minimize the number of enemy runs.
In the hall of fame, bowlers are measured by the number of wickets knocked off their serve.
If cricket is so popular, why don’t I even know what it looks like?
Either you don’t like movies, or you are not watching carefully.
Cricket has been portrayed in thrillers (The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio, Siriana with George Clooney and Matt Damon), political dramas (Frost vs. Nixon), romantic comedies (A Good Year by Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe) and even in fairy tales (“The Chronicles of Narnia”).
And of course, no film about modern India or Pakistan is complete without a scene with a cricket game in a dusty wasteland – this is so typical of those places. British filmmakers (Slumdog Millionaire, Marigold Hotel) and Hollywood (Darjeeling Train, Vertical Limit) enjoy this cliché.
The game of gentlemen appears frequently in English literature, from Dickens to Conan Doyle.
Sir Arthur not only invented the past of a cricketer for Dr. Watson, but he himself was a master of a bat – now it is kept in the museum of the main cricket arena of the planet, London’s Lord’s stadium.
The creator of Sherlock Holmes was the leader of the writing team played by P.G. Woodhouse, who invented Jeeves and Wooster, Alan Milne, who gave the world an unsportsmanlike Winnie the Pooh, Jerome K. Jerome, who put three in a boat, not counting a dog, and Rudyard Kipling, a poet better known to the world for a children’s book about Mowgli.
Douglas Adams, who was born after the war, did not play cricket but made the game famous in the third part of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, which revolved around cricket. Its heroes fall out of the space-time anomaly “onto the immaculate lawn of the Lord’s playground and witness a galactic atrocity: robots from the planet Cricket steal the Earth cricket shrine -” Ashes. “This requires a separate explanation.
Despite the low prevalence of cricket in other countries that were not part of the British Empire, the volume of bets on it is simply huge. The thing is that cricket is the number 1 sport for India and therefore most of the Indian sports fans bet on it. Don’t forget that India’s population has long passed over a billion people. Considering that there are not many professional bettors in India, we can safely speak of a large mass of “amateur money” in betting. Cricket is a very old game that was played in England in the mid-18th century, and a game similar to cricket dates back to the 13th century. The game spread primarily to the British colonies. Cricket was included in the program of the second Olympic Games (1900), but this was his only presence at the Olympics. Already in 2002, cricket was again classified as an Olympic sport, but it was not admitted to the Olympics. Surely the fact is that cricket matches can last for five days, which, given the tight schedule of the Olympics, makes the game unsuitable for this tournament. However, new rules have already been developed that limit the playing time to 2.5 hours. As a rule, bookmakers accept bets on the following outcomes:
Team victory. Usually, bookmakers only accept bets on team wins, but in cricket a draw is possible. There are two types of draws: by score or by time. Almost all bookmakers do not place bets on a draw, and when it happens, they return to all players who bet on a win.
Team victory in the tournament. Cricket tournaments do not have a large number of participants, so you can analyze the teams and place a bet on this market.
Best Batsman / Bowler. In cricket, it is very rare for one player to be head and shoulders above his teammates, so such a bet would be very risky.
For the total points of the best player of the match. A bet on the individual performance of the players.
Other rates. Bookmakers accept bets on the total of wides or run-outs, on the total runs of the first pair of batsmen of a team, you can also bet on which team will score the most runs or run-outs, etc. It is better to place such bets only after you fully understand the rules of cricket.
This is one of the few sports where professionals play Live. Online cricket betting in India makes this sport even more attractive for spectators. The long stretch of matches allows you to make unhurried decisions, but you need to be careful because during the game weather conditions can change several times, which will make big adjustments to its outcome.
Quite often, unexpected results occur in cricket, which is why quotes for outsiders in this sport are usually understated. It is best to use a strategy of betting on approximately equal opponents in cricket.
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