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Thread: My first time playing cricket, sort of. Prequel to more questions.

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    Ike
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    My first time playing cricket, sort of. Prequel to more questions.

    Hello all. I haven't posted for months, but not for lack of appreciation of this forum. I've been watching lots of live streaming cricket, mostly on ESPN3 here in the States, and reading a lot more (about 2/3s through The Essential Wisden; about 1/2 through MCC's Cricket Umpiring and Scoring; plus a variety of others). I have a bunch more questions to ask, but I want to start by describing my first experience actually playing cricket. Don't know that it will interest anyone, but I'd enjoy any comments.

    Two of my sons (both in their 30's) and I (67) got together as part of several days we shared (we each live about 800 miles apart around the country, so getting together in person is rare). None of us have ever played before, so of course it was a comedy of errors, but we had a lot of fun. We got two wicket sets (only used one), one fairly good bat (a GM, '101', Kashmir willow), 4 hardened tennis ball cricket balls (plus a 'real' red leather one we tried at the end), plus a bit of ground chalk. No leggings, keeper gloves, or helmets. My youngest son (34) oiled the bat (linseed), and did some knocking in with the mallet that came with the bat. He knew it wasn't enough, but it was a start (and he took back the red cricket ball to further the process in the future).

    We went to a local park where I knew cricket was played, but I didn't know where. Nor do I know if the local cricket club plays on one of the many football or baseball fields there, as is, or if they bring a pitch mat (which we definitely couldn't afford, lol). We picked a baseball field with a fairly hard (dirt) infield and a grassy outfield that wasn't too lush (but still taller than we would have liked). We pounded in one set of stumps just outside the 'pitcher's mound' (which was not elevated), and then marked a popping crease 4 feet beyond the wicket. We then walked off 58 feet (22 yds -2x4 feet) and marked off a second popping crease in the outfield grass. The outfield fence was about 40 to 50 yards from the wicket, a bit short, but quite long enough for us!

    Backward of the wicket, the fence was much closer, as little as 15 yards, but we agreed that that fence would not count as a boundary. As it turned out, we never hit any balls over the fence in any direction (surprise!), so it wasn't a problem.

    We played with a bowler, a batsman, and a keeper. There was no running (thus we didn't need the second wicket). We first played a 2 over 'match', where each player bowled, batted, and kept one over against each of the others, so 6 overs in all. That was enough to wear me out, so we then played a 2 innings times 5 overs match, just between my two boys, and I was 'permanent' wicket keeper. Then at the end, we tried the red ball (a real club ball) for a couple of overs.

    Rules: The bowler 'set his field'. Batsman didn't run; when he hit the ball, whether it scored one or more runs depended on where he hit it (vs the 'ghost' fielders), and how hard. Until the very end, no one scored over 2 on a hit. In part this was because we were lousy, of course, but also because no one hit a boundary, the grass slowing down the relatively light hardened tennis balls significantly. My youngest son, though he lost the 'big' match by a number of runs, to his brother, managed the only boundary (a 4) when we used the red ball. The red ball had clearly better momentum going through the grass.

    Bowling was an adventure. We had a plethora of no balls and wides. Most of the no balls came from bent elbows, which really take practice to avoid when you've 'pitched' (thrown) in baseball all your life. After 10 overs or so, however, my boys cut down on their illegal deliveries (and their wides) quite a bit. The hardened tennis balls pitched very well on the infield. Alas, the red ball (the tennis balls were red too, but we called the 'real' ball the read ball), hardly pitched at all, no more than above the batsman's ankles, so the deliveries had to be yorkers pretty much to avoid being no balls for too many bounces. Interestingly, we read a couple of days later that the US national cricket competition in Miama Florida, at the only ICC approved cricket pitches in the US.. have the same problem! Red leather balls won't bounce/pitch above the batsmen's ankles!

    We scored no balls and wides, but not byes.. it wouldn't be fair for scores to depend on my wicketkeeping! Most wickets were taken by catches, some 'phantom' by ghost fielders, some by the bowler. Bowlers also shelled a few of course. My older son did manage one bowled wicket against his brother late in the day. It was tough both because we couldn't bowl very accurately and because the 'pitch' was quite irregular, so deviations were quite random. I eventually managed 2 stumpings, one against each son.

    We played for 5 hours (although it added up to only 22 overs.. we took lots of drink breaks!). Nominally I won the 2 v 2 v 2 over: I was given double credit for my runs in advance, because of my age, and actually managed to tie for 'natural' high score (10). Of course, most of my runs were wides and no balls, although I think I did get a couple of singles and one 2. The main match (5 wickets) was won by my older son, something like 36 to 18, but my youngest got even by achieving the only boundary of the day.

    It was loads of fun, and we all learned a lot that you can't learn from just watching on TV/pc. As I said at the start, I don't know that this will interest anyone but me, but if you read it and have any comments, I'd love to hear them.

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    International Debutant adub's Avatar
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    We played for 5 hours (although it added up to only 22 overs.. we took lots of drink breaks!)
    That's why it's often easiest to simply have the esky (cooler) full of beers out on the field with you.
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    International Captain bagapath's Avatar
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    That is just fantastic. Brings back memories of my first brush with the game in 1982. We played with a tennis ball on a dry river bed with a makeshift bat. Getting together every weekend with my mates to learn the game felt like heaven.

    The ball not bouncing above the knee is common for non matting wickets all over the world at the amateur level. Once the bowling action is perfected it will bounce higher.

    I hope you can find some Asian ex pats in your area who play the game on weekends and can take you in their team.


    You must check out the YouTube channels robelinda and robelinda2. He has got thousands of classic videos. Watching clips of Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Dennis lillee is absolute bliss.

    Thanks for sharing your day playing cricket. Loved the post.

    Wish you loads and loads of fun playing/watching/reading up on cricket.
    Last edited by bagapath; 20-08-2014 at 09:19 PM.
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    Ike
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    Thanks both for your responses. There is a group of 'sub-continent' folks here (in Knoxville TN) who have a club, but it seems they only play occasionally, and I've missed the once chance I've had the last few months to watch them. I'd love to play too, but at my age plus lack of experience I think I could only hurt the game. I guess I might be a sub.. can't do too much harm fielding only vs a blank, lol. I'd love to umpire, but I know from football (soccer) experience that you can't be a good ref/umpire without experience playing the game. I'll be happy just watching live cricket!

    As for an esky, we had one about 15 yards from the wicket (the baseball dugout), shaded. No beer though, just soft stuff. We'd never have lasted 5 hours otherwise. We made up for it in the evening however!
    Last edited by Ike; 20-08-2014 at 09:32 PM.
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    International Debutant harsh.ag's Avatar
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    Loved the experience you shared. It's always like that the first time around. And believe me, the next few times is going to be the best cricketing times you will ever have in your life. So, relish this

    Knocking the bat is important, as you already know. It's very hard to get the ball away otherwise. With the tennis ball in hand, one thing you should do is trying to move both your feet as much as possible to get in line with the ball. You can't get hurt, and it's a good way to see the difference good feet movement can make. Even a little helps considerably with balance and shot making, trust me.

    As Bagapath said, go to Robelinda's YouTube channel, and look up a few names in bowling like Ray Lindwall, Dennis Lillee, Michael Holding, and Glenn McGrath. All these had real smooth actions, and replicating them on the field might lead to an early hurrah

    Keep playing, and please keep us posted of other such days

    You are very lucky to have sons like these. Way to go!
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    International Coach Hurricane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    Thanks both for your responses. There is a group of 'sub-continent' folks here (in Knoxville TN) who have a club, but it seems they only play occasionally, and I've missed the once chance I've had the last few months to watch them. I'd love to play too, but at my age plus lack of experience I think I could only hurt the game. I guess I might be a sub.. can't do too much harm fielding only vs a blank, lol. I'd love to umpire, but I know from football (soccer) experience that you can't be a good ref/umpire without experience playing the game. I'll be happy just watching live cricket!

    As for an esky, we had one about 15 yards from the wicket (the baseball dugout), shaded. No beer though, just soft stuff. We'd never have lasted 5 hours otherwise. We made up for it in the evening however!
    I don't see why you couldn't learn to be an umpire in the lower grades. We had a woman umpire in Vancouver who I am certain had never played the game and she was easily the best umpire of the bunch so experience is not essential. But watching a fair few games on TV first is to learn the rules, and then actually reading and understanding the rule book.

    Like Bagapath - I liked every part of your post/story and it was the perfect ending to a long and somewhat trying day. You are a very good poster and you are most welcome to post here as much as you like.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeathDavisSpeed View Post
    I got great enjoyment in going to the game and shouting "WHY THE **** ISN'T THIS GAME BEING PLAYED AT THE BASIN?!>!?!?" to reasonably significant cheers from the sparse crowd
    Proudly against the bring back Bennett movement since he is injury prone and won't last 5 days.

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    Cricketer Of The Year zaremba's Avatar
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    What a fantastic piece, brought a smile to my face. Please keep us posted.

    My tip: always remember the importance of a good appeal when you're bowling, Ike. Something along the lines of "Eisenhower's that"?
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    Ike
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    Thanks for all the responses! Comments on each:

    As for moving the feet, I found that even for me, with no ability and no experience, moving a couple of steps toward the bowler, just as he delivered, made a huge difference. Not sure why, but I only made good contact, and only scored runs, when I moved up a couple of steps. My sons found that it worked too, although the times they moved up and missed, they were so angry they forgot to get back to the crease, and that's when I stumped each of them once.

    If the local club, once I manage to meet them, should have use for an umpire, I'd be happy to try. I've learned most of the rules pretty well, between watching lots of cricket on espn3 and reading the MCC book, although I'm continually learning more. For example, when my boys and I played, we gave free hits for no balls. (We played one day rules, for leg side wides, and for wides, even though we scored as if we were playing a 'test', lol.) The very next day, watching a CPL match (all of which were on espn3), I learned that a free hit is only granted for a foot fault no ball, not for illegal arm delivery, multi-bouncer (don't know the proper term for that), or a high full delivery). So most of our free hits really shouldn't have been.

    As for bowler appeals, I understand that the lbw rules are generally not used in informal games. We probably would have tried to use them anyway, but with the speed of our bowling, no one was ever hit by a ball. so it was a moot point.

    I plan to list some questions in a different thread, but since we're talking of appeals, I'll put one out here. In everything I've read, they talk about 'howzat'. In the 9-10 months I've been watching streaming cricket, I never heard that until once, in one of the England-India tests recently, I did hear a bowler actually say 'howzat', quite distinctly. Otherwise, the appeal always sounds like 'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!' ('a' pronounced as in 'hat', at least with a Yank accent). One long scream. Are bowlers and keepers just screaming a vowel, or are they actually saying something at least slightly related to howzat?

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    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    The main match (5 wickets) was won by my older son, something like 36 to 18, but my youngest got even by achieving the only boundary of the day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    we scored as if we were playing a 'test', lol.
    I see you've been watching India lately
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    Hall of Fame Member Howe_zat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    I plan to list some questions in a different thread, but since we're talking of appeals, I'll put one out here. In everything I've read, they talk about 'howzat'. In the 9-10 months I've been watching streaming cricket, I never heard that until once, in one of the England-India tests recently, I did hear a bowler actually say 'howzat', quite distinctly. Otherwise, the appeal always sounds like 'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!' ('a' pronounced as in 'hat', at least with a Yank accent). One long scream. Are bowlers and keepers just screaming a vowel, or are they actually saying something at least slightly related to howzat?
    How is that, umpire? -> How's that -> howzat -> owzaa -> zaaaa -> aaaaaaaaa

    the dexterous vocabulary has been lost along with the top hats
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    International Debutant Adders's Avatar
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    Wonderful recount of your day and experience Ike and I'm absolutely delighted that your interest in cricket is still there and growing and that you've come back to share it with us. As you can tell from all the positive responses we've all thoroughly enjoyed your postings here........so keep em coming
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    International Vice-Captain Riggins's Avatar
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    cut your losses now and get out.
    The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.

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    Ike
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    More humor in the responses this time.

    Yes, I've been watching India, with amazement. Yes, I can see England winning, but by those margins? Incredible.

    But when I said we were scoring like Test cricket rather than one day, I was thinking of RR.

    And thanks for the explanation of howzat and its evolution. Can't ask for an answer from a better handle. However, in my reading, I get the impression that Howzat arose from How was that? rather than How is that? Do you disagree?

    No point to cutting my losses. I'd just go back to the same thing in baseball. Hell, it's way too much fun.

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    International Captain hendrix's Avatar
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    That method of runscoring is quite common when we don't have enough fielders and/or we can't be bothered running.

    playing with the real leather ball without pads, gloves and a groin protector is kinda bad for batting technique in that you tend to move your body away from the line of the ball. Better to just use the heavy tennis balls or rubber balls.
    A baseball pitch is probably too dry for a real leather ball to bounce properly on and that won't be helped by the lack of pace. So just keep using the heavy tennis balls.

    Did you attempt to put any spin on the ball?
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    U19 Debutant indiaholic's Avatar
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    Hey Ike, absolute pleasure to read the post. As somebody who grew up with cricket all around him, it is difficult to imagine discovering a game like you are doing. Do keep posting.

    And I think it's best to keep playing with a tennis ball till you get some protective gear. Injuries can be nasty..
    Last edited by indiaholic; 25-08-2014 at 08:32 PM.
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