When researching for Thursday in History this week, I happened to catch out of the corner of my eye that on this day in 1899, the highest ever recorded cricket score was achieved by A. E. J. Collins, with 628 runs not out.
Since I’m an American, and cricket is a sport that is completely incomprehensible to me, I glanced at it and scrolled onward. But that word kept appearing. I kept seeing “...cricketer” in the list of notable births and deaths. So I decided to write about it anyway, since June 27th seems to be a big day for the game.
Cricket is a sport popular in the UK and in the former British Empire. It is played on a circular lawn, or pitch, which is 22 yards long. Matches can last up to five days (or maybe they’re supposed to last for five days?) and are played with eleven men to a team. I guess the American colonies gained their independence before it got really popular, because here in the states we know nothing about it.
Sometimes we try to understand it by saying that it’s “like baseball,” but the only similarities I can see are the fact that both of them are played by hitting a ball with a stick. Saying cricket is like baseball is saying that Formula 1 racing is like Nascar. Sure, the basic idea is the same, but the rules, the spectators, and the entire feeling of the sport is completely different.
The amount Americans know about cricket wouldn’t even allow them to be able to tell if they were actually watching cricket or not.
(Hint: the men in this video are not playing cricket.)
Congratulations, everyone in the world who loves cricket. Happy birthday to Charley Macartney (1886-1958), Bob Appleyard (1924), Kevin Pietersen (1980), and Dale Steyn (1983).
And maybe one of these days you can explain to the residents of the United States what exactly the function of a wicket is.