Cricket in the West Indies

Before I even moved to Barbados I heard that the ICC World Twenty20 Cricket matches would be held here and in other parts of the West Indies. I was excited because I have wanted to know more about cricket. I tried to learn about it when I was Trinidad, but never really got the hang of it. I'm starting to get it.

We went to two matches on separate days at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. The video below shows bits and pieces of the matches. What I found out is that Twenty20 cricket is a much shorter, faster-paced sport than all-day cricket or Test cricket (five days, e-gads!). The game is over in about three hours. Each team gets a turn at batting; they are "up" for 20 overs, then the other team has their "ups." The ball, when hit by the batsman, can go anywhere on the oval-shaped field. If the ball reaches the boundary that marks the outer perimeter of the playing field, the batter gets 4 points. That's also called a "boundary." If he (or she) hits it over the boundary, like a "home run," that counts for 6 points. You can get ones and twos for little dribbles and drabbles hit. There are two guys with bats on the cricket pitch. They take turns batting, plus they are both running back and forth between the wickets, sort of like two "home bases."

The "pitchers" are called bowlers. There are two bowlers out there, also taking turns at the batsmen. There's fast bowlers and slow bowlers and spinners. I think that the bowlers are trying to knock the wickets over (they are wooden stumps), so the batsmen are trying to defend the wicket yet still try to hit the ball for some runs. If there is a hit, the ball can be caught in the air for an out, or the ball can be thrown at the wicket, so the fielding player tries to get it there and hit it before the runner gets there.

The stands in the Oval were another thing altogether. There's a lot of noise, a lot of good natured-cheering, there's not a lot of cursing and yelling at "bad calls," and there's lots of loud music and dancing girls and boys. Check out the video for a view into the cricket fan culture.

There, that's an American's view of the game but using some baseball terminology. I loved it. It was great fun. Do I think cricket will catch on in the US? No. They may have abbreviated the game to get more young people (and Americans) into cricket, but the US is pretty saturated with its sports. Cricket is, of course, played in America, but it's played like beach cricket is played here in Barbados, usually pick up games in parks. In Poughkeepsie (where I usually live) there's a significant Jamaican population and there is a pitch on the outskirts of town where I see folks gather on Sundays to play. They dress in cricket whites. I'm sure one can see rousing cricket matches down in Brooklyn and elsewhere. I would love to see cricket in the US. It's a civilized sport.


Marya Zilberberg said...

Sounds like quiddich, no? :)

Meg said...

Tillie thought that, too. Caleb and I looked at her and said, "no! There's not brooms!"