Don’t get stumped by cricket bru

Infographic by Mia Swart

It’s that time of the year again – when camp chairs, people  lathered in sun screen and crowded cars make their way to stadiums to watch cricket.

I use the word “watch” loosely here because even though I have been to many cricket games, I’ve never really watched. I have no recollection of who won and who lost.I don’t even remember who was playing.

What I do recall is the amount of booze that was flowing, getting burnt by the sun and the many details of the “deep meaningful conversations” I had with my friends pitch side. This cricket season I refuse to be a mindless spectator. I want to engage and scream my lungs out like the rest of the crowd. I sought out the help of a few fanatics.

CRICKET-3

Hopefully what they told me will help other people who have been using the cricket as an excuse to work on their phuza faces.

Teams

Let’s start with the teams. There are 11 players on each team. “Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team’s innings,” said student and player, Kagiso Mathaba.

An inning is just one half of the game that each team gets an opportunity to bat or bowl.

Simply, apart from winning, part of the game is to get as many runs as possible without losing too many wickets.

Runs

The fastest way to do this is to hit 4s and 6s. A 4 is when the ball hits the boundary line and a 6 is when the ball is hit clean over that line. The slowest way of getting runs is manually running between the wickets.

Some of the main ways of being taken out are: a direct catch after the ball has been hit by a batsman, LBW (leg before wicket) when the ball hits a batsman’s leg which is directly in line with a wicket.

A  run out is when a batsman fails to make it back to the crease (you might have to look this up, I did). Also each batsman represents a wicket, so by the time 10 wickets/batsmen have been bowled out it’s late for the said team.

Duckworth-Lewis method

What I found most interesting is the fact that a team can win a game without playing an entire game.

Apparently when it rains, the Duckworth-Lewis method is used to calculate how a team would have carried on playing had it not been for the rain – but they have to play for a considerable amount of time for this method to be used.

“It’s a strategic game, it’s as much about playing as it is about thinking – it’s about tactical one-upmanship.

“The greatest thing about cricket is the commentary,” said a sports aficionado in the Wits Vuvuzela newsroom.

It’s all in the hands, from spectators who lift beers to umpires with their customised signals, to commentators who offer visual illustrations of the game as it unfolds.

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Diski 101: a mission to civilise

TIMELINES on twitter are clogged up by constant sports updates on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The most tiresome of the bunch are the football ones, random tweets with things like “foul ref!”, “4-3-3” and “what a cross”.

Maybe a little understanding of the so-called beautiful game would lead to less annoyance come kick-off time. I decided to find out what the basics are, so that I too can get angry when people are offside and tweet about it.

Along with this I am on a mission, like Will McAvoy, to civilise, to reform the poor spectator abilities of those of us who watch for ‘hunks of the week’ instead of ‘sportsmen of the week’.

Soccer versus football

Firstly there is a whole debate about whether to call it soccer or football, football or soccer.

“It’s fashionable to be angry and indignant at people who call it soccer instead of football, it’s f***ing bullshit” said one dreadlocked enthusiast.

He went on to explain that people have become obsessed with calling it football as a way to defy the Americans. They call it soccer so as not to be confused with their American football, also known as fake rugby.

“Just because European football is considered better, now all of a sudden we want to change what we’ve been calling the game for years, it’s soccer man!” said someone in the newsroom.

Good on those who choose to colour outside of the lines drawn by those in the land of the free, but let’s just stick to local lingo and go for diski.

I went around asking semi-keen people what they were unsure about or wanted clarity on when it came to diski. The responses included “what the hell is offside”, “are the soccer players single?” and “what do those numbers like 3-5-2 stand for”.

Offside rule

The offside rule is actually quite an easy one to wrap your head around and once you do, the game starts making sense.

The FIFA rule book says “It is not an offence in itself to be in an offside position. A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent”.

Student and avid football lover Brendan Zietsman said to imagine this scenario:

“You are at a club and you see a girl/guy you like. Another person has seen the girl/guy too and they have a drink in their hand for that person. Your friend slides you a drink across the bar to give to the girl/guy. It would be wrong of you to step in front of the other person before their drink has left their hand. That is offside”. Simple.

4-3-3: Formations in football or soccer (whatever you call it) are used to ensure flexible play but given the fluidity of the game they can become redundant. Graphic: Provided
4-3-3: Formations in football or soccer (whatever you call it) are used to ensure flexible play but given the fluidity of the game they can become redundant. Graphic: Provided

 Hotties on the pitch

The second response points to the question on many minds when they watch 22 men running around after a patent leather ball. I will admit that I am one of those people.

When the teams line up I watch out for a hottie to keep my eyes on for the 90 minutes that will follow. Every team has that one player who captivates the imaginations of those of us who aren’t ‘fans’.

Formations

3-5-2, 4-3-3 and 4-5-1 are “those numbers” which indicate a team’s planned formation for the game. Formations are used to strategically place players across the field, to enable them to attack and defend in the best ways possible.

Now to watch a match to see if I scream “offside” at the television with confidence.