What’s So Good About Cricket?




What’s So Good About Cricket?

Cricket is a dynamic, exciting, challenging and most importantly FUN ‘bat and ball’ team sport that is perfect for children and adults of both genders. It is a non-contact sport that can be played indoors or outdoors, for short periods of time or for days on end. The sport is accessible to players of all levels of ability and fitness, and significantly improves participants levels of physical fitness and stamina; hand-eye co-ordination; mental fitness, agility, and tactical awareness; as well as the social abilities to work as a significant individual within partnership and team contexts. All of these benefits, and more, make cricket an exceptional sport for all members of the community, but especially for children.

What is Needed to Play?

All you need is a cricket bat and a ball. It helps to have the special cricket ‘wickets’, but these are not essential. Therefore, cricket is an inexpensive sport that can be played almost anywhere, and is easy to start playing and get excited by.

How is Cricket Played?

Cricket is played between two opposing teams (generally of 6 to 11 players per team), and can be played either indoors or outdoors. It can be played with an extremely hard ball and protective equipment, or with a softer ball that is preferable for children or beginners, or for informal games in public places.

Each team scores runs (points) only when batting. The most common way to score runs is for a player from the batting team to hit the ball away and then quickly sprint as many times as possible between two points 20m apart before the opposing team returns the ball. Two players from the batting team bat together, starting at opposing ends of the 20m zone and deciding together if they are able to successfully change places (i.e. complete the ‘run’) before the opposition team returns the ball. The aim of the batting team is to score as many runs as possible before it is the end of their team’s turn to bat.

The team that is not batting is called the ‘fielding’ team and works together to try to stop the batting team from completing runs successfully. A player from the fielding team bowls (serves/pitches) the ball, trying to make it as hard as possible for the batter to hit the ball away, and then all players of the fielding team work together to return the ball as quickly as possible, stopping the batting team from scoring extra runs.

When the batting team’s turn has finished, they have a score that they cannot change. The ‘target score’ then becomes this score +1. The teams change positions and the other team bats, trying to reach the ‘target score’ before the end of their batting turn. If they succeed, they win. If not, they lose!

What Skills and Strengths Do Players Use?

When batting, players use hand-eye co-ordination and strength to attempt to hit a ball that is coming towards them as well as moving both vertically and horizontally. At professional levels, this ball moves at speeds of up to 150km/hr. Batters need individual skill to achieve this. Batters also need to work together as a partnership to make cognitive decisions about whether or not to attempt to run the 20m before the fielding team can return the ball. This requires individual judgement as well as immediate mutual decision making and agreement. Physical fitness to run quickly over a short distance and then be mentally ready to concentrate on hitting the next ball is also required. When batting as the 2nd team to bat, the batters also need to think about reaching the ‘target score’ before their team’s batting turn finishes.

When bowling, players use hand-eye co-ordination and physical agility/co-ordination/strength to ‘bowl’ the ball in a movement that is unique to cricket: the arm releasing the ball must remain straight and must be above the waist (generally, over the head) when releasing the ball. The bowler must also use mental strength and tactics to decide where and how to bowl the ball to make it as hard as possible for the batter to hit the ball away.

When fielding, players use hand-eye co-ordination to stop, catch, and throw the ball. They use physical fitness and stamina to chase the ball fast and to remain alert for long periods at a time. They use mental and tactical awareness to decide where best to stand to get to the ball as quickly as possible (i.e. where do they think this particular batter is most likely to hit the ball?). Bowlers and fielders often work together to make these strategic decisions.

Is Cricket Popular?

Cricket is the 2nd most popular sport in the world, 2nd only to football. The Cricket Board of India is the richest sporting body in the world, and there are 106 countries officially recognised by the International Cricket Council (www.icc-cricket.com). Many other nations play cricket but are not yet officially recognised (this was Hungary’s status until July 2012)

How long has cricket been played in Hungary?

Cricket was reportedly first played in Hungary in the 15th century, in the courts of King Matyas. More recently, there was some occasional cricket played in various parts of the country in the 1990s and early 2000s. Cricket in an organised and structured way began in Hungary in 2007, with six men’s teams participating in the first official Hungarian Cricket League.

How many people play in Hungary?

In 2012, approximately 300 Women, Men, Girls and Boys regularly trained or played cricket in Hungary. Approximately half of these players are children. The majority live in or near Budapest, but cricket is also played in Szekesfehervar, Szolnok, and Bekescsaba.

How can I find out more about cricket in Hungary?

Go to www.hungary4cricket.com, the official website of the Hungarian Cricket Association.

Can I play cricket too?

Of course you can! Write to the Hungarian Cricket Association at info@hungary4cricket.com to find out how you can PLAY CRICKET!