Cricket needs little introduction in India as we
can safely say that it's the most popular sport
in the country. We know the game by heart and the
legends on the tips of our tongues. So we can consider
this a revision of sorts for our kids. Just to make
sure we give them the right guidance to play a fun
Cricket can be played in 2 styles: Test cricket
and One day cricket. Test cricket generally lasts
for five days where each team / side has 2 innings.
One day cricket is played for a day only and each
side has an inning each.
Essentially the game is played between 2 teams.
One team sends out a man with a bat on the field.
He has to stand in front of 3 sticks with bales
balanced on them. They're wickets. He has to face
the other team who is entirely present on the field
as fielders and sends a bowler to bowl a season
ball, a ball specially made out of leather for the
game, which the batsman has to hit with the bat.
If the ball hits the wickets he is out. If he does
hit the ball he needs to run with his singular partner
who's standing at the opposite wicket as a runner.
They need to run to and fro till the ball is retrieved
by the fielders of the opponents. That is the basic
nature of cricket.
DO YOU NEED ?
You need to concentrate on 3 areas before playing
cricket. Equipment, Players and Location.
The equipment requirements of cricket are a bit
painstaking but only go to making the game safer
and more fun for your kids. The game is more than
just a bat and a ball and wickets. It's all about
padding up and wearing the right gear to get into
the role of a master player.
Shoes : Since
cricket is played on lawns one needs to be careful
that your child's footwear provides good grip. Essentially
the shoes need to be comfortable since cricket has
always been a leisure sport. So any kind of tennis
shoes would prove sufficient. But if you'd like
your child to play the sport as it is prescribed
then one should carefully consider the sole of the
shoe. Make sure that it provides a decent grip with
pimpled rubber soles or spikes or a combination
Generally batsmen and fast bowlers prefer spikes
for better grip. Fielders and wicket keepers can
do with ordinary rubber soled shoes.
Batting Pads : While batting you must be
careful about two things. The bat and the rather
hard season ball. And the most important part of
you that you must protect is your shins. The ball
may sometimes find its way through your bat defence
and land up hitting your child's shins which could
prove very painful. Similarly the bat could also
miss and accidentally hit the shins. Which is why
shin pads for batting are essential. Make sure you
secure them well enough to protect your kid's shins
but at the same time not hinder his movements while
Box : Probably the most important guarding
equipment for boys since it protects the part which
can prove the most painful. The area we're talking
about is the groin region and the box is an essential
protection for batsmen and wicketkeepers.
The Bat : You can't play cricket without
a bat. This makes the selection of the bat for your
child so very important. You will need to pay attention
to the height of the bat and its weight. The easiest
test is to make your child hold the bat upright
next to him or her. The top of the bat should reach
the top of your child's thigh.
As for weight, bats vary from piece to piece and
it depends on the kind of wood used to craft the
bat. When your kid just starts playing cricket,
it is advisable to go in for a lighter bat. It would
be easy for him to manoeuvre it and would also encourage
him to play more. The easiest way to test if the
bat weight is perfect is to swing the bat. If your
child can make a good swing and a back swing without
much effort, the bat is perfect.
Batting Gloves : Your child's fingers must
be protected in cricket since the season ball is
a hard ball. The gloves are specially designed with
foam padding for each finger to make the sport safer
and more fun.
Helmets : Though a helmet is a must when
your child goes out to bat, invariably they may
not use it. Their excuse? It is cumbersome and a
pain to carry around. It may not be a practical
protection, but try and insist your child wear one.
Make sure your child's helmet also has a face guard
too for added protection.
Clothes : Cricket is traditionally played
in white clothes. They keep the body cool during
the summers and don't distract the 13 players on
field. But as time has gone by coloured clothes
are commonplace in cricket. All you need for cricket
nowadays is a short or long sleeved t-shirt or jumper
and a pair of comfortable slacks or track pants.
Stumps : These 3 sticks spell life and
death for a batsman. They are made out of willow
wood and are 28 inches high. There are two sets,
one on each end of the pitch. On top of the wickets
are 2 bales. If the bowler manages to knock these
over while bowling or if the batsman is stumped
during a run, the batsman is out! The stumps are
an essential feature of the game though often in
gully cricket even chalk lines on a wall or three
pieces of wood do just fine.
The Ball : A cricket ball is made out of
two halves of leather stitched together and filled
inside with cork. It is a hard ball and the seam
where the halves are stitched adds to the uniqueness
of the ball. It is also known as a season ball.
You could get your child a season ball, but if you
prefer that he play a safer game, a tennis or rubber
ball would do just as well.
Stumps (two sets of 3 stumps each)
The above prices are indicative prices and
may vary according to the quality / brand
Cricket ideally needs 22 people and a couple of
extras. Divide the teams into 11 each, the two teams
will take turns in batting and bowling. A sequence
of bowlers should be decided upon from the bowling
side and the sequence of batters from the other.
The bowlers should assign one wicket keeper and
the fielding positions of the other team members.
When the first batsman comes onto the pitch he will
be followed by the second one too and he will act
as the runner, standing on the bowler's stump, ready
to run when the batsman hits the ball. The children
should also choose an umpire to manage decisions
of the game.
Cricket is primarily played on an open lawn or an
'oval' where a strip of earth is called the pitch.
It is flanked by the stumps on either end where
the bowler and batsman will take their positions.
The field should be large enough to hold the fielders
in position and a boundary must be set to give the
batsmen a target beyond which they hit a 4 and a
LET'S PLAY !
The 2 teams toss a coin at the start to decide who
will bat and who will bowl. The batting team will
send in a batsman and a runner who will take up
their position at the stumps. The umpire will stand
at the bowler's stumps. He traditionally dresses
in white and observes the game silently. The bowler
runs up to the crease and tosses the ball. The batsman
has to hit the ball with his bat as far as he can.
If he crosses the boundary, he scores a four and
if the ball reaches the audience and beyond he scores
a six. If the ball rolls anywhere in between it
is the job of the fielders to retrieve it. In the
meantime the batsmen are supposed to run to each
others stumps. With their first switch they score
1 run. They need to keep doing this till they discover
that running would be unsafe. Because if they are
not in their crease (the area around the stump)
they can be stumped by the wicketkeeper or any of
the opponents who throw the ball at the wicket!
After the bowlers finish their innings of 50 overs
(in a one-day) they switch sides and take up the
batting stance. The team which makes the maximum
number of runs wins.