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Cricket is, like baseball, a "bat and ball" game in which bowlers "bowl" the ball and batsmen try to hit "shots" with a bat and score runs for their team. As in baseball, batsmen are "out" if their shot is caught, or if they don't get to a "safe haven" in time when they're making runs.

What is very different, however, is the time taken to play the game. In cricket, a single game in the traditional "Test match" format can take five full days to complete! But thankfully there are shorter formats for people who love to play the game but also have to go to work sometimes. Cricket has been a team sport in Britain for hundreds of years. Even though there is evidence that the game existed in England as early as the twelfth century, it wasn't until the eighteenth century that it became a well-organized sport. This resulted from cricket's growing popularity within traditional gentlemen's clubs, especially in London.

These clubs were devoted to their wealthy members' enjoyment of eating, drinking, gambling and sports. Cricket was the perfect game for such gentlemen. It was not too demanding physically and could be played with dignity even by slightly older gentlemen, unlike more athletic games such as football and rugby. In , the development of the game took a step forward with the formation of the Marylebone Cricket Club by a group of powerful and wealthy cricket lovers. The MCC also became the governing body of cricket in England, in which it still has a role to this day, and also governed international cricket until when the ICC International Cricket Council was formed.

One of the biggest changes to the game in the nineteenth century was the replacement of under-arm bowling with over-arm bowling. This meant one of the most exciting parts of the game, fast bowling, was now possible. International matches also began in the nineteenth century, with the first match being between the U. While the game never became popular in these two countries, it became very popular in most Commonwealth countries and an international system of "Test matches" between these countries soon developed. Test cricket is the most demanding form of the game, with matches lasting up to five days.

In the late twentieth century, shorter forms of the game developed, such as One Day Internationals and the Twenty20 format. These developed in order to satisfy demands for shorter, faster games that would make exciting viewing on television. An example of this development is the Cricket World Cup, a tournament in the one-day limited-over format, which is held every four years and has now become the world's third most viewed sporting event. Cricket, like most other sports, has now become very big business, and the media form a major source of income for teams, players and governing bodies alike.

A cricket match is usually played between two teams of eleven players on an oval-shaped grass field. In the centre of the field is a strip of hardened turf 22 yards At each end a set of three tubular stakes called "stumps" are stuck upright in the earth with two small pieces of wood, called bails , balanced across the top of each set. These are the wickets , and a batsman stands in front of a wicket with his long wooden bat as he waits for a bowler to bowl the hard, fist-sized ball.

The bowler bowls from just beside the wicket at the other end of the pitch. At the same time, the other members of the bowler's team stand in various positions around the field acting as fielders. If the batsman misses the ball, and the ball hits the wickets, he is out and his turn to bat is over. If he hits the ball into the air and a fielder catches it, he is out. If a ball which the umpire thinks is going to hit the wicket is blocked by batsman's legs, he is out lbw leg before wicket.

Indians are transforming all grounds to look like matches being played in their country by occupying nearly 80 percent of the seats. As team India will play England sporting the new orange coloured team jersey, that has created a lot of debate. Indian fans have now made a joke out of it saying that all Pakistan fans will now avoid buying oranges in England!.

Amidst all the drama, Virat Kohli, after the pre-match press conference, posed for photographers with the new T-shirt in different angles and stood like a boy receiving his first team jersey. All teams had come with hope, and some were labelled as likely to be the champions. The phase after they know that they are out of the tournament is the toughest as they play with the feeling of letting down their fans.

Teams like South Africa and the West Indies have not allowed themselves to sink into sorrow. In the match against Sri Lanka, the South African players played with a smile on their face. So then we try and get away from the game and make sure that there is still a bit of fun away from the game. During the match, players had to duck to avoid a swarm of bees that invaded the ground. Looked like someone had just run a machine-gun through all the players on the field, and everyone is down on the ground. India and West Indies played hard cricket at Old Trafford on Thursday, but their fans sat and enjoyed the match in a cordial manner.

Though the West Indies fans were outnumbered by the Indians, it was difficult to identify who the West Indies fans were supporting. They cheered for India too, despite losing by a mammoth runs! Since many of them are of Indian origin, televisions reporters looking to spot West Indies fans for comments had a tough time. However, their flags and T-shirts helped in identifying them. A few years ago we used to dominate the world, and when we win matches we crush our opponents.

Now that happens only sometimes. It looks like the organisers have just this one. But for the Caribbean fans, it did not matter whether the song was in praise of India. Win or lose, their responses are the same. So in the end one wondered whether they were really the supporters of a team that had just been thrashed out of the World Cup! What matters to West Indies' fans is exciting cricket, and if any of their batsmen hit sixes, they celebrate on the field for a long time.

An Indian fan compared West Indies to electricity in the Indian states. Their shots just don't go all the way out of the ground like a power-cut day. The lyrics names every West Indies cricketer as a champion, but at the end of the day at Old Trafford, they realised that they cannot be champions this time.

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UAE based coach Gopal Jasapara, who is well known to the West Indies team, was invited to their team hotel after the match. He was managing Chris Gayle during the T10 tournament and pacer Fabian Allen, with whom he has a very close relationship. They posed for a picture with him putting their arm around him. An elderly volunteer was heard telling a young Indian volunteer, who had never seen Srikkanth, that he was the top scorer in the final when India beat the West Indies. Manchester: The Pakistan players may soon be a guide for how to not let critics affect you, and resist chasing after them like a batsman chases an outswinger to get caught behind.

They could also turn experts in handling scathing remarks that fly their way like deadly yorkers. Akhtar, who had referred to Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad as brainless, seems to have had a brainwave of his own after the triumph over the Black Caps at Edgbaston. A journalist remarked that it was good of Arthur not to have done what he had said as Pakistan may have had to play in the semi-final without a coach. So then the question remains that is it only the fans who are affected? Old Trafford is the home of the Lancashire county team. Just before the start of the match, the two were given the honour of carrying the World Cup trophy into the ground.

Both of them have won many matches for this county during their playing days. Engineer, who used to have jet black hair in his playing days, was the first Indian cricketer to endorse the hair product Brylcreem. Today that black hair has turned into a nice grey. After the trophy presentation, year-old Engineer walked slowly past the pitch on which he has played some superb knocks and taken breathtaking catches as wicketkeeper.

For any Indian cricketer who wishes to be inspired on how to handle a West Indies attack, it is him. Fifty-two-years-ago, in , on a hot day in the Madras now Chennai Test, Engineer played one of the greatest knocks in Test cricket, playing it like an ODI. Facing the hostile pace of two of the greatest West Indies pacers, Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith, he smashed a century without a helmet. He cracked 94 before lunch and completed his century with a six. What is notable about the grounds in England and the county teams is their continued reverence to those who have contributed to their team.

A sketch of Pakistan pacer Wasim Akram, who had played for them for 10 seasons, can be seen on the walls of the stadium describing his contribution for the team. His academy will play in the ninth edition of the Epsom Cricket Festival from July 5. London: The disappointment among England fans after their team crashed to their third defeat seemed to have shattered them. Rain has stopped affecting matches in England but after this defeat, England is in deep waters. Former England captain Michael Vaughan did a near Shoaib Akhtar, who had called Pakistan skipper Safaraz Ahmad as brainless but in a decent manner, saying that England has had a brain freeze.

The media lounge is an interesting meeting place. One gets to interact with different sections of the media while the commentators gather there for their breakfast, lunch and tea. It gives an opportunity to catch up with the greats of the game - many of whom I have followed over the years.

A kind television reporter quickly clicked a picture and gave me - saying that rarely does one get the opportunity to be standing between two great cricket legends, one who broke all records and one who is the current holder of all records in world cricket. Many subcontinent fans are upset that Ben Stokes kicked his bat after he got yorked by Mitchell Starc. This is because in the sub-continent, anything that is used to earn your living is always treated with respect and revered. In , she had switched from tennis to play cricket as she wanted to get the feel of playing a team sport before returning to tennis again.

Cricket Australia immediately put out a picture of her with Australian skipper Aaron Finch. At Manchester, West Indies are gearing up with a hope to shock the Indians. Among them is West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell, who has a unique way of celebration after taking a wicket. He salutes at the dismissed batsman like an army officer giving marching orders.

All ardent Virat Kohli fans believe that if the Indian captain gets into form, Cottrell may be forced to pray looking skywards in the end. Though fans also enjoy watching Gayle in full form, the Indian fans want Gayle to fail here. Fans had carried things like small trumpets and drums, or rather anything and everything that could make noise, including a steel plate and spoon, into the ground.

After reporting matches of the sub-continent teams, it seemed to me like these fans were walking towards a place of worship than for a World Cup match. It took me a trip down memory lane, and from the modern media box, I kept staring at the balcony from where Kapil Dev had received the World Cup. That victory changed the history of the World Cup and showed the way to sub-continent teams that they too can aspire to win the prestigious trophy. In 15 days on July 10, Gavaskar will be celebrating his 70th birthday, and earlier in the year on February 12, Viswanath had turned They clap for every good ball or every good shot only after the action is completed, unlike other places where fans cheer the bowler all the way till the batsman plays the ball or if the batsman plays a good shot then the cheers never end even after the next ball is bowled.

He was the first man to take a hat-trick in One Day Internationals and is now a columnist for Pakistan newspaper Dawn. He recalled that I had once interviewed him in the UAE.

At a time when everyone is glorifying those who have taken a hat-trick, very few know that he is the man who did it first in against Australia at the Niaz Stadium in Hyderabad. He revealed that he got to play in that match since Imran Khan was unfit, and he then went on to play in six Tests and eight one-dayers. Yuvraj Singh has ended all speculations that he may play in the Pakistan Super League in UAE when he announced that he had actually sought permission from the Indian cricket board to play in the Global T20 tournament that is set to begin from July Suri, after managing to take a selfie with Brian Lara here, said he is delighted that he will be with Singh, Kieron Pollard and Brendon McCullum, who are also in same the team, for a few days in Canada.

At the entrance of Southampton Central was the a picture of Johnny Bairstow. At a time when England team is a little low following the loss to Sri Lanka, it is important that their players express themselves on the field and lift the morale of their disappointed fans. With the sun coming out to play over the past few days, my travel through the green country side was very refreshing. It wiped away the tiredness of waking early to catch the train.

As soon as I entered the press box, I met with the legendary pacer Waqar Younis. He noted that if Pakistan win over South Africa, they would be able to regain their lost confidence. I was seated with all the journalists from Pakistan in one row, and it felt like we are all back in the UAE reporting on the Pakistan Super League. Tahir is known to celebrate his wickets sprinting across the field.

Since he is playing his last World Cup, he should be allowed to run all the way out of the field in his last match. He deserves a running ovation rather than a standing one for his remarkable spirit at the age of 40, and as the oldest player of the tournament. Memories of some of the great matches held here come flooding back to my mind.

In the World Cup, the first match of that edition was held here and even now I can feel the excitement of reporting that match between Sri Lanka and England from the old press box of this venue. Twenty years have passed since that match, and I have been fortunate to report many more matches from this historic venue over the years - now from the new-look media centre. Thanks to the International Cricket Council ICC , they permitted me to enter the stadium with my suitcase, like I was checking into a hotel. The scenes in Southampton after the India-Afghanistan match were extremely heartening.

Indian fans were seen consoling their Afghanistan counterparts who were on the edge of their seats hoping to witness history. They had screamed all day - hoping that their team would do the impossible. In the end, the whole stadium stood up and applauded the Afghanistan team for their courageous performance. When Mohammad Nabi fell after a fighting knock, he received a standing ovation from the Indian fans. They are nice people and they cook lovely food.

Afghanistan players spend most of their time in UAE and train at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium and hence, they have many friends in Dubai. Many believe that cricketers are paving the way for peace in their country with most youngsters focusing on cricket. There is no win or loss between us. Southampton: England fans are in gloom after their team, touted as favourites, crashed to their second defeat of the World Cup to Sri Lanka.

Following the defeat, many journalists in the Press box felt that if a sub-continent team was to host the World Cup and their team lost like the way England did, it could have been a national disaster. England had earlier lost to Pakistan, too, and now — to Sri Lanka. If England lose to India as well, then the message will be loud and clear that only countries where the majority of the people love the game and are mad about this sport, can go on to win big matches.

Local newspapers have given predominance to soccer even when the World Cup is on, and this has irritated sub-continent journalists who had gone on to remark that such secondary treatment to the game is a snub for the World Cup. It is a fact that the stadiums are full mainly due to fans from the sub-continent who outnumber other fans, including host England. Interestingly, even before the World Cup has ended, England players were making comments on winning the Ashes! After Malinga emerged as the hero, the discussion was on whether the curls on his hair are real or fake.

On Friday, England players found his deliveries as mysterious as his hair. Despite his age, neither has his hair greyed nor have his deliveries lost the pace. It is not all work and no play for journalists this Friday. At the Hampshire Bowl, the India-Afghanistan pre-match press conference was held at their indoor cricket facility. Since there were a bat, ball and stumps, many journalists decided to practice like the two teams. With no pads and the quick surface, many were hit on their leg but their enthusiasm to emulate the teams kept them going. Incidentally, the ICC has organsied a cricket match for the media on July 7 in Manchester, two days before the first semi-final.

This match will be played between journalists from England and the Rest of the World. Afghanistan fans came to Hampshire Bowl ground cheering all the way despite knowing that it would be tough for their team to beat India. It is well known that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is not only following the fortunes of his team but also offering them advice. When cricket is the most popular game in subcontinent countries, it is now important for leaders of the countries to keep a tab on events around the game.

Thus a sporting tweet goes a long way. One can well imagine the pressure on every India player when the whole country is focused on their performance. Dhoni was seen bowling to some batsmen to help them improve their technique. In fact, after his playing days, Dhoni is likely to be regularly visiting his Cricket Academy he has set up in Dubai. Most Team India players look up to him not only as a guide, but also for a morale boost. To remain as fit as possible, they work out every part of their body through arm, leg and shoulder strengthening exercises before sharpening their skills.

Watching them work so hard and the pain they endure, one tends to feel bad for them when they are criticised heavily after a failure. They train to take catches in this chilly weather when even lifting your luggage hurts the palm. Hand-warmers are used by all, but it still hurts when the catches are hit hard and when they train for slip catches. The good part about it is that they make sure they laugh and enjoy the process. Rohit Sharma was seen cracking jokes whenever he missed throwing the ball to a single stump. The Bowl, home for the Hampshire County team, shows great respect for cricketers, cricket commentators, and writers.

That tradition of admiring and adoring great players was displayed by the children when they mixed with Kohli. They were thrilled to listen to him and be close to him. One also spots on the wall a list of Hampshire cricketers who became Wisden Cricketers of the year from , the last being Kevin Pietersen. The value attributed to Wisden Almanack made me feel proud that as writer I too got the opportunity to contribute to this historic book this year. At venues where cricket is revered, it feels like the game spontaneously blossoms to it full beauty.


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Southampton: Be it a cricketer, reporter or an official, all are on the road during the World Cup. Since trains are a convenient way to get around the UK, one can also say that most of them are on the rails.


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  4. Unlike the World Cup in Australia, here one does not have to fly for long hours to reach the next venue. After a cricketer plays a brilliant knock in a match, he is sometimes given a title by writers as well as fans. Kane Williamson, after his stupendous match-winning unbeaten century against South Africa, is being addressed as King Kane.

    When England skipper Eoin Morgan hit his aggressive century, he was called Superman. However, whether West Indies Chris Gayle plays a breezy knock or goes for a duck, he will remain the Universe Boss for everyone. Is it a coincidence that teams that do not have players with such titles are not doing well?

    The absence of players with such fear-evoking monikers is showing in their performances too. Afghanistan team players who got involved in a restaurant brawl are now being criticised for showing their aggressive traits off the field rather than in it. Many wanted to know whether the league would go back to Sharjah again.

    Similarly, when news that Yuvraj Singh, who had recently retired from cricket, had sought permission from the BCCI to play in a league abroad, many thought that Yuvraj may have requested to play in the PSL next year, which is also likely to be held in UAE. At Southampton, when the Indian players came out for practice, many onlookers spotted that Hardik Pandya, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, captain Virat Kohli, and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni had all had a haircut. This diary was being written right next to where the India team is training but a slight drizzle has forced me to run for the cover to protect my laptop.

    While on one side Bhuvneshwar Kumar is being attended by the Indian team physiotherapist for his hamstring injury by making him run up and down the steps, on the ground Rishabh Pant, who recently joined the team, was seen doing arm strengthening exercises. The way the team warmed up with a football game made one wonder whether these guys would be good enough to carve out a career in football if they never made it as cricketers.

    Eoin Morgan, who captains Kerala Knights in the T10 League, drew the attention of many to this UAE-borne tournament on the eve of his match against Afghanistan when asked about his numerous likes on Instagram. Is his love for the T10 format which helped him hit that breezy century against Afghanistan? The top revenue earner during this rain-affected World Cup must surely be the restaurants, since nearly all of them seem to be doing brisk business. There are a number of Indian restaurants all over, but the surprising thing is that not all of them working there are Indians.

    After listening to the entire conversation, the waiter informed him that he was a Bangladeshi! Most of the waiters in Indian restaurants are from Bangladesh. In Birmingham, when the New Zealand and South African cricketers peeped out of their dressing room window to look at the skies, a fan remarked that they looked like chickens peeping out to find out whether the sun was out so that they could search for their food. Southampton: Cricketers could soon come to the conclusion that yawning without covering their mouth could impact their career.

    Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad has realised that a yawn could end up putting his captaincy in danger since the image of him yawning during Cricket World Cup defeat to India on Sunday, that too while keeping wickets, has gone viral. Though many angry fans have said that he should head home and get enough sleep, there is also a group who support him. According to them, he was about to sneeze and his critics have converted it into a yawn. However, had he followed the etiquette of covering his mouth while yawning — or sneezing, for that matter — it would have been helpful. An India-Pakistan match is emotionally draining for most.

    Cricket Vocabulary

    The pressure and tension affects cricketers, the volunteers, who had a tough time, and journalists too. On the train back from Manchester to London, there were many fans and journalists and most of them were not just yawning, but sleeping. Sehwag, who had given many bowlers sleepless nights, preferred not to take a nap. Very few know that this Amritsar-born cricketer had once hit an unbeaten 39 on a fast Georgetown wicket to help Rahul Dravid complete his century and go on to score runs in Though he played only three Test matches, he took six wickets in his debut match against Zimbabwe in After listening to hours of screaming fans in Manchester and reaching a quiet Southampton, I feel like my ears have opened up after a block.

    All matches between subcontinental teams can be very noisy, and in some stadiums even the window panes rattle. A volunteer from England remarked that one day these fans would literally bring the roof of a stadium down. An Indian journalist has found a way to keep away the noise as he always puts on headphones, and many think he works for the television since his ears are always covered. He discovered this method when he was once seated in the overflow area of the press box with the crowd.

    His remarks have proved that Akhtar is brainy enough to ensure good viewership for his channel. Casual comments from fans are always imaginative. Manchester: India and Pakistan fans came to the ground taunting each other. Fans from both countries cheered with fierce enthusiasm for their team right from the start. When India began to dominate proceedings, Pakistan fans were silenced. And when in the end India recorded a crushing victory, many of their fans, though they celebrated the victory, did not go about mocking Pakistan fans.

    India had dominated the match throughout, except for the phase when Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman threatened to steer their team to the target. The Bharat Army, the noisy cheerleaders of the India fans, had a huge flag and the faithful made sure that it fluttered throughout the match, while Pakistan had only a few occasions to wave their flags. In the end, when Pakistan were asked to score runs in five overs, it seemed as if even the rain rule was mocking at them.

    Shoaib Malik, who has often been the star performer against India, was targeted by the fans following his duck. Some even pointed out that he had wrapped his fingers with tape to avoid feeling the pain while fielding, and was snubbed saying he had four kilos of plaster to every finger and his hands resembled like a boxer. Rain tried to show its importance time and again and announced that the match was being held at its mercy.

    However fans were very happy that at least 90 overs could be played. Despite his wife recovering from a knee surgery and on crutches, he flew in with her for the match. Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz slipped and fell on his follow through, and Indian skipper Virat Kohli walked up to him and checked if he was fine. There were many fans who had stitched the India and Pakistan team jersey together and worn them as one. So could we then say that the spirit of cricket overrides all political differences between the two countries? The first thing almost every cricket fan in Manchester is likely to have done on waking up would be to look at the sky for any sign of clouds.

    A number of fans are in the same hotel as mine, from where one can get a good view of the Old Trafford ground. If you have a ticket for an India-Pakistan match, then you can consider yourself a rich man because there are people willing to give you any money to get it. When the ticket sales were opened, they were sold out in minutes and over , people had applied for them. The seating capacity is only 19, Restaurants here today have opened earlier than usual to cater to the demands from the Indian and Pakistan fans with dishes that cater to their taste. Keeping in mind the likelihood of rain, many fried items were listed on the menu displayed outside.

    Pav Bhaji, which is popular in both countries, was misspelt as Pow Bhaji.

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    Since cricket is a war without any armed ammunition, was it deliberately misspelt to remind people of the Prisoners of War POW? One really does not know. But interestingly, they also had Gunpowder Fries on their menu! The ICC has always served English breakfast to journalists, but today they included items that catered to the large number of journalists who are here from India and Pakistan.

    Channa Masala and Paratha was just one among the many.

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    There was also a special mention that all chicken would be Halal. Lunch included Chicken Makhani and Daal tarka. The menu for the big day was displayed during the pre-match press conference and hence a few journalists were heard saying that they would come in earlier than usual since they had been getting only English breakfast at all their hotels. Black-marketeers looking for potential buyers are like mosquitoes buzzing around your ear. Hopefully not many more people will ask me for tickets. Posters inviting every fan was stuck on the walls outside Old Trafford.

    Considering the possibility of arguments taking place between fans, the ICC has prominently displayed at the entrance items that are banned from being taken into the ground. These include knives and large flags with protruding poles - those longer than a hand width. Although Virat Kohli is hailed as one of the finest batsmen in the game today, after failing against Pakistan once, he is said to have had a sleepless night. I hadn't experienced anything like that before, and I played a very bad shot,. After that I couldn't sleep until six in the morning. I was looking at the ceiling and thinking to myself I've been flown in, and now I'm finished.

    The Indian captain was then dismissed by Shahid Afridi for 16 in that match and India lost to Pakistan by 54 runs. Then when he was queried on which was his funniest moment during an India-Pakistan match, he could not explain, but laughed recalling it. I can't explain the incident clearly, but it happened during the World Cup.

    In Mohali there was a small incident that I witnessed from the opposition side But that was quite funny. I was standing with the strikers, and I heard a conversation, which as I said, I can't elaborate here. But its a high pressure game World Cup flags flutter on either sides of the street. My taxi driver to the hotel was Naveed Anjum, a Pakistani, who quickly realised that I have come for the India-Pakistan match. David Papineau, philosopher of physics at King's College, writes a popular blog on how philosophy can illuminate sport and vice versa. Although this is a book on the game as seen through the eyes of a fan, not philosopher, yet, not surprisingly, the day job keeps seeping in, which is just as well.

    Essays on the moral aspects of the game "the spirit of cricket" , why the notion of a visit to war memorials as a "bonding exercise" for sportsmen is deeply problematic, coping with a thrashing in Test series are only some of the issues that have been informed by the philosopher's training. The internet has brought Indian cricket to those living outside the game's charmed circle geographically , and simultaneously given a platform to those immersed in the game.

    This collection is a wonderful reconciliation of the past with the present as nostalgia and current events mingle in the mind of the creative commentator to emphasise the past in the present and vice versa. In such intensely personal writing there is the danger of sinking into self-indulgence, of extending the anecdote just that bit longer.

    Chopra finishes the chapter on his own batting prowess as a youngster highest score: 38 with, "In writing these words, I feel faintly ridiculous and pompous: so much talk about such incompetent batting….