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The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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An island of cricket in a sea of baseballs

A crash course in cricket ahead of the 2024 Cricket World Cup
Though cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, cricket fans in America are a minority compared to fans of baseball.

The bowler wipes the sweat off his brow and dusts the grass off the shiny red ball, its white seams reflecting the light of the hot sun. He takes a deep breath and looks over at the batsman.

He’s ready.

The batsman taps his bat on the ground to steady his nerves. He looks up, catches the eye of the bowler and nods. 

He’s ready.

The bowler takes one more deep breath and starts his run-up. Just as his foot crosses the white line, he leans forward and throws the ball with all the force in his body, hoping for a perfect bounce and a lightning-fast travel time.

Everything seems to slow down for the batsman.

He sees the ball leave the bowler’s hand, and his brain takes over from there. He calculates the trajectory and smashes the ball with his bat. The ball arcs over the field and lands in the stands.

“SIX!” the crowd screams. 

This is the exciting life of a cricketer. The adrenaline, concentration and skill cannot be matched by any other sport.

To say I’m a cricket fan is an understatement. I am a cricket fanatic.

Everything about the sport is pure beauty. It’s an art. It’s a science. It’s strategy, athletics and luck working in harmony to create an awe-inspiring experience.

With upwards of 2.5 million fans, cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after soccer, according to the World Atlas. 

The sport is played on every single continent except Antarctica, of course. Despite this global fan following, however, a large part of the Western world simply doesn’t know that cricket exists. This might not seem like a huge problem until an important fact is taken into account: The United States is co-hosting the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup.

Ironically, the U.S. is hosting the World Cup when only 6% of the population knows the intricacies of cricket, according to Front Office Sports. To add on, this small number mainly represents immigrants from cricket-crazy countries like India, Pakistan, Australia and the United Kingdom.

It’s time for cricket to gain more recognition and awareness in the United States. To understand why, one must dive deeper into the history, rules and spirit of the sport.

Origins of cricket

Cricket originated in England in the 16th century. It remained a children’s game until the 18th century when adult players began to take it more seriously. As England colonized more areas of the world, they brought their beloved sport with them. From the 17th century onwards, cricket slowly spread to English colonies in North America, the West Indies, Australia, India and South Africa. A little-known fact is that until the Civil War occurred, many Americans used to play cricket as well. However, baseball began to rise in popularity soon after due to its status as a purely “American sport,” and people tried to distance themselves from the sport of their British colonizers.

Basic rules, gameplay, and format

Even though Americans wanted nothing to do with cricket, they took inspiration from it, which is why many common themes can be seen between cricket and baseball. Here are a few side-by-side comparisons of the two sports.

In cricket, there are 11 people on each team. In baseball, there are nine.

In cricket, people called bowlers specialize in bowling, where they throw the ball to the batsman, the person with the bat. In baseball, the comparative positions are called pitchers and batters.

A bowler’s objective is to get the batsman out, which can happen in 10 different ways, 11 if someone retires hurt. A bowler gets six chances to bowl at a time, and these groupings are called overs.

A batsman’s objective is to hit the ball as far as possible. Different amounts of points, called runs, are awarded based on the distance the ball travels. If the ball goes past the boundary line, the team gets six points, and if it hits the boundary line, they get four points. For all other instances, the batsman must hit the ball and run between the two sides of the pitch. 

Sound familiar? This is like running around the bases in baseball. 

The pitch is 22 yards long and bounded on each end by a set of three sticks, called wickets or stumps. Wicketkeepers stand behind the stumps and have to catch any balls that come their way, much like a catcher in baseball.

One notable difference between baseball and cricket is that there are three different formats of cricket on the international stage: twenty-20 (T20) cricket, one-day international (ODI) cricket and test cricket. Gameplay is measured differently based on the format.

There are many more additional rules in cricket based on the specific format, but that’s for another time.

The spirit of cricket

Just like Americans are devoted to their favorite football, basketball or baseball team, many countries follow cricket religiously. For example, in India, cricket is deeply ingrained in the culture. When Team India was playing in the finals of the 2011 ODI Cricket World Cup, the whole country was at a standstill. The normally crowded roads were empty. When the team finally won, the whole country took to the streets to celebrate. The players were treated to a hero’s welcome. 

Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the best batsman in the history of the sport, is worshipped alongside traditional idols of gods and goddesses. English cricketer Ben Stokes was even knighted, becoming Sir Ben Stokes. 

It’s no wonder that cricket is called “the gentleman’s sport.” The spirit of camaraderie, deep respect and fair play is at the core of every match that occurs, whether it is adults performing on the international stage or children playing in the streets.

Cricket in the USA

With more and more immigrants spreading their love of cricket to Americans, cricket’s popularity is on the rise in the USA. 

Since the USA is co-hosting the World Cup with the West Indies, the national team automatically earned their spot in the tournament, which starts on June 1, 2024, and ends on June 29, 2024. It remains to be seen how the national team fares on the international stage, as this will be their first major appearance alongside the best teams in the sport. 

AP Human Geography, taught by Stasia LaRoche, explores how humans interact with other humans and the world around them. At the end of the course, she shows her students the Bollywood movie Lagaan, a story of revolution centered around cricket.

“The fact that it is an old game enjoyed by people from many different backgrounds and that it is still played today met my history buff interests,” said LaRoche.

She recalls that past classes have often started slightly skeptical of the plot and unaware of the sport. By the end of the movie, students become excited to research more about cricket and make connections to what they are familiar with.

When people hear about this amazing sport, they want to learn more. Cricket has the potential to become big in the United States, and when it does, it will be the bridge between cultures, nationalities and people.

Watch videos of matches. Read books about the sport. Ask cricket-crazy friends if they’re willing to play it with you. Everyone will find a special something in their cricket journey.

The interest is there. The awareness is not.

This must change.

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About the Contributors
Mihika Sakharpe
Mihika Sakharpe, Design Editor
Mihika Sakharpe, a freshman in the Math and Science Academy, is a design editor and first-year journalist for The Current. She loves STEM, debate, and languages (seven so far). She is a cricket fanatic and would eat sushi everyday if she could. Outside of school, she is a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. Her dream is to pursue rocketry and make humans an interplanetary species. Her goal is to write a diverse array of award-winning articles.
Ell Ruggles
Ell Ruggles, Staff Writer
Ell Ruggles is a sophomore and first year journalist for The Current. Outside of school, she enjoys cooking, drawing, creative writing, playing with her pets, reading, listening to music and shopping for new books and records. She is on the Teen Advisory Board at the Oceanfront Library, in book club and the publicity chair for Dolphin Dash. In the future, she would like to explore creative arts and hopefully become an artist or fantasy author.

Comments (4)

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  • P

    PallaviApr 21, 2024 at 1:18 pm

    Your passion for cricket has been excellently articulated with this informative article.Loved the very thoughtful title and picture as well.

  • V

    Vivek ToleyApr 17, 2024 at 7:47 am

    An excellent Article by dear Mahi. It has summarised the essence of Cricket very well. Every format of Cricket proves to be a lesson for leadership, team spirit & motivation. May you continue the Pursuit of Excellence !!!

  • S

    SanjivaniApr 17, 2024 at 12:08 am

    Very well written article Mahi .Your passion for the game is evident .After reading your article people would want to watch the cricket world cup in US .Congratulations .Special mention for the title ,amazing

  • N

    NandiniApr 14, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    Very informative article about an exhilarating sport! Can’t wait for the T20 World Cup to begin!