Saturday, June 25, 2011

A cricketer's tough hands

Batting warm up
If you've ever seen a game of cricket, you know that it's an elegant game. The white uniforms against the pastoral green field are calming to watch. It's not a violent sport. There isn't a lot of yelling.

So I was surprised this week when they put me on the field and I realized that with elegance comes a painful truth.

It's a gloveless game. The only player on the field with something to soften the blow of catching a ball is the wicketkeeper (or catcher). During the warm up our team tossed the ball around. Soft high balls. Low grounder, bouncy balls. And then, when I didn't expect it, a hard bullet throw. Oy! With the stinging that hard ball left on my hand I was worried that I wouldn't be able to catch anything else.

I was instructed from then on to cradle the ball.

Before batters come onto the field, the other team claps for them. I figure it's their attempt to toughen up their hands. After the team scores a run or gets someone out (depending if they're fielding or not), they all run together and high five. Again, I suspect this has more to do with conditioning their hands than it does with team celebration. (But maybe I'm wrong.)

The only other safety equipment are leg pads worn by the batters. The ball they use to play is small and hard, and the bowlers (i.e. pitcher) get as much momentum and accuracy at the wickets that they can. Of course, the batter's job is to hit the ball and defend the wicket. This means that batters tend to stand with feet at hip width distance apart directly in front of the wicket. A ball rocketing in could definitely leave a welt on the batter's leg without padding. Plus, because unlike baseball where you don't want the pitch to hit the ground, cricket bowlers do their best to get a good bounce to psych the batter, without losing aim at the wicket. As a result, you never know where it's going to go.

And so, I got all padded up ready for my first chance in front of a bowler. Unfortunately our team got too many "overs" (i.e. good bowls) and our turn was literally over. To the field we went... more on that next time.


  1. Hey Bronwyn, great article! It seems most north americans view cricket as a long, complicated and pansy sport. I appreciate your breakdown and humourous descriptions.

  2. Love the article! Great job B!! :-)