Monday, August 12, 2013

A nostalgic note on cricket lingo

Anyone who understands cricket will understand what these terms mean in the context of England's traditional summer sport. In no particular order, here are some of cricket's words: No Ball, Wide, Slip, Silly Point, lbw, over, maiden, declare, boundary, six, follow-on, yorker, innings, all out, Not Out, Ashes, Windies, Cover, gully, How's That?, new ball, Fine Leg, stumps, stumped, Third Man, Test Match, Carried His Bat, middle-and-leg, Mid Off, Extra Cover, Bye, Leg bye, opener, partnership, wicket, hat trick, cut, off spinner, bail, crease, dropped, run out, goose egg, half volley, single, broken bat, rain stopped play, bad light, substitute, googly, full toss. That's over fifty terms with specific meanings to cricketers. Baseball fans consider a game which takes at least a day, often three days, and sometimes even five days, to be boring. (In earlier days, the Final test was "played to a finish"!) Baseball fans should talk: in baseball a "perfect game" has no hits, let alone runs. Spellbinding, maybe, but to those who don't care, perhaps a bit boring... Cricket is a game to be savored. On a leisurely sunny day, watching 24 men (including the two umpires) in white, with the score creeping up steadily--delightful! Some things have changed. It used to be that professionals didn't have their "Christian" (e.g. first) names on the scorecard, and if initials were there, it was to distinguish between two men with the same last name. Of course, we knew their first names (Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Hedley Verity, Tony Lock). "Gentlemen v, Players" featured amateurs v, professionals. The Captain was always an "amateur"--of independent means or subsidized--and they had their initials shown, beginning (in memory) with W.G. Grace. We knew their names too--Colin Cowdrey, for example. As I write, the Fourth Test is under way. It looks as if we are in for an exciting finish. Australia has a slight advantage at this point, but the result could go either way.

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