N6376m, here are the basic rules of cricket:
"You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he is out. When they are all out, the side that's been out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
"When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out, he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who are all out all the time, and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game."
But to be slightly more serious, the basics are that you have two teams of 11 men. Two batsman are in at any one time, and whenever one of them is out then the next comes in in turn until ten wickets have been lost. Runs are scored by the batsmen running the 22 yards between each set of stumps, or, if the ball goes over the boundary a four or six (without bouncing) is scored.
Bowlers bowl sets of six balls called "overs" and one is completed then you have another from the opposite end. If you view it as being related to baseball (which it is, baseball actually started in England!) then the rest of it follows. Bowlers can bowl at speeds of up to 100 mph, and as with baseball, the ball swings (curves) around. The difference is that the ball is meant to hit the ground before reaching the batsman, which brings seam movement into play. Equally, the bowler is free to aim at the batsman, which is why they wear helmets and padding. The batsman can be out any number of ways, bowled (the ball hits the stumps or wickets), caught, lbw (leg before wicket, essentially the ball would have hit the stumps but the batsman got in the way - this is very complicated for the non-initiate), run out (self explanatory if you know baseball), stumped (similar but the wicket keeper does it when the batsman is out of his ground but not attempting a run) and various other less common occurences. The team with the most runs wins.
In Test matches, the game goes on over five days, each side batting twice, and you don't necessarily get a result. Draws are quite common, and can cover a situation where neither side is within a mile of winning, or when a side just needs a few runs or a couple of wickets. This result is usually baffling to Americans, but is part of what makes the game so special. Watching a side battle for a draw when they have been comprehensively outplayed is pretty unique in sport. There is also a limited overs version of the game, which would probably translate to the US market quite well, certainly with the US's love for statistics based sports. As a matter of interest, the number of cricket clubs in the States has rocketed over the last few years, and not just from expats from the cricket playing countries. Check out the internet to see if there's one near you.
For the laws of the game see this link:
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Sri_Lankan340, I would agree that England may have seemed negative in the last series, but I do think you have to understand that Murali's new ball meant that they were pretty much stuffed in the series, and were just trying to hang on. They couldn't do much else really, and had the drawn that series it would have been a real achievement. That leg spinner was just unpickable, and on those surfaces there wasn't that much else they could do.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.