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That's cricket!

My husband loves cricket. I have watched the occasional game but have never quite mastered the lingo or understood the rules. I'm sure it doesn't need to be this complicated....?!

That's cricket!

Those who are to blame
For giving complex names
To this great British game
Ought to be ashamed.
They gave it a dimension
Defying comprehension,
Leaving me confused
And a little bemused.

Let’s start with an easy bit -
The keeper keeps the wicket,
The batsman bats before it,
But if his leg’s before it,
Then he’s out.
(Or so the bowler shouts!)
If you’re already muddled,
You’re going to be in trouble.

Your leg may well be fine,
But it must be a bind
To know you are the leg
Of the long or short kind,
Or find your leg slip
Or bigger nightmare –
How can you run
When your leg is square?

And next, there is this -
There are one to seven slips
(As well as the leg,
Like I’ve already said).
To complicate it all,
The slips don’t tend to fall
But, to my surprise,
They do have a fly.

The mid may be off
Or he may be on.
The gully isn’t in one,
Nor cover under covers.
Point doesn’t have to point,
Nor the sweeper sweep,
Confused yet? I know,
It’s enough to make you weep!

Just when you think
It can’t get any worse,
I’ll start on the silly ones –
Don’t start to curse!
There’s a silly mid-on,
And a silly mid-off,
A silly point (it isn’t really),
And a silly square leg!

Equally absurd
Are the words
That are heard
In the bowler’s world.
Spin may be spun
From different body bits,
From the leg, or the finger
Or even the wrist.

Beamer and bouncer,
Googlie and Yorker -
Ridiculous names
For this gentleman’s game.
They sound like the dwarves,
Forgive me being cheeky,
But next you’ll be bowling
A “Grumpy” or “Sneezy.”

Bowling a Chinaman
Can be quite fine -
To get a good spin,
Just give him a shine.
On that bizarre note,
I’ll end this rhyme...
Maybe I’ll understand
It more next time.

Rachel McCoubrie 2005
Painting by (Uncle) John Charlesworth

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