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World’s 3rd Most Popular Sport
Unbeknownst to football-crazy Alabamians, the game of cricket is just behind soccer and basketball as the world’s most popular sport.
Despite the global pandemic, the sport of cricket is thriving in Birmingham with Saturday and Sunday matches regularly scheduled at East Lake Park.
This is what a match looks like.
For folks wanting to learn a new sport or become a fan, here is a description from my 2018 story by Birmingham Thunder’s Shams Noorani on how to play the game.
How to play cricket
Cricket is much like baseball, without the diamond, gloves on every fielder and a strike zone.
We asked Noorani to describe the game.
The Set Up
Cricket is a game played between two teams, generally of 11 members each. In essence, it is single combat, in which an individual batsman does battle against an individual bowler, who has helpers known as fielders.
Bowler v. Batsman
The bowler propels the ball with a straight arm from one end of the 22-yard pitch in an attempt to dismiss the batsman by hitting a target known as the wicket at the other end, or by causing the batsman to hit the ball into the air into a fielder’s grasp, or by inducing one of a number of other indiscretions.
The batsman attempts to defend the wicket with the bat and to score runs – the currency of the game – by striking the ball to the field boundary, or far enough from the fielders to allow the batsman to run to the other end of the pitch before the ball can be returned. At least two bowlers must take turns, from alternating ends; also, there are always two batsmen on the field, each to take a turn as required. When all but one of the batting team have been dismissed – or after an agreed period – the teams’ roles are reversed. After all the players required to bat on both sides have done so either once or twice (which can take from a few hours to five days) the total number of runs accumulated determines the winner. But sometimes there isn’t one.”
League in Birmingham
Interested in playing or watching cricket locally? There are eight teams in the Birmingham Cricket League. They regularly play on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30am and 2:00pm.
Cricket is primarily played in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and the United Kingdom. For local residents from these nations, playing the game reminds them of home.
“The main purpose for our league is recreational. But, it also gives us a feeling of home – a home away from home. It is a semi-competitive sport. We are here to have fun.” ~ Santosh Muthyam, Captain of the Hoover Strikers.
Interested in Playing
The Birmingham Cricket League has a great website with league schedules, team rosters and ways to get involved in the game. Check it out.