Our guide to cricket
Alistair Stafford

Our guide to cricket

First published date February 14 2014 Amended date February 18 2014

Love cricket? Want to get more involved in the sport? Whether you’re a keen coach looking to diversify into a different sport or a budding amateur cricketer dreaming of becoming the next Ashes or Twenty20 star, a cricket course could be just for you.  


What to expect

That varies depending on the type of cricket course you’re interested in, with some focused on developing the technical skills needed to bat, bowl and field comfortably when playing, while otherslook more at the coaching aspects of the game. With the latter option, modules offering nutritional guidance and physiotherapy commonly run alongside the more traditional coaching courses. Whichever route takes your fancy, some knowledge of the sport is already expected and the cricket coaching is usually provided in very small groups or sometimes one-to-one, so you’ll be given plenty of time to get stuck in!


But it isn’t ‘proper’ exercise...

Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Yes you may spend large amounts of time in a field moving very little. Yes the level of physical intensity in playing cricket doesn’t quite match that of a rugby league or basketball match. But with strength and agility required to play the game, we reveal just three of the many health benefits cricket can bring:

. Improved physical fitness – During the course of day’s play, a cricketer can travel as many as ten miles. That may seem like a lot, but with all of the running between the wickets when batting, sprinting towards the stumps when bowling and moving around the pitch to field the ball, the distance you travel and your all-round sports fitness soon builds up.

. Better endurance and stamina – All that moving around the field increases your stamina, allowing you to exercise for longer periods of time away, on or off the cricket field.

. Quicker reactions and hand-eye coordination - When fielding, you can go through long passages of play without the ball heading anywhere near your direction, so you have to stay alert to react quickly when the moment comes. Not only that, but when batting, the ball can be travelling towards you in excess of 90mph, so you’ll have less than a second to play your shot – if the ball hits you, you’ll soon know about it!


Juggling the jargon

With dozens of different fielding positions, ten ways of being dismissed plus a load of other bizarre terminology to define certain aspects of the sport, cricket has a particularly lively lingo to learn. Here are just a few of the more unusual ones you may come across so you’re not left stumped when involved in the game:

. Cherry – That’s what the match ball is often referred to, due to its spherical shape and cherry like colour. When the ball is new and is still at its hardest, it often will leave a small red mark on a cricket bat, which is also sometimes dubbed as a ‘cherry’.

. Cow corner – No, there aren’t any animals involved in the game, it’s just a name given to an area of the pitch that rarely has any fielders positioned. That’s because the ball doesn’t often end up going on that segment of the playing surface, so would be safe enough for cows to stand (well, most of the time!)

. Golden duck – It may sound like something off the local Chinese takeaway menu, but this term is given to a batsman who gets from his very first delivery without scoring a run. The word ‘duck’ is used to describe any batsman who is dismissed for no runs.

. Maiden – This is when a bowler bowls an over (six balls if you weren’t sure) without conceding a single run. In the scorebook where the details of the game are filled in, the bowler gets a big ‘M’ next to his name for that over.

. Night-watchman – Similar to the night-watchman’s role in any working environment, the job description in cricket is to protect the team’s wicket late in a day’s play. The night-watchman usually isn’t a particularly strong batsman but gets sent in to save a more specialist batter from getting out so late in the day.


Been inspired to dig out your whites and sign up to a cricket course?  Even if you feel you don’t feel like you could be the next Alastair Cook or Stuart Broad, there is a wide range of alternative sports training courses and sports undergraduate courses for you to enrol on. If you’re not sure whether you’d be better suited to sports coaching as opposed to competing in sport, then our careers guide can help you decide the best option.