Although I could write in length about the scary insects I hate, instead I thought I’d share a little about the game of cricket! Guyana’s love of cricket stems from its British roots (as is for most cricket loving countries) and almost every afternoon you can find kids playing a version of it in the streets. Beyond these informal matches, most secondary schools have a team, there are many competitive community teams, and there is the national team–The Amazon Warriors.
I got to go to a Warriors game last weekend at the National Stadium! They’re playing in a tournament called the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) where teams from all over the Caribbean compete. Though the teams represent a particular country the players come from all over the world.
There are MANY ways to play cricket, but CPL is a T20 tournament so I’ll explain the basics of how that’s played! Cricket is played on a round grass field with a hard dirt rectangle in the middle called the pitch. On each end of the pitch is a wicket (it’s like three sticks standing upright out of the ground) that the two men from the batting team are trying to protect. The two teams flip a coin to decide who will bat first and who will bowl (pitch/throw) first. The batting team has two men on the field and the bowling team has 11 men on the field. Because it’s a T20 tournament, each team plays 20 overs. One over is six balls so in total they get 120 balls. Unlike baseball where the teams switch back and forth, with cricket one team bats all their balls then switches for the other team to bat all their balls. When the ball is bowled (thrown) the batter tries to hit the ball and protect the wicket. If the batter misses the ball and the ball hits the wicket, the batter is out. If the batter hits the ball, he and his teammate run the 22 yards between the wickets to score points. Each time they both get to the opposite wicket they score one point. If the ball rolls and hits the boundary of the field, the batter gets 4 points. If the batter hits the ball over the boundary (like a home run) he gets 6 points. If they’re running and the fielding team hits the wicket with the ball before the runner has passed the line, then that player is out. The batter is also out if the fielding team catches the ball. The bowling team is trying to get all 11 of the opposing teams batters out so the match will end (though that rarely happens) or just try to let the other team score as few points as possible. It makes a lot more sense when you can see it, but that’s the very basics!
Jamaica’s bowler runs to throw the ball then you can see Guyana hit the ball and run for two points!
I’ve watched a lot of games with my host family on TV so I sort of knew how the game was played when we went to the stadium, but it was really fun to see it all happen in person! The game sold out so every time the Warriors hit a maximum (6 points) all 15,000 people in the crowd erupted with cheers, horn blowing, and flag waving! It was a great way to spend a Saturday night and I’d recommend trying to see a game if you’re ever in the Caribbean while a match is being played!