Cricket is a team sport similar to American field hockey, highly competitive and, perhaps unfairly, known as a game of the rich and privileged. Cricket has a history of many centuries in British and Irish cultures. The game as played today originated in England, and is wildly popular in England as well as other countries influenced by British culture in the British efforts of colonization in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cricket equipment is highly specialized and exact in specifications.
Cricket is the hands-down most popular sport in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It’s also very big in the down-under countries like Australia and New Zealand. South Africa and the Caribbean countries also enjoy huge followings of Cricket fans.
The game requires specialized Cricket equipment, and for the Cricket enthusiast, is notably difficult to track down if you don’t live in a country that follows Cricket like Americans follow football.
The first cricket equipment bore little resemblance to what’s used today. The original bats looked much like a modern hockey stick. Folklore maintains the first paddle style evolved out of a shepherd’s crook. Today’s cricket bat is made of willow wood sealed with linseed oil. According to the 42 laws of cricket, the bat cannot exceed 38 inches in length and a little more than four inches wide, consisting of a handle and paddle. The handle is padded and taped in a manner similar to a tennis racket. The similarity ends there, with the cricket bat being much more substantial than a tennis racket.
The traditional cricket ball is red or white and nine inches around. A proper cricket ball starts with a core of wrapped twine and finished in leather wrapped around the twine to form the approved surface.
The game is played on a roughly oval-shaped grass playing field, with a strip of dirt down the center, called the pitch. At each end of the pitch are the goalposts consisting of three stumps, which are vertical posts each supporting two bails, collectively known as the wicket. Wickets are made of wood.
Behind each pair of wickets is a sight screen, aligned in parallel to the width of the pitch.
Spiked shoes are another piece of cricket equipment you’ll need. As in soccer and field hockey, these special shoes are necessary for good traction on the field.
You’ll also need player’s clothing, including jumpers, sweaters or wool pullovers as weather dictates. Protective pads, including leg, thigh, arm, chest, abdominal and elbow guards are essential to avoid injuries and bone breaks. Cricket is not a sissy sport!
To complete your cricket equipment, you’ll need cricket gloves. For a batsman, there are specially designed thickly-padded gloves. For the wicket-keeper, you’ll need the huge mitten-like gloves with webbed fingers, much like a baseball glove.
Last but not least, get yourself a sun hat to protect your vision.
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