A Game Of Their Own

I spent the morning watching the Channel 4 coverage of third day of the current Test Match between India and England in Chenai; and the afternoon watching BBC’s broadcast of the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff. The Indian weather was hot and humid; the Welsh much cooler. Covid has prevented any spectators except for match officials. In Chenai no-one wore masks; in Cardiff they did.

My photographs were all taken from the TV screen. I cropped all images for two reasons, namely to produce the pictures I wanted and to remove broadcast spoiler score information.

There are now many different forms of international cricket requiring different time spans and consequent paces of the game. Traditional Test Cricket ebbs and flows with changes of fortune over five days.

Bowlers bowl to batsmen; one batter receives the ball, the other stands at the bowler’s end ready to run to the other end, crossing with his partner to score one or more runs. The bowler aims to hit the stumps behind the batsman. The umpire in the white coat and hat is there to make decisions about dismissals.

Wicket keepers are equipped with special protective gloves, pads for their legs, and helmets for their faces. Slip fielders beside him have no such protection.

The essence of spin bowling is that the aim is to make the ball change trajectory after hitting the pitch. Throughout the Indian sub-continent the conditions are conducive to this method. Here Jack Leach has bowled ball seen about to land in the first picture; sends up a reddish dust cloud and takes a path behind the batsman’s front leg in the next; eventually ending up in the wicket keeper’s gloves. Had this hit the bat on the way through the man would have been out.

Batting technique is very important.

There are other ways than being bowled (when the stumps are hit by the ball) of being out or losing your wicket. If the ball is caught by a fielder without first hitting the ground the batsman is out, caught.

This is a quite phenomenally athletic dismissal close to the wicket.

Had this one been held out in the deep field it would have been equally spectacular.

When appealing to the umpire to grant a dismissal, arms are uplifted with a cry of ‘Owzat’, or, as is the modern way shrieks and gesticulations.

We now have a third umpire equipped with the technology to check the on- field umpire’s decision.

Either the fielding captain or the batsman may ask for a review.

This offers the opportunity for waiting in anguish, for adjusting helmets, discussing tactics, or tightening boot studs.

Here are views which aid the third umpire’s deliberations. The second picture tracks the anticipated path of the ball in order to estimate whether it would have hit the stumps.

Batsmens’ team mates watch keenly from the otherwise empty stands.

As the evening gradually draws to a close, long shadows have a game of their own.

I have become so carried away with trying to explain some of the aspects of our summer game that I have no time to do the same for the rugby. This will follow tomorrow.

This evening we dined on thick bacon chunks, flavoursome pork chipolatas, piquant cauliflower cheese, chestnut mushrooms, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots and tender cabbage. The Culinary Queen finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Macon.


  1. I know nothing about cricket, so reading your post this evening was quite an education – thank you, Derrick!
    Also inspiring are your photos – did you take them with a very fast shutter speed? They seem very high quality for a photo of a tv screen; even though the game of cricket may not move as fast as some others!

    1. I never take the camera off automatic. In the old days I knew how to manage such things as shutter speeds, etc. Now it is all too much for me to get my head around. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks very much, Emma.

      1. Your photos, and Jackieโ€™s, are wonderful. I just have a little, old iPhone which Iโ€™m really hoping to be able to upgrade next year. But I do so admire images taken with a โ€˜properโ€™ lens – particularly very close, or long distance shots.

  2. Cricket is complicated, and yet you have scored a straight โ€˜Aโ€™ explaining the game, meticulously gleaning and cropping the images from the television for illustrating the points. It will need a lot of watching before the game can be truly understood though. Even I have lost track of the plethora of newfangled rules introduced and tweaked in the wake shorter and shorter formats of the game. The one thing that I have not been able to wrap around my brain till date is the Duckworth-Lewis Method although it was introduced circa 1990.

    Chennai was earlier known as Madras, and was an important port town in the colonial era. The picture where the shadows of the players are significantly taller than the players is the most creative capture, reminiscent of the famous National Geographic image in which the tall camels are actually the shadows of the pinpoints that the camels are.

      1. I canโ€™t blame you for that. Chennai is home to one of Indiaโ€™s top technological institutes and they still call themselves IIT Madras. ?

  3. Great photos…love the action shots! You are the first person to ever teach me about cricket…I’ve learned from your blog posts. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Your wonderfully descriptive describing words of Jackie’s amazing cheffery make me drool! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜›
    I’ll go now and wipe my chinny chin chin! ๐Ÿ˜€
    (((HUGS))) ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I like all forms of cricket, even 20/20 but nothing can compare with Test Cricket. Probably the finest team game in the World. Spoilt a bit today by egos and tattoos.

    I once tried to explain cricket to a French friend. I failed of course.

    I like this from Bill Bryson…

    โ€œIt is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavours look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. โ€ฆIt is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as the players-more if they are moderately restless.โ€

      1. Absolutely. I remember school holidays watching the test match on BBC in black and white and keeping a scorecard for my dad when he came home from work. I always hated Wimbledon fortnight and those dreaded words ” We are leaving Trent Bridge for now and returning you to Centre Court”

  5. You have also reminded me of this…

    You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
    When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

    When both sides have been in and all the men have been out and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

  6. We were just talking about cricket last night as we were tuning into the Super Bowl. I didn’t know much about the game – thanks for explaining and sharing these pictures.

  7. You did a great job catching those shots Derrick. Hubby loves test cricket, I prefer to watch the seagulls. Though I must say I do love hearing the commentary without actually listening, to me it is one of the sounds of summer.

  8. Cricket is the cause of a great divide in the family – my brothers-in-law are devotees of the Test game, with slowly crafted innings, grace and lazy summer days spent watching. I prefer IPL. Lots of cheering, loads of runs and plenty of time in a day to watch cricket and do other things.

      1. ๐Ÿ™‚ You win by scoring more runs than the other side. That’s why they have a scorer instead of a panel of judges holding up cards for technical difficulty and artistic impression.

  9. Iโ€™ve not noticed batsmen wearing a face guard before. Certainly not my ex-husband (a professional cricketer). But then I havenโ€™t made a point of watching him play cricket for quite some considerable time.

  10. I used to watch the cricket with my Dad when I was a teenager, but I seem to remember he thought I asked too many questions. I was a Bob Willis fan. I once tried to explain it to an American man who asked and as I was explaining, it seemed a very strange idea. Lasting for five days, for example and often getting rained off so it ended as a draw. But perhaps I misremember. I gradually stopped watching when it came off the BBC.

    1. Your memory seems fair enough, Susan. Bob Willis frequented my favourite restaurant – the Akash, in Edgeware Road. It was so small I don’t know how he got in there. Thanks very much

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