‘Ow is zat?

by Daniel on December 6, 2005

Lots of our American readers complain whenever CT runs cricket coverage. To help “you guys” out, here’s a nice cartoon summary of the rules.

All you have to do is learn French.



decon 12.06.05 at 4:32 pm

Nike ta mère.


Kieran Healy 12.06.05 at 4:32 pm

I like it that one of the options (no 6) for being got out is “Autodestruction”. I’m not a cricket fan, but my belief is this is something the English team has specialized in.


Jared 12.06.05 at 4:36 pm

I’ve tried to learn both the rules of cricket and French. French was easier.


eponymous 12.06.05 at 4:39 pm

“All you have to do is learn French.”

Mon dieu!!!


Ian Whitchurch 12.06.05 at 4:56 pm

Actually, I prefer the term ‘obstruction’ to ‘leg before wicket’.

Oh, and Kieran … your news is out of date.They played very, very tough over the summer, and Pakistan are a side that on their day can beat anyone (*).

Ian Whitchurch

(*) Back in the unlamented days of match fixing, a friend said ‘Pakistan have enough talent that any four of them can beat you, even if the other seven are being paid to lose’


a different chris 12.06.05 at 5:18 pm

Jared – I figured that was the case.

>Pakistan have enough talent

Y’know, I think the major reason the colonies shook off the yoke is this absolutely ridiculous mixing of the singular and the plural. Why why whywhywhywhy????? Are you not referring to the Pakistan team? Is there not just one team?



Kenny Easwaran 12.06.05 at 5:37 pm

“Leg before wicket” always made me think of “‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c'”, except I never learned what the exception was for “leg before wicket”.


Henry 12.06.05 at 5:48 pm

bq. Nike ta mère.

Is that how it’s spelled? Always assumed it was “nique.”


yabonn 12.06.05 at 6:18 pm

That would be more nique, indeed, but in some cases correct spelling is just a matter of taste.

Thanks for the pdf, it clear things up. The referees don’t really have those hats, do they?


anon 12.06.05 at 6:20 pm

A different chris, would you say “the Chicago Cubs employs Smith?” And if not, aren’t you mixing singular and plural (Cubs being a singular noun referring to a baseball team)?


Jasper Milvain 12.06.05 at 6:25 pm

a different chris — The use of plural for sports teams doesn’t make much sense, no, but it does allow British English to convey additional meaning compactly. We can distinguish a cricket team from a nation, or 11 footballers from a quoted company, just by tweaking the verb.

“England face defeat”: we’re losing a game; “England faces defeat”: we’re losing a war. In some newspapers it’s the only way you can tell the difference.


John Quiggin 12.06.05 at 8:00 pm

Kenny, the exception is, “Unless the ball pitches on the leg side”


DC 12.06.05 at 8:40 pm


A heroically simplified version of LBW (“batsman hits ball with leg instead of bat”) – the full thing would make anyone despair from understanding the game at first. They’ve also left out no-balls, as opposed to wides.

That the whole thing is put together by a federation for baseball, softball and cricket is a bit distasteful though.


ben alpers 12.07.05 at 3:47 am

What’s French for “silly mid on”?


Andrew Brown 12.07.05 at 4:13 am

They didn’t leave out no balls. They had most of the no balls, a concept on which grammarians may suck at leisure.


Chris Bertram 12.07.05 at 5:11 am

le mi-dessus fou?


Scott Martens 12.07.05 at 5:18 am

I get that the pitcher tries to hit the wickets while the batter tries to hit the ball. But why do they both have to run around without going anywhere?


Scott Martens 12.07.05 at 5:20 am

Oh, and I get 18,000 hits for “nike ta mère” and 33,000 for “nique ta mère”. That’s within the margin for regarding both as reguarly in use and giving it a place in the dictionary.


johnhayter 12.07.05 at 5:41 am

Hmm. If that strip is accurate, the French seem to regard batting as attack and bowling as defence. Which is arse about face.


yabonn 12.07.05 at 6:32 am

Niquer has been in the dictionnary for some time now. For “niker”, I can only hang my head in sorrow looking at the influence instant text messaging has on proper slang.


neil 12.07.05 at 8:46 am

Any Americans who are still having trouble should simply consult this handy guide to cricket fielding positions. It sure cleared a lot up for me!


Mark 12.07.05 at 3:34 pm

It still doesn’t solve my inability to get any of the cricket jokes in Monty Python,


Nabakov 12.07.05 at 7:55 pm

Cricket’s actually pretty simple. I’ll explain the overall principles again for the benefit of our American and non-Commonwealth cousins.

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he is out. When they are all out, the side that’s been 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 are 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. Easy-peasey!

Of course the LBW law is slightly more complicated.


John Quiggin 12.08.05 at 12:40 am

‘“England face defeat”: we’re losing a game; “England faces defeat”: we’re losing a war. In some newspapers it’s the only way you can tell the difference.”

I remember the Frost report describing how various newspapers would cover an impending nuclear war. The best was

“West Ridings to be devastated: Test match in doubt”

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