With the 2012 Summer Olympics in London rapidly approaching, I started thinking about the sport of Cricket. I wonder how many of the English will be wearing I Love Cricket T-shirts during the games. Cricket is an incredibly popular sport in England and in countries, which were formerly under British rule, including India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, to name a few. If this were an Olympic event, the British would certainly be one of the favorites to win.
Cricket first showed up in southern England in the 16th century and became an international sport by the 19th century. It even appeared once way back in the 1900 Olympic games in Paris. Since then it’s been featured in the Asian Games as well as the World Cup of Cricket. The sport did receive Olympic recognition status in 2007 and can now bid for a spot in the 2020 Olympics, along with such sports as karate, roller derby, squash, sport climbing, as well as several others including softball and baseball.
Introducing new sports into the Olympics allows more athletes to experience the pride of being in the Olympics, but it also brings more spectators and viewers from around the world to the games. Just imagine if American Football or Surfing were an Olympic sport, how many more people might be drawn to the games.
My first and only encounter that I’ve had with the game of Cricket was when I was living in Oxford, England. I was relaxing in a park one day, where a match was being played. While it’s a little bit like baseball, in that there’s a ball and a bat, innings and it’s played on a green field, they are actually quite different.
The objective in Cricket is for the “bowler” to toss a ball across the pitch and try to hit wickets that are behind the batters. There is a batter at each end. If one of the batters hits the ball, and it’s not caught before it hits the ground, then both batters try to score points for their team by running across the pitch and grounding their bats behind the crease. Each run and bat grounding equals one point. If the ball is hit outside the field before touching the ground, like a home run in baseball, the team automatically receives 6 points.
For me, the sport was quite fascinating to watch and quite elegant and refined. Not that the players and fans don’t get into the sport, they do, but there was something regal about it. If Cricket does become an Olympic event in 2020, I’ll certainly be watching!