Trying to Explain Cricket

We were having a belated New Year’s drink with Jean-Pierre and, at the same time, watching highlights of the Ashes Test Match.  Of course, I had to try to explain Cricket to our French friend who suddenly became very intrigued not to mention stupid and deliberately asked every daft question he could think of.  However, at least he can speak almost flawless English which saved me the problem of explaining ‘silly-mid-off’ in French – not though that it is particularly easy in English.  In fact, no matter how often I think, even in my more conceited moments, how good my French is, I would NEVER attempt to explain the complexity of the laws of cricket in French, as I fear madness lies in that direction! 

Here are a few examples of our conversation:-

Me: (On watching England’s tail skittled for 5 runs).  “This must be the worse tail England have ever had”.

JP:  (Bemused – genuinely, I think). “Tail, what tail, Englishmen have tails?”

Me:  “No, but the team does”.

 JP:   (Sarcastically),” Does it wag?”

Me:  (Despairingly),  “Not so you would notice”.

JP:  “So what is it then, this tail?”

 Me: ”It’s the last few batsmen who actually can’t bat”.

JP:  “So why are they called batsmen”?

Me: “Well they are not actually batsmen, they are bowlers who are not expected to be good batsmen”.

JP:  “So why are they called batsmen”?

Me:  “Because they are batting I suppose”.

JP:  “Well, why…….?”


Later I was shouting abuse at Mahmood, (why do we shout at the television?  Apparently, I have it on good authority, they can’t actually hear us), who was just too idle to run behind the wicket to back up the throw from a fielder.  To have done so would have resulted in an easy run out.

JP:  “Why are you swearing at him?”

Me:  “Because he is a useless, unprofessional, idle git who couldn’t even be bothered to do a schoolboy basic, which is to back up the fielder”.

JP:  “Back him up where?”

Me:  “No, he doesn’t actually back anyone, anywhere, he just stands behind the wickets to receive the fielders throw”.

JP:  (After a pause for reflection), “If he is standing behind the wicket how can he stand on the wicket?”

I looked confused.

JP:  “You told me that the wicket is the pitch”.

Me:  “Ah, yes it is, but the wicket  is also the three wooden poles at each end of the…..err…wicket”.

JP:   (dubiously) “Right, I see”. 

Geoffrey Boycott then decided to throw his two penny worth in by banging on about batsmen throwing their wickets away.  I saw the quizzical look on JP’s face, so, before he had the chance to ask, I said:-

‘It means to get themselves out by doing something stupid.  Simply losing ones wicket means to get out”.

 JP:  (With the exaggerated  patience of a Saint),  “So…you can lose your wicket…. whilst being on the wicket…… if someone runs behind the wicket”?

 Me:  ‘Well, yeah, I suppose so”.

Well, one thing is clear”, mumbled JP, “it explains why Cricket is only played in English speaking countries; you would have to be born speaking the language to understand all that nonsense”.  

And he could probably be right.  But I couldn’t be bothered to argue, being relieved that he had not picked on anything really complicated like, “Why can’t a batsmen be ‘Leg before Wicket’ if the ball pitches outside the line of the leg stump”.  Oh, despair …….. imagine trying to explain that.  It would take an eternity, the blood runs cold!!

As an afterthought did you know that Mick Jagger sometimes plays cricket for Saumur when he is at his Chateau.  Not a lotta people know that!!

Meilleurs Voeux

Brian        Accommodation in Loire Valley


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