HOWZAT? CRICKET IN THAILAND The 19th Hua Hin Sixes Cricket Tournament

HOWZAT? CRICKET IN THAILAND The 19th Hua Hin Sixes Cricket Tournament
HOWZAT? CRICKET IN THAILAND The 19th Hua Hin Sixes Cricket Tournament

Writing about cricket for the uninitiated requires explanations about many expressions that are a part of the game. Our first example, ‘Howzat’, is really a shortened version of ‘How was that?’, a shout imploring the umpire to declare a batsman dismissed. The ‘initiated’ are likely to have come from one of the traditional cricketing nations; namely England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the grouping of Caribbean islands known as the West Indies. More recent arrivals on the cricket scene include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Thailand is an associate member of the International Cricket Council (the 2nd level) since 2005. Thailand’s elite was certainly influenced by the British, and cricket infiltrated Thailand via the kids of elite Thai families who studied in England and were subjected to the game. As an aside, Thailand is one of the few countries in the world where spectators can watch a game of cricket while munching on a dish of fried crickets!

So What Are The Basics? Cricket is an outdoor bat and ball sport played between two teams. There are many books written about the laws of the game and a variety of situations that sometimes arise but basically……………………. It’s played on a large circular or oval shaped grassed field which varies in size with a diameter of around 150 metres. Most of the action takes place in the centre of this ground, on a rectangular strip with short grass or an artificial surface called the pitch. The pitch is 20 metres long. At each end of the pitch three upright wooden stakes, called the stumps, are hammered into the ground.

Two wooden crosspieces, known as the bails, sit in grooves atop the stumps. One team bats and tries to score as the other team bowls and fields; trying to restrict the number of runs and dismiss the batters. Two batsmen play at any one time each taking a position at opposite ends of the pitch. During play a bowler delivers the ball from one end to the other with an overarm motion and a straightened arm, it cannot be thrown! The aim is either to hit the stumps or have the batsmen mishit the ball so that it is caught by a fielder. The bowler delivers 6 balls in one over before being replaced by another bowler. The batsmen scores by scampering from one end of the pitch to the other, after hitting the ball. Each time that dash is completed one run results; however a ball reaching the boundary scores 4 and a ball crossing the boundary on the full scores 6 runs.

A batsman is dismissed if: H The ball hits the wickets after being bowled. H The ball is caught by a fielder after being hit. H The ball is retrieved by a fielder and the wickets are hit with the ball before a run is completed (run out). H The bowler hits the batters legs, stopping the ball from hitting the wickets (LBW – legs before wicket). H An innings is completed when all but one the batsmen (you can’t bat alone) are dismissed or the nominated number of overs has been bowled. The teams then reverse roles; the winning team is the one scoring the most runs. The traditional form of cricket has eleven team members, sometimes lasting over five days and few restrictions on who can bowl or a maximum score for a batsman. A Test Match is the oldest, and the most intense form of cricket. The first officially recognised Test match began in Melbourne, Australia between England and Australia on March 15, 1877. As English bowler Jim Laker once said: “The aim of English cricket is, in fact, mainly to beat Australia.” The Hua Hin Sixes Version of Cricket As the name ‘sixes’ suggests this version of the game (there are many others) has six members per team, 5 x 6 ball overs and only one over per bowler. A batsman can only score 35 runs before compulsory retirement. This is a fast scoring game with not many fielders out there to intercept the ball. With only one innings for each team, a game last for about 40 minutes. Teams competed for the ‘CUP’ (open), Masters (over 35 years of age) and Veterans (over 50 years of age). The flags were flying for England, New Zealand, Australia, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and of course Thailand. Probably Australians were the most visible and vocal. Hearing 80,000 Australian spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is something else! The Players and Teams Commentary It’s fair to say that during any cricket match, lulls in play require commentators to maintain the interest of spectators. As an example one early British commentator who probably didn’t achieve that aim. “And a white seagull flies overhead, a very white seagull. I wonder which washing powder it uses.” – England-India, 2002. During the Cup Final game our commentators provided comments much more likely to raise a smile or chuckle from their audience. As a spectator, cricket bat in hand, went to find a ball hit out of the ground: “good to see he has the snake-whacker with him (the bat)”. They also managed to entice the crowd into a Mexican Wave and describing a dislike of wicketkeepers as “barnacles on the bum of progress” ………..what does this mean? Sledging Sledging is language on the field which is often humorous, sardonic and an insulting attempt to distract the opposition. There was a time when these conversations were only heard by players and umpires then microphones on the field changed all that. We didn’t have any evidence of this revered cricket practice at the Hua Hin Sixes (no on field microphones) but without insults being exchanged, cricket wouldn’t be cricket. Here’s a few of the best known sledges, we couldn’t include many others which would be ‘R’ Rated! “I can see why you are batting so badly, you’ve got some s**t on the end of your bat.” At this point the batsman flipped his bat over to examine the end, the bowler’s response? “Wrong end mate!” The batsman arrived at the wicket to a bit of cheek from the wicketkeeper. “So how’s your wife and my kid’s?” Answer: “Wife’s fine; kid’s are retarded”. To a struggling batsman: “If you turn the bat over you’ll get the instructions”. Our favourite: The bowler was getting a few to whizz past West Indies legendary batsman Vivien Richards. The comment was: “It’s red, round and weighs about five ounces, so hit it!” Richards hammered the next delivery out of the cricket grounds and into a nearby river. Turning to the bowler: “You know what it looks like, now go and find it.” Results As the dust settled on the last day amazing cricket was seen. In the Veterans final, the Leongatha Woodchoppers beat the Gold Coast Tigers 88/1-46/2. As predicted the most exciting game of the day was the Cup final which saw the Melbourne Cup Red take on the Thailand Colts. Bobby Raina took two wickets off nine runs leading the Thailand Colts to a 0/49-4/45 victory. The leading batsman of the tournament was Aaron Hinss who also took the award for most sixes of the tournament scoring a superb 18 sixes. The leading bowler was John Fahey from the Old Xaverians who achieved an amazing six wickets.