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Bizarre Things About Cricket Explained

September 13, 2019


To the uninitiated, cricket can seem both
boring and confusing. Why does cricket take days to play? What kind of sport stops so the players can
have tea? Cricket is definitely an odd sport, but much
of the world loves it. Here are weird things you never knew about
cricket. The India team is very good at cricket, but
for decades the top English players would refuse to travel there for matches. It wasn’t that they were afraid of losing;
they always got sick. According to the International Business Times,
the food especially was a problem for players accustomed to boring English fare. This resulted in something called “Delhi Belly,”
where they basically could not stop pooping, making playing very difficult. “It’s terrifying. You don’t know where it’s coming from. You start panicking. You think you’re gonna empty!” To get around it when he went to India and
Pakistan with his team for the World Cup in 1996, England cricket legend Alec Stewart
told the Guardian he brought 43 meals of chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli, which he ate
every day for 43 days straight. In 2006, the Irish Independent reported that
four members of the English team came down with Delhi Belly while playing in India. It’s claimed that one year, the players for
an English women’s team match were selected by seeing who could do a lap without getting
sick when the whole team was hit with the ailment. Australians also have this issue in India,
with one player in 2017 causing confusion when he sprinted off the field in the middle
of play. The Ashes is a cricket series between England
and Australia held at least once every two years since 1882. It’s huge, and the rivalry between the two
countries cannot be overstated. In 2006, troops from both countries stationed
in Iraq decided a little war wouldn’t be enough to stop them from honoring the Ashes spirit. According to the BBC, it was all the idea
of one British soldier, who even managed to organize five sponsors for the match, as well
as official uniforms for each team. The Brits planned to travel to the Australians’
base by helicopter, but their arrival was delayed by a rocket attack just before they
set off, with one soldier diving for cover between bags of cricket equipment. Once they arrived, the teams played in 110
degree Fahrenheit heat on coconut matting and concrete, surrounded by desert. Balls kept getting stuck in sand or rocks. And at one point, a rocket had to be removed
from the outfield. But hundreds of people turned out to watch
and everyone seemed to have fun. Australia emerged victorious and the contest
raised $14,000 for charity. According to ESPN Cricinfo, on January 15,
1894, London’s Pall Mall Gazette published a story about an Austalian cricket game that
went absurdly wrong. A team from Victoria had come to play a local
Western Australia team, but on the very first ball the batsman hit it into the fork of a
tall tree, so the home team said it was a “lost ball.” The umpire disagreed, however; he said that
since the ball was still in sight, it wasn’t lost. This meant it was in play, and the batsmen
started running. Meanwhile, the Western Australia team had
to figure out how to get the ball back. First, they looked for an axe, but they couldn’t
find one. Finally someone brought out a rifle. “Get me my rifle!” The batsmen kept running. Someone shot the ball down. One hit resulted in 286 runs. Normally the most runs a player can score
off one ball is six, with 10 the official record. While the story made it into newspapers around
the world, no one could find any evidence. It’s almost certainly apocryphal, made up
by the Gazette to show the Australians didn’t know how to play, quote, “scientific cricket.” Bees apparently love cricket. According to Sportz Wiki, the first recorded
bee attack that stopped play in a match was in 1962. In 1981, a match had to be abandoned completely
when six players and an umpire were stung. Bees had players running for cover during
major international matches in 2007 and 2008. USA Today reports, a 2017 bee invasion during
a Sri Lanka-South Africa match necessitated the use of sticks, honey, a bucket of soda,
fire extinguishers, and finally a beekeeper before play could resume. Bees stopped play temporarily during a match
in Australia in 2018 and one in Zimbabwe in 2016. A swarm in India in 2019 not only paused play
but resulted in five spectators going to the hospital. “Bees! Bees!” For almost 200 years, the English have had
a tradition of playing the game on a surface that makes it almost impossible: a sandbar. The Goodwin Sands are 4 miles off the Kent
coast and sailors first started playing cricket there during low tide in 1824. ESPN Cricinfo says more matches were recorded
in 1854 and 1919. Eventually, it became a tradition. Obviously, since the surface is wet sand,
full of puddles, and only available for a couple hours at a time, it’s impossible to
play any real version of the game, but people still try. Or they did until 2003, when it was banned
for being too dangerous. It’s still legal to play cricket on the Bramble
Bank sandbank off the Isle of Wight, though. This one only becomes visible for about an
hour one day in August, and teams have been playing cricket on it annually since the early
1950s. Spectators have to watch from boats, and the
winner is predetermined. Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, known as “the
Bible of Cricket,” has been published annually since 1864. In the 1919 edition, according to the book
Elk Stopped Play: And Other Tales from Wisden’s ‘Cricket Round the World’, they eulogized
the late King of Tonga, who had fallen in love with the game during his time at school
in New Zealand. The king introduced his island nation to the
sport, but it went a bit too well. Soon, everyone in Tonga was so obsessed with
cricket the king had to pass a law saying they could only play one day a week. in 1884, a visiting party of cricket-mad Tongans
had come to Samoa and made fun of their hosts for not knowing how to play. The Samoans then asked the Brits to teach
them so they could kick their island neighbors’ butt in the future. One of the most controversial sporting moments
of all time took place during a 1981 cricket match. According to ESPN Cricinfo, the match was
the third of a five-game series between Australia and New Zealand. They had each won a match already, so whoever
won would have the advantage. On the last ball, New Zealand had the chance
to tie, but they needed a six, a cricket home run. To stop that from happening, the Australian
captain instructed the bowler, Trevor Chappell, to throw the ball underhand, basically rolling
it along the ground. This technique made it impossible for New
Zealand to get the needed hit. While this was technically legal, the cricket
world lost it. One former player said the throw had killed
one-day cricket, and the Sydney Morning Herald reported another burst into tears talking
about the irreparable damage it did. It made front-page news. People jammed switchboards when they called
to complain about what happened. Both the New Zealand and Australian prime
ministers spoke out against the throw. Cricket’s international governing body ultimately
changed the rules, making underarm deliveries illegal in one-day matches. Thirty-seven years later, Chappell said the
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