Cricket has been an established team sport for hundreds of years and is one of the most popular sports in the world. It originated in England and is now very popular in countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, the West Indies and South Africa.
Competitive cricket is essentially a bat and ball sport. It is played by two teams on an oval and involves batting, fielding and bowling. There are 11 players a side and a game can last anywhere from several hours to several days.
Cricket can be played both socially and competitively, by males and females of all ages. While competitive cricket is mostly played on a field, cricket just for fun can be played in backyards, parks, streets or on the beach. You only need a couple of friends, a bat, a ball and something that represents wickets. To play competitively, consider joining a local club.
Health benefits of cricket
Although there is some standing around, to play cricket you need to be fit and strong, and have good hand-eye coordination and ball-handling skills. Cricket involves sprinting between wickets and running to stop balls, as well as bowling and throwing.
Health benefits include:
- Endurance and stamina
- Balance and coordination
- Physical fitness
- Improving hand-eye coordination.
Other benefits of cricket
As well as physical health benefits, cricket can also bring other benefits and opportunities such as:
- Team skills
- Social skills such as cooperation, communication and learning how to cope with winning and losing
- Social interaction – it’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
Playing competitive cricket
There are over 1,000 cricket clubs and more than 100,000 registered cricketers in Victoria. So playing competitive cricket is a popular way to keep fit and have fun.
Before you decide whether competitive cricket is right for you, remember that:
- Cricket is a team sport. It’s important you are up for some company and for communicating with others.
- Cricket clubs will mostly hold matches on the weekends, both Saturdays and Sundays.
- Playing competitive cricket usually involves committing to regular matches or practice sessions.
- Umpiring and scoring are other ways to become actively involved in competitive cricket.
Cricket costs and equipment
If you want to start playing competitive cricket, you’ll need to join a club. This will often mean you will have to pay club membership and competition fees. For competitions, you will also need to buy pants and shirts to play in (cricket whites) and cricket spikes (shoes with spikes) for playing on the turf.
Avoiding injury when playing cricket
Some tips to avoid injuries when playing cricket include:
- Drink water before, during and after play.
- Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, even in cloudy conditions.
- Always warm up, stretch and cool down.
- Good technique and practice will help prevent injury.
- Fast bowlers should restrict the number of overs bowled during play, taking into account their physical maturity and fitness.
- Wear the right protective equipment. While batting, wear body padding including gloves, leg pads, a box (for males) and forearm guards. When wicketkeeping, batting or fielding in close, also wear a cricket helmet with a faceguard.
- Seek professional advice on footwear.