Soccer or American Football? Cheers mate, but the most popular sport in Straya* is cricket!
As sports are a popular topic for small talk, below Cultural Mixology provides you with a beginner’s guide to cricket for your next trip to Australia:
Cricket was actually established in England during the 16th century and then brought to other countries of the Commonwealth, predominantly Australia and South Africa. As the British colonies became independent, the sport gained popularity in the Caribbean and in South Asia. Nowadays, cricket still ranks as the most important sport in a lot of the Commonwealth countries.
As shown in the diagram below, cricket is a bat-and-ball game played with two teams of 11 players each. One team goes to bat first and the other team goes to bowl first. The batting team has two players (batsmen) on the field who are trying to bat the ball as far away as possible to score as many runs as possible. The distance the ball travels correlates with the number of runs. Meanwhile, the opposite team has ten field players and one bowler on the field who are trying to prevent the batsmen from scoring runs and trying to out them (dismissed from the field). For example, if they miss the ball (bowled) or if the ball gets caught before it hits the ground (caught), they are out. Each team gets 300 balls to score and has to try to outscore the other.
Cricket has gained more and more international awareness and is, contrary to common belief, the second most popular sport in the world today.
And it wouldn’t be an Australian sport if there weren’t any Aussie slang involved! Here are some common expressions that will help you keep up with the locals while chatting about cricket:
A jaffa: the ball is thrown in a way that is nearly impossible for the batsman to play
Bunny: if a bowler frequently manages to dismiss the same batsman, one could call him his bunny
Chin music: a series of balls that are being aimed at the batsman’s face in order for him to have to turn around and miss the ball. Chin music refers to the sound the ball makes while passing the batsman’s chin.
A Dolly / A Sitter: a ball that is very easy to catch
Skipper: the team captain
Gun: a very good batsman
*Straya = abbreviation of Australia, pronounced as a single syllable