How to fix cricket

Francis Cotes, The Young Cricketer, 1768

Francis Cotes, The Young Cricketer, 1768

If you read my blog a lot, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m not exactly what you would call interested in sports.

Mr D, however, is very interested in sports.  Two sports in particular in fact: cricket, and rugby league (though he will also watch rugby union, football (the kind where the foot actually hits the ball a lot, not the kind where they throw a ball around and call it football anyway), basketball, hockey (the field kind, not the ice kind) and even netball if there is nothing else that involves ovoids or spheres flying through the air on TV).

So, there is a lot of sports on in my house, and, despite my best efforts not to, I’ve acquired a rather impressive amount of sports knowledge by sheer osmosis.

And when I say a lot of sports, I mostly mean cricket, because cricket comes in a variety of forms of a lot: too much (20/20 – basically a whole afternoon); even more (1 day matches); ummm…this is getting ridiculous (3 day matches); and holy crap, it goes for FIVE days!?! (test matches).

And this is the root of the problem with cricket.

See, cricket is long, and for most of the long, cricket is boring.

Cricket is so boring that for whole hour long stretches in a match of cricket the entire crowd (and these are people who have not only voluntarily agreed to watch this, but actually paid money to do so) will chant “Booooring.”  Over, and over.  And over.

Cricket is so boring they have to hire a DJ to play songs to try to get the crowd to sing along to keep them from chanting  “Booooring.”

Cricket is so boring that the players on the field chat to the fans and sign autographs for little kids, while the game is going on.

Cricket is so boring that during the match the two announcers (there are always two, like airline pilots, to keep each other from falling asleep) will discuss the colours of the players socks, and how they compare to yesterday’s sock colours, and what that means about the player’s mindset.  Or the different genera of seagulls that can be seen flying around the stadium.  Or the flowers that are about to bloom on the trees around the stadium, and how they will check back each day of the 5 day match so you can watch the buds open.  (I am not making these up or exaggerating in the slightest by the way – these are all actual things I’ve seen/heard while trying not to watch cricket).

That’s right.  Cricket is so boring that watching flowers open is more exciting.

I would not be remotely surprised if there has been a cricket match where the cameras have swung over to watch the progress on a house next to the stadium that is being  painted, because watching paint dry is more exciting than cricket.

Cricket is so boring that its only exciting if a batsman accidentally manages to hit a seagull (of any genus).

And the seagull comes back to life instead of just dying.

Not only is cricket deadly boring for the spectators, the announcers, and some of the fielders, but at any given time all but the two batsmen from  one team are stuck sitting on a bench, knowing they might sit there for hours and hours without a chance to do anything else.  So those guys are tense and bored too.

And, to top off all this bored-ness, half the time a cricket match ends with no result.  That’s right.  Five days, and there isn’t even a winner!

But, ladies and gentlemen, I’m not just here to tell you how boring cricket is.  I’m here because I’ve figured out how to FIX it.  I’ve figured out a way to keep cricket interesting for the cricket fans, make cricket interesting for me, and give the announcers and everyone else something to look at and talk about and keep interested in during the boring bits.  And, as a bonus, it would also mean that there would be a winner at every match.

The solution revolves around those players on the batting team sitting on the bench, waiting for their turn to bat (which may never come, because theoretically an entire game could end with only the first two batsmen getting a chance to bat).

Instead of just sitting there on the bench, the yet-to-go or already-gone-and-got-out batsmen should do handwork.

You know, knitting, crochet, embroidery, tatting, lacemaking, macrame…

They would have something to do and whenever the announcers had nothing cricket-y to talk about a camera could just swing over and check out what the not-batsmen were working on, and the announcers could tell us “Oh, look’s like Warner’s  finished up the daisy stitch and has started on the French knots.  Look at that nice tight knotwork” and “Oh my, Guptill’s doing Tunisian crocket.  We don’t see much of that at all, very unusual skill” or “Kholi started that cardigan during the South African tour.  He’s made great progress – only needs the final ribbing.”

Plus, there could be a display at all the cricket matches with the finished work, so while Mr D was watching the game I could be drooling over the tape lace and developing a  crush on Vettori’s beautiful whitework skills.

Also looking at the pieces, of course, would be the judges.  At the end of the match they would declare a winning team based on points, so that even if there wasn’t a cricket result, there would be a handwork result.

But wait, there’s more!

The finished pieces could be sold off for charity!  Imagine owning a piece made by your cricket hero!  Or one that was completed during your favourite cricket moment!  How amazing would that be?

You have to admit.  It’s brilliant.  It totally works.

Get to it ICC!

*In the interests of fairness/preserving my marriage I should mention that the Cricket World Cup is currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand, and New Zealand will be facing South Africa in the semifinals later this week, and New Zealand just beat the West Indies in the quarterfinals in Wellington and apparently it was a very exciting match (all 7 hours of it) and world records were broken (but no, Mr D, I’m still not sorry that I declined the offers to go).


  1. Haha! I’m with you in not enjoying sports. Thank goodness my husband isn’t a cricket fan!

  2. I’m in California and love my baseball, but I admit I get a lot done while watching a game. Your post about Cricket had me figuratively rolling on the floor laughing (cat in lap). I will read it to my husband when he returns. Thank you for your sense of humor and cleverness in creating art out of boredom.

  3. Ha ha, great idea!
    I have the exakt same problem in my house. Only he is watching ice-hockey (junior, senior, national and inrenational games), and all plats of fotball (the real kind that Germany wins Zlatan plays).
    Thank goodness we don’t have any real sport-chanells…

    I tried to make a game out of it – everytime he watched a game, I would stitch on my curent historical project.
    That only lasted about a week – Therese was no way I could keep up 😕 (and I dear say I sew quite a lot).

  4. Tegan says

    There’s a cricket bar near where I live (in Massachusetts, so this is unusual) and my Indian friend has taken to dragging her husband there weekly. Considering he did the same to her for baseball, I call them both crazy and try and stay away 😛

    I am a fan of your solution for boredom! Handcrafts do amazing things for killing time.

    Oh, and American football is called “football” because it’s based on an old English game that one played “on foot” as opposed to “on horse”, so it was a game for peasants and not royals. Which, knowing it’s an old English game explains the weird rules and amount of downtime just as much as cricket does.

    • Sarah says

      The development of American football from soccer-type ball-kicking games of greater or lesser degrees of formality via rugby is pretty well documented. I suspect that you might have a false etymology there.

  5. The only thing I know about cricket is from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the 1990 movie): “You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket!” (Thanks Raphael)

    I’m Canadian so a passing understanding of ice hockey is very helpfu (plus I actually do like it)l, and I do enjoy Canadian football when it’s on (I’ll never understand why the season end game is at the end of November, never ever ever), but that’s where I draw the lines! I think every sport could be improved by the “off” players doing handwork 😀

    • Elise says

      Right! Hockey through osmosis! I am glad that cricket never took off in Canada, though. (take off, eh?) Sounds terrible.

  6. Anfinwen says

    I thought you were going to recommend that all the players dress up in period costumes illustrating the history of the sport! : )

  7. The one and only time I played cricket in summer school, we were being very old-school English about it and sat on the lawn, chatting with a cuppa in hand, waiting for the ball to fly by which happened once in a blue moon. Had I already been doing needlework back then, I would have definitely brought it, too. Such an awesome idea. 🙂

      • The men will never understand how one can find their favorite sport even the slightest bit boring. And quilting is a nice pass-time for these moments, too. I bet you sewed quite a few squares together while at the pitch.
        (My cuppa record in England were four I think, drunk over 2 and a half hours. When I came back outside with a fresh one, I had never really missed much ;). )

  8. Oh my, cricket, apparently the Indian film that left me feeling I would never understand it was only scratching the surface – and actually managed to make it way more exciting than it really is!
    I love your suggestion.

    • Sarah says

      Lagann? Hilarious movie, for the English as such stereotypical moustache-twirling villains and the Indian actors trying so very earnestly to look as though they’d never picked up a cricket bat before – and failing. The artistic decision to include pretty much a whole cricket match as the denoument was somewhat questionable – perhaps they could have broken it up with some more dance numbers.

      • I’m just thinking sport films in general must be a foregone genre, because if I remember correctly, Lagann was actually praised as such.
        (But they make great dance numbers!)

  9. P.S. There’s a genuine if totally unofficial Czech term, “that round nonsense”. As in “running after that round nonsense.”
    There are actually some men of the football (kicking type) breed who use that term themselves to describe their own passion.

  10. A capital idea!!

    Back in the 1960’s, the Los Angeles Rams (American football) had the Fearsome Foursome, which included Roosevelt (Rosey) Grier as Defensive Tackle. His hobby? Needlepoint. He even wrote a book – Needlework for Men (still available on Amazon, I think). So the precedent for crafty sports icons has been set.

    Then there’s Sarah Ivinson, a writer who is passionate football (i.e., soccer). She mixes knitting with sports from a different vantage point. “Observing a dearth of yarn-based sports reportage in the media, she decided to single-handedly rectify the situation, capturing all the latest footballing action through the medium of knitting, to hilarious effect.” Her site is theknittedfootballer.com.

    Perhaps cricket matches could feature a knitting contest amongst the audience as well as amongst the players and the winner gets a free pint at their favorite pub- talk about the heat of competition! 😉 Of course, everything must be knit in white, otherwise it wouldn’t be cricket. (Sorry.)

    • Lynne says

      theknittedfootballer.com is hilarious! Thank you for sharing.

  11. I’m also not a cricket fan, I’m happy to watch the 5 minute snippet on the news to tell me if we won or not, but other than that, way too boring; I’d rather watch paint dry and at the moment I’m putting off the prep work to do that cos really I’d rather sew or knit or spin or weave.

  12. Jen Brown says

    ah, you did make me laugh, I read out the ‘boring’ comments to MMA. He laughed and said it was probably a good thing you didn’t hear the time the commentators discussed arthritic cane toads.

  13. Valerie says

    Is there a “love this” button? Because, Yeah!!!! 🙂

  14. Alex says

    I have to admit I tend to get a lot of sewing stuff (patternmaking as well) done when I’m ‘watching’ Formula 1 and superbikes on TV with my dad. Even dad doesn’t watch all of the race. He tends to watch the first few laps (there’s a lot of crashing then) and then just check in every hour or two, then watch the end.

  15. Elina G says

    Hahahaa. Suppose Mr D has learned a lot about sewing through osmosis.

  16. Susan Robinson says

    Oh man – I hope this works. I’ve sent 3 emails and all of them have
    been undeliverable. Clearly not a tech wizard.

    I laughed and laughed.

    I laughed so hard my husband came in to find out why and laughed too.

    As a person who has osmosed a fair bit of sport, I salute your sense of humour about it.


  17. YES!!! Oh, yes! If you’re planning a march through the streets of Wellington to raise awareness, let me know – I’ll be there with bells on! (And I’m sure Vettori would wield a beautiful needle.)
    I always thought that the whole point of an afternoon’s cricket was to go and sit on the grass with a picnic, some congenial company, and a bit of handwork. The cricket is just the backdrop, the excuse.

  18. *snort!* Cricket just seems so mind bogglingly pointless. Golf is more exciting.
    I’ve actually become a casual hockey fan since moving to New England a few years ago. It’s a great fast-paced game with lots of cool shhhooshing noises. Although, the local Federal-league games are pretty dull compared to national league, and the fights are very obviously mandated (1 per game); I mean really, if there’s no blood on the ice, it’s not a real fight. But there’s no way I can watch any sport on tv.
    I do hope the ICC takes your suggestion under consideration. Imagine the final exhibit at the end of the season! (Um, cricket does have a season, right? It’s not played year-round?)

  19. smashandme says

    So true! Once I actually sat through 5 days of a test match (which we lost) it was just before I left NZ for London so I was unemployed and essentially homeless so what else could I do but watch the bloody thing with my Dad!. Was nice to be able to devote 5 days to the pursuit of one task (other than watching the cricket) I finished a pretty massive cross stitch project. I will note that every time someone got out or something exciting happened I was guaranteed to be away from the telly!

  20. When it comes to cricket I agree with Douglas Adams. It’s incomprehensibly dull and pointless. There are much more exciting sports available.

  21. Zirconelle says

    I wish I could laugh at this posting, but as a lifelong West Indies Cricket fan (the team whose hopes were dashed in the record setting game last weekend) it hit way too close to home. I love cricket, even the boring bits. I ‘m useless at needlework and find it boring if I have to do it myself. I prefer instead to admire the work of others, hence visiting your site. To each her own.

  22. For the record, my sister loves this, too. She’s an embroiderer, herself, and got a kick from the idea of the commenters having something else to focus on. “And watch out, it seems XY’s changing colours!”

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