Watching Cricket

Going to a Game

In baseball, seven hours is about the length of a double-header - two games in a row. In cricket, seven hours is about the length of a one-day match, or one day's play of a Test match.
Attending a professional cricket match is a unique experience. With a day's play taking seven to eight hours (including the breaks), it is not as intense a spectating experience as many other sports.

Some fans will arrive an hour or more before the game starts, in order to watch the players practice and warm up - activities they usually do on the field. These warm-ups involve a mixture of general activities such as stretches and sprints, as well as drills in cricket skills such as catching and bowling. Batting practice is usually performed in special nets outside the playing area, and these may be visible to fans as well.

The best place to sit to watch cricket is in line with the pitch, so you can see the line of the ball as it moves from the bowler's hand towards the batsman. Since bowlers switch ends every over, there are two opposite ends of the ground where keen spectators like to sit. Half the time they will be "behind the bowler's arm", with the batsman facing them, which is generally considered the best way to watch cricket. The other half of the time they will be watching the ball coming towards them from behind the batsman.


Cricket has always been considered more a "gentleman's" game than many other sports, and this is reflected in the behaviour of the fans. Although cricket crowds can get rowdy at times, the vast majority of fans will show respect and admiration for opponents and their performances. Significant achievements on the field, by players of either your own team or the opposition, are always greeted with warm applause. It is a common experience for the fan to be watching an opposing player bat, willing his own bowler to get him out, but to break into applause as the batsman hits the ball through the field for 4. The fan is not cheering the opposing player per se, but rather his display of athleticism and skill.

A day's play begins with the two field umpires walking on to the field, to a round of polite applause from the crowd. Next, the fielding team walks out, to their own applause and cheers as they take up fielding positions. Finally, the two batsmen emerge and walk to the middle as they also get a round of applause and cheering. The home team will generally get a more enthusiastic crowd reponse, but the opposition is always greeted warmly too.

Other events that stimulate applause include:

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