The sound of leather on willow. Nothing gets a punter to the bookies quicker than this massive global betting game.
We've said it before that just because we English think of cricket as a summer game it doesn't mean the rest of you have to. Lets face it International Cricket is being played all year round.
It doesn't matter whether it's a Test match, one-day international, the county competitions or the very latest and most exciting form of cricket the Indian Premier league with its Twenty20 format there is plenty of cricket to see.
An important thing to remember about Test sides are they stay together for years with very little change they are in someways quite predictable the strengths and weaknesses can almost be depended on. So don't go against them if a side struggles against spin bowlers this year you can bet they will struggle for the next few years make notes and use it. India are renowned as poor travellers, Pakistan don't like fast bouncy wickets and pitches that swing. The Windies hate the moving ball, England will struggle if the conditions don't suit bowlers, don't them Aussies hate spin.
Tests often don't last the five days and the comment they play for five days and then it ended in a draw' couldn't be further from the truth.
Usually a team will dominate for a period of two to three years, keep an eye open to which overseas players they are signing if a team is picking up one day specialist they are going to go all out to win the one day series of games or they could be signing to win the four day championship games.
Does it matter you might ask, Night games are prone to be affected by the toss if you look at stats, teams who lose the toss will lose 10% more games than they do if they win the toss.
Weather - the main enemy of One Day Cricket in the UK - Understand the Duckworth Lewis method.
You should be wary of the weather forecast. Always check the forecast before betting on a one-day game. If it rains the Duckworth-Lewis method is used to work out what a team would have scored if overs are lost.
The Duckworth-Lewis method is a mathematical equation devised to work out what a team would have scored if it hadn't rained. It is used to set totals and alter them.
It has been known to work in favour of the team batting second, as they will know what they need after the end of each over if the rain comes. If you would like to know more about the origins of the game.
In 1300 Edward the First listed a reference to a game similiar to cricket in his household accounts, however the precise origins of cricket have been lost in the annals of time.
One story has it being started by shepherds in South East England, with a ball made of wool or rags being bowled along the ground, the target it was said was the wicket gate of the sheepfold and the shepherd would use his crook to ht the ball.
This they say explains why early bats had a curved blade. The first recorded cricket match was played at Coxheath in Kent in 1646. Although a rural pastime by the 18th century it was being played at all levels of society. The first rules were written in 1744 the MCC produced a revised official set in 1835 and these are the rules that are mainly used in the modern game.
A game played between two sides of 11 players with a wicket consisting of 3 stumps (wooden stakes) on top of the stumps are a set of bails the wicket stands at each end of a what should be a grassy pitch 22yards in length, each side takes turns in batting and fielding, the batting side sends out two batsmen one stands at each wicket they each have a bat with a long flat side and a ball is bowled at them, the ball is solid.
The object of the game is to score as many runs as possible in the allotted time. A bowler delivers the ball in an over which consists of 6 balls being bowled at the batsman, if he hits the ball and in certain other circumstances he can attempt to run to the other wicket the batsman at this end must also run if they succeed they have scored a run, should the ball reach the boundary of the field they have scored four runs automatically should the ball not touch the ground before it crosses the boundary they have scored six runs.
A batsman can be got out by several means either a fielder catches the ball after the batsman has struck it and before it hits the ground. He can be bowled that is the ball hits the wickets and knocks the bails off the stumps, the wicket keeper can stump the batsmans that is knock the bails off the stumps whilst the batsman is stood outside his crease (the safe area in front of his wicket.) or he can be LBW This is when the ball first hits his lower leg before he has hit it and the leg is directly in line with the stumps or the batsman can accidently knock his own bails off. Once ten batsman have been dismissed the other side goes into bat. However in a sport like cricket it is often the sporting thing to do that when a side feels it has scored enough runs to win it can declare and let the other side bat, giving them a sporting chance of catching up with them.
There are lots of Cricket competitions to bet on but the most popular has to be the Ashes series which is played between England and Australia the series came about due to a mock article which appeared in the Sporting Times after Australia had defeated England at Oval in 1882, the article read 'In Affection Remembrance of English Cricket Which Died at the Oval on 29 August 1882, deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, R.I.P. n.b. the body will be cremated and taken to Australia.' They then burnt the bails placed the ashes in an urn and despatched them to Australia. This is the trophy that is so desperately fought over each summer.
You also have the English County Championship which is the oldest cricket competition in the world it has been in existence since 1873 but the proper points system wasn't introduced until 1890.