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It's NBA playoff time

Cricket anyone?

April 26, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Sunday's weather left me without a desire to play golf, so, with an off day in front of me, it was easy to decide to be lazy and take advantage of being an unusual couch potato.

I had the television on with an occasional look-see at what the Orioles and Nationals were doing and then managed to get my golf fix with the Shell Houston Open, pulling for John Daly to beat Vijay Singh in a playoff.

Then came a lull, with the NBA on TV and nothing interesting until ESPN's baseball coverage.

While the Nonsense Basketball Association was on, I decided to hop on to my PC and scour the Internet, check some baseball box scores and anything else I could find interesting - as long as it had nothing to do with the NBA.

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Alas, I saw a story about a sport that is huge in foreign countries abound, and I'm not talking soccer.

The Associated Press was reporting from Bridgetown, Barbados, where Andre Nel was the key figure in South Africa's innings victory over the West Indies to claim what is called a 2-0 unassailable lead in the four-test series.

The report brought back some quick memories of my last visit to Ireland, which was a golf-oriented trip.

On a stop around the Ring of Kerry in Doolin, Ireland, a look out of my hotel room was straight into a complex of confusion. "What the heck was being played over there?" I inquired and found out it was cricket.

Interestingly, I found out about the 5 3/4-inch ball, a not-more-than 38-inch long wooden bat bladed at the end, wickets with bails and stumps and a match played in one or two innings that can last for hours.

A batter, such as Nel, wears shin guards such as a catcher in baseball wears. He dons a helmet and the mask is one similar to one used in lacrosse.

Cricket is a sport played from Ireland to South Africa, from Australia to the West Indies and from England to India. Anyone on the Internet can find the latest scores and news on the sport. There are betting parlors and the news is the same type that goes on in America. This coach is in trouble with his record; so-and-so is not performing up to expectations and so on.

There are 42 laws in the Cricket Code of Ethics, revised in 2000. Each law has a terse representation of the objectives and rules.

Here's one excerpt from the wire story:

"Hinds perished just before tea as he top-edged a sweep to short fine leg off Boje. Nel polished off the innings with three wickets in his spell after tea."

Yes, if the captains agree to play two innings, then there is a short spell in which the players stop for afternoon tea.

Cricket anyone? Afternoon tea anyone?

Aahh - it was time for ESPN's major league baseball game.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached a 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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