December 5, 2013
Is your cricket English on a sticky wicket?
Afghanistan calls for support from cricket nations
Having qualified for its first World Cup, Afghanistan needs more support from the traditional Asian cricketing nations in order to develop its national team further, according to a top official of the Afghanistan Cricket Board.
Afghanistan defeated Kenya by seven wickets (1) in a decisive qualifier (2) on Friday to reach the 2015 World Cup, setting off mass celebrations in the country. But ACB chief executive Noor Mohammad Murad criticized the traditional Asian cricket powers for failing to help the team over the past years, saying India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have all failed to respond to his requests to set up games.
He said Pakistan is the only Asian country to support the Afghans, despite dealing with its own security problems. Pakistan’s second-string (3) team played a one-day series (4) against Afghanistan last year and the Pakistan Cricket Board allowed a team from Afghanistan to play in its domestic Twenty20 (5) tournament.
Murad was especially critical of the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
‘I’m very disappointed in the way we have not been provided a chance by Bangladesh,’ Murad said. ‘I’ve been approaching them since one and half years, (*) but no response. I’ve met all their officials. In the meeting I try to convince them but after the meeting nothing happens.’
Pakistan has not hosted any foreign team since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore four years ago. Murad sees Afghanistan as a country which could attract large crowds if Pakistan organizes a full-fledged (6) one-day or Twenty20 series (5) against Afghanistan in a city like Lahore.
Afghanistan’s remarkable journey to the World Cup qualification began in 2008 when it played in the Division 5 event — the lowest ranked ICC tournament.
According to Murad, the country of 30 million has 280,000 registered players, who either play with taped tennis balls or the leather cricket balls.
Adapted from an article by Rizwan Ali, AP Sports Writer
The wicket is a set of stump (stick hammered on the ground) and bail (a piece of wood suspended at the top) that the batsman must defend in a game of cricket. The batsman's job is to keep the ball (or anything else) from hitting the wicket and throwing the bail. Like everything in cricket, there are many ways to take a wicket and a million intricacies to the process!
In any sport, a qualifier is a game or match that a team has to win in order to enter a particular competition.
Second string (3)
In sports, the second string are the players who are available to substitute or relief the regular players during a game. The expression comes from the second string an archer always carried in case the string in his bow snapped. By extension, it refers to all “plan-B” situations.
Cricket series (4) (5)
A famous characteristic of cricket is how long matches can take. In limited overs cricket, or one-day cricket, a match is generally completed in one day, whereas Test and first-class matches can take up to five days to complete. Twenty20 (orT20) cricket was introduced for professional inter-county competition in England and Wales in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams, each has a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs. A T20 game game is completed in about three hours.
When something is full-fledged (usually US English) or fully fledged (usually UK English), it is completely developed and has all the qualifications necessary for something.
(*) That’s not cricket
The expression above is used when something does not follow the rules, and the phrase at the other end of the arrow seems to be not quite cricket! Any teacher or grammar handbook will tell you that the word “since” cannot be used with periods of time (“since one and a half years”), and that in those cases we should use “for”. In any case, say the books, we could make do with the awkward phrase “I've been telling them since one and a half years ago.”
Still, this was spoken by an Afghan speaker, and that explains a lot. If you look at the English spoken in Afghanistan and other countries in the region, you will find that this use of “since” is quite frequent – another similar choice is the passive voice in the previous sentence (“we have not been provided...”), where other speakers would have preferred an active.
This universal phenomenon is known as linguistic variation – the fact that different speakers or groups of speakers follow slightly different rules and make slightly different choices. The main lesson here? Rules in language are not hard and fast, not written in stone, and always to be taken with a pinch of salt (and creativity)!