On the point with Farai Aubrey Kamba plus diagram
MY past articles have compared cricket to hwishu so that most of us who didnt understand the game of cricket have a better understanding of it. I have always viewed the game of cricket as a very technical game and of which it is, thus I always used to think thats the reason why most people did not love the game. Indeed it is a very technical sport, and one of the most difficult and important part of this sport is the fielding part of it. There are many positions in the sport but in this article I shall speak of a few important ones that are basic and will help in understanding.
Field placements in cricket are not standardised. There are several named field positions, and the fielding captain uses different combinations of them for tactical reasons. There are also descriptive words to specify variations on the positions labelled by simple names, so that any position in which a fielder stands can be described. Every patch of grass on a cricket field has a name, thats absurd right? It sure is true.
The following diagram shows the rough positions of all of the simply named field positions.
SUB PUT DIAGRAM HERE
When batting, for a right handed batsman, the side the batsman is facing is called the offside and the region behind him when he faces the bowler is the legside (also called the onside). For a left handed batsman, it is vice versa.
The line of fielders standing behind and at an angle to the batsman, are called slips. They are called first slip, second slip, third slip, fourth slip (usually gully), fly slip, etc. Usually three slips and a gully is the favoured fielding position among teams.
The word slip seems to have its origins from the fact that the fielders were put there to catch balls that slipped the bat, meaning that they had to catch the balls which took the edge of the bat. As per the picture, the slip fielders stand to the left of the wicketkeeper (from the PoV of the reader). If the slip fielder stood to the right of the keeper, he is called leg-slip.
Covers: While there is no real satisfactory explanation, a good guess would be that the position is named so because the fielder usually stands where the second pitch (grounds have up to three pitches, but the match is only played on one) is kept covered. Since the fielder is standing on the place where the covers are usually kept, he is called cover. As usual, if he stands deep, he becomes deep cover and if stands a little wider, he becomes extra cover.
Third Man: The third man is the guy who is on the boundary rope behind the wicket keeper. The name of this fielding position comes from the early days of cricket. Usually, in the olden days, only two fielders were kept on the boundary ropes, since the bowling teams preferred to attack. But as the batting team became more attacking, another fielder was sent to man the boundary, usually behind the keeper where the edged balls were running to the boundary. Since he was the third fielder on the boundary, he was called third man.
Point: Point is the off side equivalent of the square leg. The man at 45 degrees to the batsman on the offside, is called the Point. This words origin is also traced back to the olden days, where that particular fielder was stationed to catch the balls that came off the toe of the bat, which was then called the point of the bat. Hence the name point. If the point fielder stands a bit to the left, he becomes backward point. Crickets best fielders, including Jonty Rhodes were stationed at backward point.
Fine Leg: When the batsman manages to hit the ball off his leg behind backward square leg, he only manages to do so using the inside part of his bat or off the inside edge, and it is stated that the ball has been hit fine, meaning that it has not come off the middle of the bat. The fielder stationed behind the keeper on the legside boundary rope is called fine leg, because he is positioned to catch the balls which have been hit fine.
Gully: Gully is the man standing between point and third slip. He serves as a kind of a fourth slip, but is not called so because he stands deeper than the rest of the slips. Again, its origin is a bit scratchy, but the best I founds states that: Gully, which literally means gap or channel between the slips and point. Usually, when the ball gets a thickish edge, it used to roll between the narrow space between third and slip and point, and this channel began to be known as the gully.
Next week I will add more of the positions that I have left out in this article. To those that I have bumped into on the streets of our beautiful city thank you so much for your feedback. You are the readers and this paper was made for you.
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