Comprehending Cricket?


Is it possible for an American to comprehend cricket? British friends say ‘not possible’. Indian friends just smile and wag their heads as if the question itself is incomprehensible because there is an implied attitude of ‘why must it be necessary to comprehend cricket in order to enjoy cricket?’ Good point. Must we comprehend life in order to enjoy it? Must we understand meaning in order to appreciate value? I decided to put this to a test this weekend. It just so happened that I was hanging out with a British friend at the same time a big Australian-Indian cricket match was on TV. Here was my chance to learn about cricket and prove that I could indeed comprehend a simple (?) game that I thought couldn’t be that much different than the beloved American baseball. My lesson began with an explanation of wickets (essential element) , overs (6 throws make 1 over), outs, bowlers (two types – spinners and fastballs). What began as an afternoon cricket game carried on into the evening. Wow, this game takes 2 or 3 times as long as baseball and so there was time for a walk to an English-style Indian pub to finish up the game properly. By this time I was starting to get a feel for the subtle psychological factors at play along with the high number of runs that the Indians needed to score to beat the Australians. The Indian psychology was taking a beating along with their score. My psychology used to take a beating when I thought I wasn’t ‘scoring’ in my life through various achievements I thought were necessary to produce on a daily basis. I noticed that the Indian fans looked as happy as ever, even though their team was supposedly losing. I mentioned this to my friend who said, “Of course they’re happy – they’re watching a cricket game.” What a great lesson for life! Life is happening – just be happy! Is it possible for any of us to ‘understand’ life? Probably not. There are as many meanings to life as there are people in the world. So let’s throw out the meaning, grab our bats and hit the ball. If we miss, so what? At least we get to swing the bat; at least we’re in the game! Bring it on, I’m in!


  1. I am an Australian and even I don’t really comprehend Cricket.
    Ramesh Balsekar,(An Advaita teacher who is now passed away but lived in Mumbai) whom I know Alan was fond of – absolutely loved cricket

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