It’s a bit of a cliché.
“Good cricket”. Well played.
I even have a “good cricket” category on my blog, but looking at my posts I’m not sure they have much in common, beyond the category.
So what constitutes “good cricket”?
For me, it comes down to intent, and respect.
Good Cricket isn’t (only) about the skills on display (although there is something special about seeing a master of his or her craft in full flow, that you don’t often get in the Sunday Bs).
I have played with and against some seriously talented cricketers, some who have even played professionally, at International level in a couple of cases.
I have also played with some significantly less able players, over the years.
But talented or less so, they were all capable of playing “good cricket”, by my definition.
It’s about how the players commit to the game — 100% in the moment.
Most importantly, cricket is a game, and I strongly believe that games should be played to win.
For cricket, the Principles of Play might be simply defined as follows:
- score runs
- don’t get out
- Bowling & Fielding:
- take wickets
- deny the batsman run scoring opportunities
The whole point of the game is to score runs when you bat, and to save runs when you field. And the team with most runs wins.
I have just caught the end of a WBBL game. Scorchers vs. Renegades. Rain-reduced to a 7-over chase. Just one franchise match in a long series.
But from the faces of the winners, and of the losers (particularly the poor bowlers), this game meant everything to them at the time.
If you don’t care about the result whilst playing the game, if you only play “for a laugh”, you aren’t really playing the game at all.
In fact, you are disrespecting the opposition, your team mates, and the game itself.
And that is pretty close to my definition of bad cricket — and there is no point playing it.
I am not advocating “win at any cost”, certainly.
But in the moment, to give everything to take that wicket, to save that run, to score one more than the opposition.
Then, at the end of the game, win or lose, to shake them by the hand and mean it.
And next time you meet them, try to beat them.
Now that, for me, is Good Cricket.