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Bluffer’s Guide to Cricket | The Ashes Edition

By Daniel Colasimone - 28 Jul 2013

Cricket. Love it or hate it, it's an undisputed Aussie institution. And with the Ashes in full swing, maybe it's time to fake it 'til you make it.

Nobody really understands cricket, but as long as you know the jargon, it's quite easy to pass yourself off as a connoisseur. Here are a handful of terms that will help set you up as a phoney cricket buff.  
 
All-Rounder
Doesn't mean: A triple-threat like Hugh Jackman, who sings, dances, and acts.
Does mean: A useful player who is adept at both batting and bowling.
 
Bouncer
Doesn't mean: The guy who stands outside your favourite (cough) inner-city bar, forehead veins throbbing, biceps creaking as they strain to break through his tight black T-shirt, perennially prepared to knock somebody's block off if given half an excuse, or at least deny entry to anyone with the 'wrong' shoes on.
Does mean: A short-pitched delivery, which rears up around the batsman's chest or head.
 
Duck
Doesn't mean: The aquatic bird which is delicious when slow roasted and smothered with a sauce made from cherries, port, orange zest, lemon juice, and ginger.
Does mean: When a batsman gets out for a score of zero. Loser.
 
Googly
Doesn't mean: An endearing Aussie nickname for the search engine, Google, in a similar vein to Telly, Auntie, or Warnie.
Does mean: A leg-spinner's variation, which turns in the opposite direction to his usual deliveries.
 
Jaffa
Doesn't mean: The iconic Australian red-shelled, orange-flavoured, chocolate lolly which has been accidentally-on-purpose dropped and rolled down cinema aisles for generations.
Does mean: A terrific delivery that is very difficult for the batsman to deal with and often results in a wicket.
 
LBW
Doesn't mean: Lazy Blair Witch, Largest Baby Wins, Lewd Backpacker Watching, Lame Barbecue Worship, Licking Bare Wrists, or Let's Bag Weasels.
Does mean: Leg Before Wicket. A type of dismissal where a part of the batsman's body (usually his legs) blocks the trajectory of the ball, and the umpire adjudges that it would have hit the stumps.
 
Maiden
Doesn't mean: A really classy sheila.
Does mean: A six-ball over that is completed without any runs being conceded. Very valuable for the bowling team in One Day or Twenty20 cricket.
 
Nervous Nineties
Doesn't mean: The brief period, beginning in October 1992, when it looked, worryingly, as though Billy Ray Cyrus' monster hit 'Achy Breaky Heart' would shape the musical landscape for the rest of the decade. Fortunately, in June 1993, Snow came along with 'Informer' and music was saved.
Does mean: The period when a batsman has scored more than ninety runs but hasn't yet brought up his century. Many batsman become nervous so there's an increased risk they'll make a mistake and get out.
 
Plumb
Doesn't mean: What plumbers do.
Does mean: When an LBW decision is very obviously out, ie the ball is clearly going on to hit the wickets.
 
Reverse Swing
Doesn't mean: A kinky subculture, cultivated in internet chat rooms as a spin-off of the swinger lifestyle, in which people stay at home and only have sexual relations with their own partner, without involving anyone else or broadcasting it online.
Does mean: An almost mystical bowling technique first developed by the Pakistanis in the '80s and '90s in which the ball, when it is already many overs old, begins to swing through the air in opposite direction to the way the laws of physics dictate it should.
 
Tailender
Doesn't mean: An acidic comment at the end of a conversation that gives its recipient an unexpected slap in the face. Eg. 'Appreciate your help today, Deb, let's pick it up tomorrow. Try to wear something a little more flattering if you can, though.'
Does mean: The last few batsmen in the lineup, who are usually specialist bowlers and therefore not very good at the batting part. Typically they are quite easy to get out.
 
Image Credit: Annie Holcombe Country Cricket at the Bradman

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