Baseball and Cricket are two well-known members of the "bat and ball" family of games. While the basic principle is the same, the two games differ in their rules, terminology, playing equipment, number of players, field size etc.
The basic principle for the two is same: Players of one team have to attempt to score runs by hitting the ball; at the same time players of the other team have to attempt to prevent the scoring and to put batting players out.
In cricket, players attempt to defend the wickets (3 wooden sticks), while in baseball players attempt to prevent the ball going to the strike zone. The delivery distance, from release of the ball by the pitcher (baseball)/bowler(cricket) to its arrival at the batter(baseball)/batsman(cricket), is almost same in both sports.
- A player who delivers the ball to start the game is said to be a bowler, who bowls, in the case of cricket and pitcher, who pitches, in the case of baseball.
- The fielder behind the batsman is “wicket-keeper” in case of cricket and “catcher” in case of baseball.
- The player who strikes the ball is called “batsman” for cricket and “batter” for baseball.
The game of cricket has a known history spanning from the 16th century to the present day, with international matches played since 1844, although the official history of international Test cricket began in 1877. During this time, the game developed from its origins in England into a game which is now played professionally in most playing nations. The first limited overs international(LOI) match took place at Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1971 as a time-filler after a Test match had been abandoned because of heavy rain on the opening days. It was tried simply as an experiment and to give the players some exercise, but turned out to be immensely popular. Limited overs internationals (LOIs or ODIs, after One-day Internationals) have since grown to become a massively popular form of the game, especially for busy people who want to be able to see a whole match. The International Cricket Council reacted to this development by organising the first Cricket World Cup in England in 1975, with all the Test playing nations taking part.
Baseball along with other bat-ball games is said to have developed from earlier folk games. A number of early folk games in the British Isles had characteristics that can be seen in modern baseball (as well as in cricket and rounders). The game that is played in the form that it is today is said to have taken shape around 1861 during the Civil War.
As compared to cricket, where the ground is an oval-shaped grass field with a thin rectangular area in the middle called “pitch,” the baseball ground is a diamond-shaped field.
The size of a Cricket pitch is 22 yards (66 feet) or 20.1 meters. Baseball is played in a quadrant of fair territory between foul lines. The official minimum distance from home plate to the far edge of fair territory is 250 feet (76.2 metres), but the recommended distances are at least 325 ft (99.1 m) along the foul lines and 400 ft (121.9 m) in center field. This produces a recommended fair territory field area just over 100,000 square feet.
The ball used in cricket is similar to the one used in baseball except that it is covered by heavy leather and is comparatively harder and heavier. Wickets or three wooden sticks with two small bails on top are another thing that one sees behind the batsman in Cricket and not behind the batter in Baseball. Unlike baseball, in cricket, fielders do not wear any sort of gloves to help them catch the ball except the wicket-keeper. Cricket bats are wide and flat, whereas baseball bats are narrow and round.
The main aim is scoring runs in both games. A batsman hits the ball once it is bowled in Cricket and runs towards the opposite end where the other batsman is. They both switch ends and this constitutes one run. When the batsman hits the ball along the ground and it crosses the boundary, it is considered four runs while a ball crossing the boundary whilst in the air is six runs.
In Baseball, starting at home plate, each offensive player attempts to earn the right to run (counterclockwise) to the next base (corner) of the diamond, then to touch the base at that corner, continuing on to each following base in order, and finally returning to home, whereupon a run (point) is scored. Often an offensive player will achieve a base but be forced to stop there; on future plays (usually in concert with other runners), the player may continue to advance, or else be put out. If the ball is hit over the outfield and exits the field there, it is instead (one type of) a "home run”.
As compared to the scores in cricket, scores are far less in case of baseball. The shape of the cricket bat facilitates cricket batters to hit and direct the ball with ease as compared to baseball batters.
Cricket bowlers are categorized based on their bowling style, whereas in case of baseball pitchers are categorized based on their throwing hand (left or right) and based on their usual roles in games (starting pitcher and relief pitcher). In Cricket, two bowlers bowl in tandem from different ends. While a bowler can bowl any number of overs in a Test match, any bowler can't bowl more than 10 overs in a Limited Overs game (50 Over game). In the newest 20-20 version, a bowler can bowl a maximum of 4 overs.
Whereas, in case of baseball, a single pitcher starts the game and makes every pitch until the coach replaces the tiring pitcher with the relief pitcher. A pitcher (or any other player) removed from the game (as opposed to being shifted to another position) cannot re-enter the game.
Forms of the game
Cricket is played in three forms: The five day game is called a Test Match, a one day game with 50 overs is called a One Day International while a game with 20 overs match is called Twenty Twenty Match. An over consists of 6 balls. 50 overs implies fifty playing overs for each side.
Baseball is played in a series of (usually 9) "innings", each of which is divided into two halves (called "top" and "bottom" in that order) In each half-inning, the offensive team attempts to score runs until three of its players are put "out" (removed from play by actions of the defensive team; discussed below). After the third out, the teams switch roles for the other half of the inning. The "home" team plays defense first, and so plays defense in the top of every inning and offense in the bottom of every inning.
Unlike Test and ODI cricket, baseball games are much shorter. At the most, major league games in baseball last between 2.5 to 4 hour, whereas for cricket, games can last up to 5 days. Twenty20 cricket games however last no longer than typical baseball games.
While the condition of the playing pitch is of prime importance in Cricket, baseball is not affected because cricket balls are usually deliberately bounced on the pitch, and this is not permitted in baseball. While major league baseball games continue in light to medium rains and must stop only in very heavy downpour (except in covered stadiums) a cricket game may be stopped when it is raining even lightly in case of poor visibility. Sometimes it may rain heavily and water may be swarmed on the field, in extreme water conditions, both games are either delayed or cancelled depending on ground conditions.
Batting out of turn is not allowed in Baseball while this is flexible in Cricket. In baseball, though only the positions of pitcher and catcher are prescribed by the rules, but other fielders' positions are dictated closely by custom, and shifts in fielders' positions according to circumstance are less dramatic. In cricket, specific rules govern the placement of fielders in various overs, while in baseball, restrictions on the placement of fielders is limited to precluding deception or interference.
Baseball is a situational game and offenses rely on various choreographed and ad hoc plays and sacrifices driven by circumstance to advance runners closer to home plate to score on outs or without getting hits. Manipulating the batting approach and efforts to move baserunners to improve a chance of scoring even by a few percentage points are common and considered at the heart of the strategic game. Defenses likewise rely on choreographed shifts and tactical sacrifices such as intentional walks to maneuver offenses into circumstances less advantageous in that they must present weaker hitters or create circumstances in which the defense may be able to secure multiple outs on a single play.
In cricket, coaches cannot intervene or direct gameplay; the captain must make all the calls once the players are out on the field, and the coach is reduced to a mere spectator. In baseball, by contrast, managers and coaches will often direct the players to carry out a play or to field at a particular depth.
Baseball is largely known as America's pastime, but has a fan base in several other countries as well. Baseball on the professional, amateur, and youth levels is popular in North America, Central America, parts of South America, parts of the Caribbean, and parts of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The sport is played in the U.S., Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Holland and Italy. See History of Baseball outsite the U.S.
Cricket originated in England and is popular in former British colonies. The 2007 cricket World Cup had 16 participating teams including England, West Indies (hosts), Australia, New Zealand, India (see Brian Lara vs. Sachin Tendulkar), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, Holland, Scotland.
Women in the game
Women have a been part of Cricket since 1745 and t he first recorded Women`s Cricket Match held in England took place in 1745 between Bramley and Hambleton at Godsden Common, near Guildford, Surrey. The next game of which records exist took place on 13 July 1747 at the renowned Artillery Ground between the women of Charlton and those of Westdean and Chilgrove Sussex. From there on, there were more of unorganised matches till the first county match. The first county match - between Surrey and Hampshire - was held at Ball's Pond, Middlesex in 1811.
The first cricket club for women, the White Heather Club at Nun Appleton, Yorkshire, was formed in 1887 by eight noblewomen. In the decades following the 1st World War women became increasingly emancipated and many girl's public schools started playing cricket. The Women's Cricket Association (WCA) was established in 1926 by a group of enthusiasts after a cricket holiday in Malvern. The WCA adopted MCC laws and ran matches throughout the country. In the beginning of the 20th century, it spread to Australia also and the Victoria Women's Cricket Association was founded in 1905 and the Australian Women's Cricket Association was founded in 1931.
The first reported women's test match was played in December 1934. Women's one day matches have been played since 1973. There are frequent international competitions between the women's team now. Women's cricket is played by Australia, India, Sri Lanka to name a few.
Women's Baseball League was started in 1943, when four baseball teams faced off during an 108-game schedule. But at the end of the World War II, the league suffered a setback. It folded after 11 sessions. The league was sent a notice that women were not to play baseball and it wasn't revived till the 1980's.
International competition in women's baseball began with the 2001 Women's World Series played in Toronto's Skydome. The strongest and most organized women's baseball leagues are in the United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Cuba and Canada.