Cricket is the leading summer sport in the UK. Additionally, it's quite popular in Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, the West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. These ten nations have been the only countries to play Test Cricket since international cricket began in 1877. A Test Match is an international contest, which lasts up to five days. There are also shorter, one-day versions of the game.
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A batsman should have both a good eye and a sound technique. He should stand near to his wicket, but far enough away to enable him to have several options for a choice of shot, otherwise he will be too cramped. Popular cricket shots are the cover drive, straight drive, on drive, hook, pull, cut, the glance, and, against slower bowlers, the sweep.
There are two types of bowling in cricket. Spin bowling is a slow type of bowling, in which a bowler imparts spin on the ball. This action can make the ball deviate from a straight line, and turn either toward the batsman or away from him. The other type of bowling is seam and swing bowling, which can be bowled at a considerably quicker pace, and at speeds reaching nearly 100mph. Seam bowling relies on deviation off the pitch and swing bowling relies on deviation through the air. Some of the quicker bowlers will often rely on pace alone.
Athletic ability is an advantage for a fielder in cricket who fields a distance away from the wicket. He will need to be able to run fast to retrieve the ball, dive to stop the ball, and have a good throw from a distance. A fielder who stands behind the wicket, such as a slip, will need to rely more on reaction speed and a good pair of hands for catching the ball when edged by a batsman. The proximity of the batsman to the slip fielder will mean that the fielder will not normally have much time to react. A wicketkeeper is a specialist position; he stands directly behind the wicket to stop and catch the ball.