The Hockey Lover’s Guide to Watching Cricket

Your team didn’t make the playoffs. Or if your team is Calgary, they’ve lost. It’s time to find another sport to follow, yell at the TV screen about, and then analyze the scores with your friends. We’re making the switch to the great South Asian past time: cricket.

Virat Kohli IPL Cricket

Virat Kohli, captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team. Image Source: AFP.

If you’ve never watched cricket, it can seem a bit boring the first time you watch, but there’s a reason why a quarter of the world follows the sport. It has drama, suspense, duels, and tests the patience of key players and the audience – just like a classic, melodramatic, Bollywood masala film (without the songs of course).

Just in time for the NHL Playoff season, the Indian Premier League started earlier this month and runs until May 21, 2017 (watch regular season and playoff matches of the 2017 VIVO IPL, included if you have a TELUS Optik TV subscription). The league features eight teams and some of the best cricket players from around the world.

The IPL Primer:

1. The Teams: Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gujarat Lions, Rising Pune Supergiants, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, and the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Pawan Negi Delhi Daredevils IPL

Delhi Daredevils’ Pawan Negi during the IPL 2016 season. Image Source: BCCI.

2. The Season: Each team plays 14 matches across India over 47 days. IPL is one of the world’s Twenty20 cricket leagues, which is a shorter twenty-innings form of cricket completed in about three hours (so no afternoon tea breaks). Because it has a limited number of innings, there’s a greater emphasis on offensive prowess and racking up as many runs as quickly as possible – making for exciting boundaries and sixes.

Kolkata Knight Riders Shah Rukh Khan IPL Cricket

Shah Rukh Khan with his team, the Kolkata Knight Riders. Image Source: AFP.

3. The Bollywood Connection: Kolkata Knight Riders are partly owned by Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, and the Kings XI Punjab team is co- owned by Preity Zinta. And, actress Anoushka Sharma is rumoured to be dating Royal Challengers Bangalore captain, Virat Kohli. Expect to see many celebrity friends in the audience cheering for their favourite teams.

4. The Gossip: In 2015, two teams, the Rajasthan Royals (co-owned by actress Shilpa Shetty and her husband) and the Chennai Super Kings were suspended and found guilty for match-fixing and illegal betting. Two of the co-owners of each team were banned from cricket related activities for life. Drama!

How is Cricket Played?

Cricket is similar to baseball: they play on a grass field; there is a batsman with a wooden bat; and a bowler who throws the ball at the batsman with a straight arm (no bending). Each team has eleven players, and there are two umpires who call the game.

The pitch is 22 yards long with three wooden stumps at each end, covered by two pieces of wood. A wicket keeper stands between the wooden stumps and the batsman, aiming to catch the ball if the batsman misses. The bowler’s aim is to knock the pieces of wood off the stumps. The batter’s goal is to hit the ball out into the field or into the crowd.

The batter scores a run by running between the wooden stumps without getting out. You can get four runs if the ball rolls out of the field and six runs if it flies out into the stands. The opposite team focuses on stopping the batsmen from making these runs with a mix of powerful or tricky tosses that elude the swing of the batter, and by catching the ball and throwing it back to hit the wickets before the batsman returns to it – similar to getting someone out in baseball.

There’s your guide to watching cricket. Who needs hockey?

As a TELUS Optik TV customer, you can enjoy all IPL regular season and playoff matches from April 5 to May 21, 2017, included in your Optik TV subscription. Watch the regular season on channels 909 and 2312, and the playoffs on channel 997.

Researched and written by Jugni Style. This post is sponsored by TELUS.