Cricketing confusions

Virat Kohli batting and hitting a four
Virat Kohli

Come to think about it, I had never heard about any batter other than that used in making cakes but today in cricket commentary it is used by several cricket commentators as a common gender noun for both, batsmen as well as bats women. In fact, even my computer refuses to accept batswomen as a single word as the feminine form of batsmen. It is not only the game of cricket that has undergone several changes but even several terms in its commentary have undergone changes in meaning mainly due to players becoming commentators whose views today seem to be the last word in the application of any cricketing term.

Portrait of Admiral Nelson
Admiral Nelson was a very great British Admiral who had led successful sea operations against France and is said to have only one leg, one hand and one eye. Hence the term ‘Nelson’ for the number 111.

Years back when cricketers were moulding into commentators, I remember one such cricketer referring to the score of 222 as ‘Double Nelson’; a rather bizarre term to be used if one knows the origin of the term ‘Nelson’ for the number 111. Admiral Nelson was a very great British Admiral who had led successful sea operations against France and is said to have only one leg, one hand and one eye. Hence the term ‘Nelson’ for the number 111.

Changes in the laws of cricket have brought about yet another change in how a boundary is described in the commentary. According to the earlier laws, a ball had to cross the boundary line to be declared a four or a six. Thus, for a four when the ball crossed the boundary it was said to go ‘all the way to the boundary for a four’ while for a six it was described as ‘over the boundary line for a six’. However, with the change in the law that a boundary is scored once the ball touches the boundary rope (there were no ropes earlier), commentators have started using the term ‘All the way’ to report a six but no such term for a four which at best may be described by the number of times the ball bounces within the field of play before reaching the boundary rope.

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Gp. Capt. Achchyut Kumar
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Gp. Capt. Achchyut Kumar

Gp Capt Achchyut Kumar has been associated with The Teenager Today for more than 50 years; initially as a reader and later as a contributor on varied topics. Having worked in the Indian Air Force and in India’s oldest company, Forbes & Company Limited, he is now practising as a lawyer in Nainital High Court.