Posted: Sat, 15 Jul 2017 13:06
Cricket is one of those sports that you can only play in certain sort of weathers and situations traditionally. In the same way that you need ice for ice hockey, you tend to need a bit of sunshine for cricket. In Britain, that's a tough ask. But with record temperatures already posted and the best of the weather around the corner, this could be the summer to get on the wicket.
We've picked out 8 reasons why you should get into any form of cricket this summer.
1. It's something to look forward to
If you've just finished school for the summer, plans might be at a premium. But don't allow those six weeks to descend into endless Call of Duty battles in the darkness of your room. Again, if you're weekends are looking empty away from work, join a local club. With training sessions weekly followed by matches on a Saturday, cricket can slowly fill up the diary and give you a reason to get out of bed.
2. It can be done anywhere
In olden times, cricket was a sport that could only be done in very specific places. But nowadays, the invention of Kwik Cricket allows people of all ages to have a bat no matter where they are. With softer balls meaning no extra equipment is needed and variations on the rules, fast paced examples like this can be set up almost anywhere.
3. There are plenty of teams around
Away from the professional sides (we'll get to that), Leicestershire & Rutland has a thriving cricket scene. With 18 senior leagues across the counties and dozens of clubs with both first and second teams, it doesn't matter your ability because there can always be a club for you. And if you're looking to get the younger ones involved, youth cricket is also hugely popular with Under 13, 15 and 17 leagues.
4. It's Therapeutic
In a way that no other sport can really compare to. Try spending a day playing football and you'll get bored of it eventually, because you'll be tired. Eight hours in a swimming pool is just not achievable and don't even consider the pain that a day of tennis will bring (and the blisters).
But playing cricket is calming. You're out and about amongst friends, often not doing too much but still keeping focused and playing a vital role. And if you're batting, you could spend a good couple of hours alone, so it provides the chance to think clearly and keep your head in the game. No other sport can offer that sort of solitude and clarity.
5. There are different formats for everyone
If the longer format of the game makes you want to claw your eyes out, 21st Century cricket has just the answer: Twenty20. First rising to prominence in the mid 2000's, T20 has revolutionised the sport and turned it into a hugely popular, box-office sport. Take a look at any county side in Britain and the biggest revenue earners for them are the T20's, where people of all ages can go down, have a laugh and take in some high quality cricket.
Even at a lower level, T20 is growing in importance. But if you are a fan of the slightly longer formats, most Saturday games are played over around 50 overs per innings, so it's a nice midway between the short and long forms of the game.
6. Leicestershire's a great place for it
Leicestershire boast one of the most successful County Championship sides in the Foxes. Playing their matches at Grace Road, the ground has recently hosted the Women's World Cup and is an ideal place to get into watching the sport. Cricket on the whole rarely sells stadiums out, so head on down for well priced entries and a chance to take in some top quality action. Visit the LCCC website at http://www.leicestershireccc.co.uk/.
Loughborough Lightning also provide the female side of the sport with professional action. A part of the Kia Super League, six teams from around the country battle it out in the T20 format at Loughborough University. To find out more, visit http://loughboroughsport.com/lightning-cricket/#
7. It's Social
Cricket is a very social sport. No matter the age, training sessions are always relaxed places where the atmosphere is fun and friendly. And after matches, it's not unheard of for the clubhouse to turn into a bit of a makeshift drinking establishment if that's how you want your Saturday night to go down.
8. You'll get a suntan
So it probably isn't the key reason behind starting a sport admittedly, but it could help! Getting some sun on your face and forearms (the rest are covered by whites) can give you that sort of glow that passers by will recognise as a cricket tan. Also, sunshine is good for you and there's no better way to tan than standing in a field all day long. Being outside and in the fresh air can work wonders for your physical and mental health, so have a productive and healthy summer.
To find out more about getting into cricket and to see the sides in your area, visit http://www.lrsport.org/sports/cricket.