When you step onto a cricket field you start speaking a different language, every other word is ‘mate’ and you say things you would never say in any other environment. The amount of jargon in cricket is unrivaled in the sporting world so we’ll take a look at some of the most prevalent phrases and their translations.
‘Good areas mate’
Used when a bowler is putting the ball on a good length and beating the bat.
The phrase is intended to be used for a bowler who is bowling a consistent line and length that is troubling the batsman, but in reality it’s used in a much looser sense. You might use it after your quick has been hit for consecutive boundaries and bowls a ball that is middled straight to cover for no runs. There is often a big difference between good bowling and good areas, make of that what you will.
‘He bowls a heavy ball’
Used to describe a ball that comes from back of a length and hits high on the bat making it uncomfortable for the batsman.
This phrase really doesn’t mean anything at all but it is effectively used to describe a bowler who’s deceptively quick and difficult to get away. Tim Bresnan (see above pic) is the ultimate example of this ‘heavy ball’ bowling as he bustles in and makes life pretty uncomfortable for a batsman.
Used when a batsman has an ungainly swipe at a ball across the line.
Village cricketers might often hear the phrase ‘agricultural but effective’ when describing a number five or six who comes in and hoicks a few boundaries with ugly swipes to the midwicket boundary.
For some to be called ‘agricultural’ is the ultimate cricketing insult. It denotes a lack of technique and even respect for the game. But others don’t care and even embrace the label as they make their way to a chanceless 50. While they bat, the rest of the team bitches about their lack of technique but it’s probably because they’re jealous that he’s just hit a 50 and they can’t hit it off the square with their textbook cover drive.
Used to describe bowling that is easy for a batsman to hit for boundaries, allowing them to ‘help themself’ as they might do in a buffet.
Here’s one for the Geoffrey Boycott lovers. Imagine this: you’re at a wedding and it’s time to eat, there is a lovely spread of salads on one side, cold meats on the other and hot food straight ahead of you. The end result has already been decided, you will be taking a lot of food, it’s just about where you take it from.
In exactly the same way, the end result with buffet bowling will be a lot of boundaries, it’s just about where you choose to hit them. Enjoy.
‘Giving him a bit of chin music’
Used to describe consistent short pitch bowling that goes just past chin height, in theory the batsman should be able to hear the ball whistle past their chin.
The phrase was made to describe scary, short pitch bowling from the likes of Holding and Garner that would give batsmen around the world nightmares.
Sadly, nowadays the phrase seems to have lost its meaning somewhat. Chin music these days is often attributed to anything that a batsman misses above chest height. It is increasingly being used ironically – the other day a rogue long hop from our seasoned spinner hit a crack and struck the batsman on the chest prompting cries of ‘ooooh a bit of chin music’. How times have changed.
‘Corridor of uncertainty’
Used for a ball that is around fifth stump line which the batsman is unsure whether to leave or play at
The line that gives every batsman nightmares. As someone who has been out twice in a row leaving a straight one, I can tell you the corridor of uncertainty is very real and very frightening.
A fairly derogatory term to describe a medium pace bowler
Just as Tim Bresnan is the King of the ‘heavy ball’, Ravi Bopara is the King of the dibbly-dobbly. Ravi has probably come to accept the tag because he’s got quite a few wickets with his ‘dibbly dobblies’ but if you want a real confrontation go up to your middle aged ‘express’ bowler and tell him he bowls dibbly dobblies.
‘That’s a Jaffa’
Used when a bowler has just bowled a very good delivery
Quick, swinging in and then seaming off in the opposite direction. That’s a jaffa.
‘That was village’
Phrase used when someone does something exceptionally poor with the bat, the ball or in the field.
Unsurprisingly this phrase is used most commonly in schoolboy and village cricket where ‘village’ moments are most likely to occur.
The term can be used to denote anything from someone wearing black trainers with their whites to a bowler bowling a ball that bounces three times on the way to a batsman. The people that say it often believe themselves to be well above the standard of the match they are commenting on.
‘It’s an absolute road’
Used when the pitch is flat and ideal for batting
… or as an excuse when a bowler is struggling to get a wicket.