The ICC in conjunction with Cricket Australia have today released a standard code of conduct for Backyard Cricket.
1. GENERAL RULES
1a. Can’t Get Out First Ball: Curious rule introduced to give the token unco dickhead a reprieve. Smart-arse batsmen use it to hone their reverse sweep; which becomes interesting when smart-arse bowlers use it to hone their beamer.
1b. Caught Behind (auto wikky): Since no-one has the desire or the reflexes to stand in the slips cordon, an edge onto the back fence constitutes instant dismissal. Has signalled the death of the late cut.
1c. One Hand, One Bounce: This popular innovation (When a fielder can dismiss a batsman by catching the ball in one hand on the first bounce) is essential to the very fabric of the sport. Importantly, it means a game can be organised with a minimum of players. Note that this rule only applies
when the fielder is holding a beer in their other hand.
1d. No LBW: When no umpires are available (or trustworthy), the only option is to can the LBW rule altogether, ensuring cagey batsmen shuffle across the crease as is test driving a Zimmer frame.
1e. Six And Out (Then Fetch It): Introduced to combat space and energy restrictions. It’s rumoured to have been initiated by a hapless bowler living alongside a pack of Rottweilers.
1f. Standard Over: All veteran backyard bowlers know that the standard length of an over in backyard cricket ranges from anything between 10-12 balls. You only relinquish the bowling duties when questioned by any fielders or opposing team members. But only after the standard response of “Two to Come”.
2. ESSENTIAL ITEMS
2a. Esky: Strategically placed at the bowler’s end, the esky is the shrine, the fuel, the Richie Benaud of backyard cricket – because it holds the beer.
2b. Balls: A minimum of 3 tennis balls is advised, as there’s always some smart-arse who delights in tonking them over the fence (see rule 1e). Advanced exponents use electrical tape around half the ball to give it more swing than Austin Powers.
2c. Dog: Preferable of Kelpie or Heeler extraction, so it can field every ball, including those that disappear under the house or thorny bushes. The downside is that they produce more slobber than a 14 year old male Penthouse reader. The upside is the dog will sleep for 3 days straight afterwards.
2d. Rubbish Bin: It would be nice to think you can clean up your own mess, but in reality the bin makes a perfect set of stumps.
2e. Bat: Boasting multiple scratches and dents, and no grip left on the handle, it’s usually of 1980s’ vintage with a single scoop, with a fake signature of Allan Border or Merv Hughes providing added backyard cult status.
3. CODE OF ETHICS
3a. Stumps: The game draws to a close when, i) Your host finally cooks the snags after the barbie has run out of gas, ii) Macca hits the last ball onto the road and it disappears down the drain (not withstanding rules 1e and 2c), iii) You can’t get that batsman out with any type of bowling pace or spin, or iv) Your girlfriend cracks the shits and wants to go home because you “become a shit” when you hang around with your mates.
3b. Flower Damage: Any respectful male will cringe and help hide the fact that you have just topped your girlfriend’s petunias. Somehow, the universal threat of a week-long drought bonds the male species.
3c. Spilt Beer: Ideally, the offending batsman should apologise profusely and offer to replace the vanquished stubbie. Fat Chance. The feat prompts shitloads of laughter, and the usually triumphant “Get me one while you’re at it!”
3d. No Running Between Wickets: Every backyard cricket specialist should know this phrase, “The words fun and run don’t go together.” Just ask Arjuna Ranatunga. Besides, how the hell are you supposed to run in thongs?
3e. Courtesy Call: Always invite the chicks to have a bat. They usually say no, but on the odd occasion, they do take a grip of the willow. You can bowl a couple of dollies to her so she can hit before ending this freakish sideshow with a yorker. Most chicks hold a bat as if they’re chopping wood, and they bowl as if throwing left-handed. And they can’t handle yorkers.
Still, someone has to make the salad.