French cricket

French cricket

French cricket, (also known in Australia as Toey) is an informal form of cricket where a ball (usually a tennis ball) is bowled underarm at the legs of another player holding either a cricket bat or a tennis racquet. The player holding the bat, the batsman, is required to block and defend his wicket, with the batsman's legs taking the place of stumps. The batsman is not allowed to move his legs and in some variants, the batsman can only hit the ball in a direct upward or scooping-like motion.

Any number of fielders can stand around the batsman, and any fielder can bowl at the batsman from any angle. The batsman is bowled out when his legs are hit below the knee and he can also be caught out. The bowler or fielder who bowls or catches the batsman out normally replaces him.

Often, the batsman is only allowed to turn to face the next delivery if he hits the ball. If he misses and is not bowled, he must attempt to play the next ball (which is bowled from where the ball ended up after the previous delivery) without being allowed to turn to face it. In some variations, the batsman is not allowed to turn at all, and is declared out if his feet move.

French cricket is most commonly played by children, or mixed groups of children and adults, although adults sometimes play it as a diversion during outdoor parties or on picnics.

Interestingly, it is not played by the French, and the origin of the name remains to be explained. Suggested possibilities include juxtaposition with the English origin of regular cricket. It seems likely that as the game is a lesser version on regular cricket that the name is intended to mock both the game and the French. The name may also have arisen from the similarity of the batting motion to the one used in croquet which while not a French game is sometimes assumed to be French because of its name.

If the game is played more seriously, players take turns to bat and the player who batted for the most balls or the longest time is considered the winner.

If the batsman does not turn to face the ball before a fielder picks it up, he would have to turn his waist and face the fielder bowling in order to hit the ball.

Alternatively, when the batsman hits the ball, he can take 'runs' by revolving the bat around him with both hands. A batsman can take these runs until the ball is in the hands of a fielder and he calls 'ready'.

ee also

*Leg before wicket
*Cricket terminology

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