Cricket


International cricket is played throughout the year somewhere in the world, either as test matches lasting five days or in its one-day form and most recently the shortened Twenty20 version. It is hugely popular in the sub-continent where top players enjoy fan-fuelled film-star status and is the main summer sport in England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The test playing nations are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies (whose states compete as one country). Zimbabwe has been a test playing nation but is currently playing only one-day internationals. Other countries, including Netherlands, Kenya, Scotland and Canada take part in the World Cup (every four years) and minor tournaments. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the world governing body and each country has its own powerful board of control e.g. the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The sport often throws up political angles. During apartheid withdrawal of international cricket was one of the main weapons used to isolate South Africa. Zimbabwe has also become a target for cricket boycotts because of political upheavals. Tension between India and Pakistan has often been reflected in tours being called off. Sri Lanka and Pakistan have both suffered cancelled tours, or matches played in neutral countries because of security worries.

Cricket has also been hit by betting and match-fixing scandals, the most infamous involving the late South Africa captain Hansie Cronje. It is also subject to sponsorship wrangles. Cricket is a complex game, rich in statistics. Any cricket reporting should include such statistics. Records are constantly being set for bowling, batting, wicketkeeping, and fielding, for personal achievement, for achievement between countries, for partnerships and for venues. Web sites such as www.cricinfo.com are very useful for such information and Wisden, online and in book form, is the oracle of cricketing statistics.

Cricket reporting should include details of the type of bowling – fast, medium pace, leg spin, off spin etc and some of the strokes employed – cut, sweep, pull, drive etc. Fielding positions such as the slips, short leg and silly mid-on for close catches and third man, long leg and deep point near the boundary, will need to be used to describe how batsmen were dismissed or where they sent a particularly fine shot.

The weather and the state of the pitch are also important factors to mention as these may help fast bowlers or spinners or may favour batsmen. The scoring rate is particularly relevant in one-day matches where teams are limited to (usually) 50 overs.

Bowlers deliver six balls in an over. The toss is also key to how a match might progress as pitches may favour batsmen early on but take spin later. Controversial umpiring decisions produce colourful copy as does player behaviour and their reaction to the decisions.


Contents

Coverage

Reuters covers all test matches and one-day internationals. For tests we usually need a preview 36 hours before the match, plus any spot stories on injuries etc leading up to the start. The toss and teams should include brief information on the lineups – who has been left out etc. Scores and scoreboards are sent at the lunch and tea intervals, at the end of an innings and at the close. Correspondents should write a story at lunch (200 words) and update at tea. A quick update at the close should be followed by a wrap and a quotes piece. For major matches correspondents may be asked to update the action more frequently, or to provide highlights for screens. For one-day internationals we generally do not need previews. We run toss and teams, update at end of innings, quick result update, lead and quotes. Sports desk may vary requirements. Scorelines and scoreboards are sent at the end of innings and at the close. For both forms of cricket, sidebars, offbeat stories about venues, history, characters etc and interviews are always welcome.


Style points

Fielding Positions

mid-wicket, mid-on, mid-off, silly mid-on, silly mid-off, deep mid-wicket, leg slip, square leg, short leg, long leg, long off, fine leg, third man first slip, second slip etc, extra cover, deep extra cover, gully (without an e).

Players

fast bowler, pace bowler, spin bowler, spinner left-arm spinner, leg-spinner, off-spinner, medium pacer, wicketkeeper (matches goalkeeper), all-rounder, wicketkeeper-batsman, middle-order batsman, tail ender.

Shots

on drive, off drive, cover drive, hat-trick (hyphenated), test, one-day international (lower case), scoreboard (not scorecard), lineup, West Indies (not the West Indies), day-night match, leg bye, no ball.


Try to avoid programmatic intros where venue, day, innings, test number are all crammed into the first paragraph. Use the intro for what is newsworthy, dropping some of the standard information lower down. Within a story, scores and bowlers’ figures should be written out e.g. 25 for two (25 runs for two wickets), or two for 25 (two wickets with 25 runs conceded). In results and stats boxes this can be abbreviated to 2-25 or 25-2. Cross-check figures in copy with the scoreboard. Any partnerships mentioned should tally with fall-of-wicket figures. Slugs should include a masterslug for tours. This should be the touring side, or SERIES/TRANGULAR etc for one-day tournaments or ASHES for England v Australia test series e.g. BC-CRICKET-LANKA/TOSS, BC-CRICKET-LANKA/GANGULY (for Sri Lankan tour of India.)

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