cricket out of context

Better Half is a bit obsessed with the Ashes, which, because it's taking place in Australia, involves listening to the radio at very unsocial hours. One of these days I will do a post on cricket metaphors in BrE (as I have started to do for baseball in AmE--though there is a lot more to do in that field, so to speak). I incidentally heard the following on the radio very early this morning by Geoffrey Boycott ("a horrible , nasty man," says BH, "but very entertaining"):
If you're going to be a hooker, you should be a controlled hooker, not a compulsive hooker...

I said, "there should probably be court-ordered therapy on the NHS for compulsive hookers." BH agreed.


  1. I don't understand cricket. If you do get round to explaining its mysterious metaphors, do you think anyone will believe me when I say "I didn't understand cricket until it was explained to me by an American"?

    You could also have a look at the metaphors of rugby, which, as we all know, is (like American football) a game played by men with odd-shaped balls. I believe they have hookers in that game too.

  2. Hello Lynne

    I came across your very interesting blog in trying to verify the George Bernard Shaw quote (I had thought Sir Winston Churchill; elsewhere it's been attributed to Mark Twain). I have given your blog a plug on the forum so you might be getting some more hits -- I am myself British (Liverpool)-born but live in the United States and I and some of the other North American scousers were explaining Thanksgiving to those still in the UK in a "Happy holiday" thread.


  3. Have you ever seen the explanation of cricket which goes on about 'The team that's in goes out, and the team that's out goes in.' etc etc. My mother has it on a tea towel, IIRC.

    Oh, and PLEASE include 'The batsman's Holding, the bowler's Willy' because to an American, that wouldn't be in the least bit funny, would it?

  4. Thanks for the plug, Christopher! Scouse has been known to be raised on this blog, as it seems like half the people I know are from Liverpool. (Ok, so it's three friends and their extended families/friends, but that's three more than I know from Manchester.)

    Rebecca, AmE speakers typically wouldn't know who Holding and Willey were, so they wouldn't get that it's a pun, but they'd still recogni{s/z}e the tee-hee factor.

    Straw, you're not going to understand cricket any better after I explain it to you.

  5. Cricket is a mystery to me too, though there is the tale of how two radio-commentators found it hard to continue describing the match after one had said that Mr Ian Botham, a player of the game, "didn't quite get his leg over", referred to here. That's about it from me for cricket, though, if I may stray into another sport, it is said that, one evening, a radio-announcer had to read out the following football (soccer) score: Forfar 5 Fife 4. This brings us into the vast and intriguing linguistic sphere of Colemanballs, worth an ESRC-funded research-centre on its own.

  6. I'm... not familiar with "hooker" in a sports context. I can't help but think of it in a more... suggestive context. ='D;


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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)