Sandra Singh of Singh’s Sporting Goods in Mt. Vernon (347-202-5110) helped us decipher what gear is really necessary for beginners.
1. THE BAT
Made of willow, bats can cost from $35 to $200 (for finer-grained models). You’ll need two, but don’t spend a lot of money; you won’t tell the difference.
2. THE BALL
Leather and rock-hard, real cricket balls run from $7 to $12. To avoid injury in your pickup game, get a couple of the much softer rubber balls ($1.50 each). A tennis ball will also do.
3. THE WICKET
Made of three wooden stumps and two bails—the small crosspieces that rest atop the stumps ($40 a pair). You can’t play without two wickets.
4. THE PADS
A full set of protective gear—arm guard, leg pads, thigh pad, gloves, and helmet—could run you $150. But we played with soft rubber balls, which made these unnecessary.
5. THE CLOTHES
Cricket whites aren’t mandatory, but they’re natty. Get a collared shirt ($35 to $50), a V-neck sweater vest ($25 to $30), and a $10 baseball-style cap.
Where to Play
The city maintains cricket pitches in all five boroughs, nearly half of them in Van Cortlandt Park. On weekends, many fields are reserved by cricket leagues (download a permit at nycgovparks.org; adult groups are charged $10 an hour), but you don’t need a formal pitch to play pickup cricket. Just find a flat, open space, pound your wickets in about 22 yards apart, and mark the edges of a large oval with some cones or shirts.
1. Multistep run-up, ending in a large step with the left foot (assuming you’re a righty). 2. Right arm at back of hip; left arm straight up in the air. 3. Right arm swings overhead without bending elbow. 4. Ball bounces once on the way to the batter.
1. Bat held pointing down, parallel to the body. 2. Swing depends on the pitch—can be defensive, meant to protect the stumps; tactical, to poke the ball between fielders; or aggressive, a baseball-style swing at a fat pitch. 3. Hold on to the bat as you run back and forth between wickets.