2016-05-25 / Columns

Long-awaited(?) cricket app details the ‘Laws and Spirit’


American sports fans are passionate about their favorite pastimes of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. But they are not alone. Those who have taken an international interest in sports can now rejoice, because a new free app will teach you the inscrutable rules of the vaguely familiar but still-strange game of cricket. The quintessentially British progenitor of baseball has incredibly complicated rules. The game can be indecipherable to the uninitiated.

London’s Marylebone Cricket Club is the “Guardian of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket.” Founded in 1787, it issued the first Code of Laws in 1788 and moved to its current home in 1814. The club claims 18,000 full and 5,000 associate members.

The current Lord’s Cricket Ground is its third incarnation and in 2014 celebrated its bicentennial. The first ever match played at “Lord’s Cricket Ground” came in 1787 when businessman Thomas Lord staged a game between Middlesex and Essex at a newly built ground in what was then known as Dorset Fields.

By 1811, Marylebone had moved to a new location in the Eyre Estate of St John’s Wood. This ground proved unpopular but when plans emerged for the Regent’s Canal to be built straight through it, the club says Thomas Lord “gratefully accepted compensation” and moved the ground to its current location in 1814 (www.lords.org).

The club has designed a Laws of Cricket app that includes explanations of all 42 “Laws,” with images and animations and a quiz to see how much of it you absorbed.

“A lot of development work has gone in to this application and it is another example of MCC’s commitment to investing in digital—an area in which the Club strives to remain ahead of the curve within cricket,” said Derek Brewer, Marylebone’s chief executive, in a statement. “As Guardians of the Laws and Spirit of Cricket, it is vital that MCC embraces the new audiences that the sport has gained in recent years and makes the Laws of the game even more accessible.”

The Laws are divided into eight sections explaining everything from how to set up a game to appeals and modes of dismissals. The app includes 15 animations explaining the Laws, including “Damaging the Pitch” and “Obstructing the Field.”

Writer, broadcaster and actor Stephen Fry, best known in the US for his portrayal of Dr. Gordon Wyatt on the TV series “Bones,” provides the voiceover for the animations, which feature “Tommy,” an animated young cricketer who learns from the Laws simulations as part of the videos.

The app includes 18 separate videos of umpire signals, designed to help players, officials and fans to decipher exactly what an umpire’s movements mean.

In the Laws quiz, app users can test their knowledge of the Laws. The quiz can be set for “Beginner,” “Intermediate” and “Advanced” levels, and yes, you can impress your friends by sharing your scores through social media.

“This app is the perfect introduction to the game for a new supporter,” says Marylebone’s Brewer. “There is also plenty within it that will appeal to players of all ages, officials, coaches and more traditional cricket supporters who want to brush up on their knowledge.”

Digital agency MobaNode (www.mobanode.com) helped the club develop the app. The agency previously produced an app detailing the Laws of Rugby.

Download the Android app at http://bit.ly/1Tfenii, and the iOS app at http://bit.ly/cricket-apple

What sports apps do you use? Email me at steve@compuschmooze.com s

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