Cricket is a sport generally played in Commonwealth countries, and is hugely popular in Australia. Played with a bat and a ball, and two teams playing defence and offence, it may look similar to baseball at first glance but a traditional game of cricket, called a test match, is held over five days!
Watching cricket on television is a popular pastime during summer. Australia and England are rivals in cricket and compete in a series called the Ashes roughly every two years.
There are many famous cricket grounds across Australia, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground. With a seating capacity of 100,000, it is the biggest stadium in Australia. On 26 December every year, the Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts the Boxing Day Test Match, which lasts until New Year’s Eve. This is another spectacular end-of-year sporting event in Australia.
Women’s cricket has surged in popularity in recent years, with Australian players such as Ellyse Perry inspiring a new generation of younger players.
Cricket is also played in Japan. The Japan Cricket Association is based in Sano, Tochigi where there is also a cricket ground. Former Japanese professional baseball player Shogo Kimura, who played for Yokohama BayStars, Hiroshima Carp and Seibu Lions made a shift to cricket in 2017. Kimura was chosen for the Japanese national cricket team in 2018 and he has travelled to Australia on a number of times to train with Australian teams. Mr Kimura is a true fan of the game and continues activities to promote the game in Japan.