Top 5 Reasons Why Cricket is a More Demanding Sport to Play Than Baseball

Israel ButsonCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2008

It's that time of the week, and this week we're looking at the Top 5 reasons why cricket is a more difficult sport to play than baseball:

5. Running With Protective Gear

In both baseball and cricket, the batsman has to physically run to score (home runs and boundaries aside). The fundamental difference, though, is that the cricketer has to do his running with the weight from all of his pads. We're talking leg pads, thigh guard, helmet, arm guard, gloves, box (that's a cup, to all you Americans), and, of course, the bat itself—all of which make running a difficult task.

In baseball, the batsman just hits the ball and makes a mad dash for first base - usually only wearing his helmet and box. And uniform, of course.

The maximum number of times a batter would have to run off one hit in baseball is four times—from home plate to home plate. In cricket, the batsman keeps batting (and running) until he's out—one run, or 300, all the while carrying the weight of his protective gear.

Trust us, it ain't easy going.


4. Number Of Ways To Be Given Out

There are twice as many ways to get out in cricket as there are in baseball, which means that a batsman has to be constantly on his guard.

In baseball, there are five ways to get a batter out—a strikeout, groundout (running a batter out), forceout (when a batter is attempting to steal base), flyout (getting caught), and tagout (tagging a batter between bases). So there are five things a batter has to be aware of when he's stepping up to the plate.

In cricket, there are ten ways a batsman can be dismissed. Getting bowled, caught, LBW (getting struck on the pads in front of the wickets), stumped by the wicket-keeper, hit wicket (accidentally striking the wickets with your bat), hitting the ball twice, obstructing the path of a fielder, handling the ball, or being timed out (taking too long to get out to bat). The batsmen need to keep all of this in mind while trying to score as many runs as possible.

Try doing that when you've got someone bowling at you at 96mph (154kph).


3. General Playing Conditions

Not only do cricketers have to contend with the rules of the game, they also have to contend with different playing conditions that can have a dramatic affect on the game.

An overcast day, for example, can change the way a game will be played by giving the ball more 'swing' through the air, making life tough for the batsman. Playing all day in the hot sun can drain a player, especially if he's out batting all day. A lot of cricket is played on the sub-continent, where temperatures during games regularly soar into the 40s (around 110 deg. F).

Remember all that gear from point five? Yeah, it makes us sweat just thinking about it too.

But it's not only the weather that can have an effect—the pitch conditions also have a major impact on the game. The groundsmen can prepare a pitch to be fast, slow, offer something to the swing bowlers, or give the pitch some turn, which helps out the spin bowlers.

And then there's the outfield. If it's dry and fast, the batsmen won't have to run as much—but the fielders will. If it's damp and slow, the batsmen have a long day of running ahead of them.

The conditions don't play nearly as big a part in baseball as they do in cricket—just ask a cricket side that's had to field for 3 straight days in India.


2. Catching

Why do baseballers wear catching mitts? Is it that hard to catch a baseball in you're bare hands?

We don't think so, especially given that a cricket ball is heavier than a baseball. A standard cricket ball weighs between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (155.9 and 163 grams), while a standard baseball weighs in at 5.25 ounces (142 and 149 grams).

A cricket ball is also smaller (22.4 -22.9 cm circumference) than a baseball (22.9 - 23.5 cm circumference), which means cricketers are catching a smaller and heavier ball, without the use of gloves—and they still make incredible diving catches.

If they can do it without the use of gloves, why can't baseballers?


1. Batting And Bowling Conditions

We've already mentioned the fact that batsmen have to run covered in protective gear. But, they also have to deal with batting for (if all goes well) extremely long periods of time, varying pitch conditions (which, during a five day Test, can change every day), and facing up to world class bowlers.

A cricket batsman can't just walk out and smash the ball—if you try, you'll be out in a second. And then it's the long (trust us—it's looong) walk back to the pavilion.

Also, batters in baseball bat once per innings, just as they do in cricket - but they don't face nearly as many deliveries as a cricketer does. Oh, and they can be walked to first base, too.How nice.

And the bowlers—they don't have the luxury of standing in one spot to deliver the ball. Fast bowlers run in, on average, 25 yards (22m) every delivery. In a day where a bowler sends down 15 overs (with 6 balls in each over), they've run 2250 yards (1980m). And it's not just a jog, either—every ounce of energy the bowler has goes into each delivery (see the slow motion clip below for the perfect example...). Need we mention the 3 days in the Indian sun, again?

Both batting and bowling require a lot of patience, perseverance, guts, and a huge amount of skill—and for that reason, we believe that cricket is a much, much harder game to play than baseball.

These two videos show cricket from two perspectives. The first clip shows the effort, passion and intensity that goes into every single action in a cricket match. The second clip shows the speed and skill required to catch a cricket ball— without a glove.

(Apologies for the extended intro on the first clip - feel free to skip past it!)

Article featured on the Sports Fan Attic.