An email I received from a friend today, placed here with his permission, slightly reformatted to suit E2:

From: Robin Bennett
Date: 03 August 200013:46
Subject: Krikket (was: Scientific Proof)

> How does cricket work?

22 people in white clothes (plus umpires, also in white, but with silly hats) arrive at a large open grassy area. 13 (plus umpires) stand around in carefully selected locations. It starts to rain. Two old duffers then spend the next 6 hours discussing cakes, pigeons and the fact that you can just see the top of the number 53 bus over the grandstand.

> What is the actual point of it,

Presumably the players get to retire to the bar for the duration of the rain. The main point of it is to broadcast the insane rambling of the old duffers, to other old duffers all around the country; it keeps them happy and subdued (try listening to it backwards, you'll hear a hypnotic voice telling you that "the government is your friend").

Many years ago it had a useful purpose; the English would teach it to the natives of the countries that we conquered, and we could monitor how well we had subverted their culture by the popularity of cricket. First they'd try to pretend to be 'civilised' (i.e. Anglicised) by playing cricket, then we could test for signs of impending revolution by getting them to play each other to see who had practiced most (which is why it's called a 'test match')

> i.e. how do you win or lose or draw?

Traditionally, you won by marching a large army in and shooting anyone waving a spear. You lost when you find yourself learning cricket in an effort to impress the people with guns who are suddenly running your country.

These days the winners are those who are jolted out of their sofa by the realisation that even they can think of something more interesting to do than watch cricket. (presumably the losers are those who can't think of anything better to do.)

> I spent a pleasant evening sitting on the steps of the pavilion getting hammered

That probably counts as winning too.