Cricket 101. What You Need to Know Now.

You’ve never uttered the word “wicket” and don’t know a “bowler” from a baller. So you’re wondering why your Facebook feed is full of frenzied cricket news. What’s making otherwise mild-mannered people turn into stark raving maniacs?

It’s the Cricket World Cup. And the frantic behavior you’re seeing is in anticipation of the India-Pakistan match on March 30 in Mohali, Punjab.

For all the cricket novices out there, we’re bringing you 5 things you need to know to get in on the vibe.

1.The Rivalry – India vs. Pakistan
To put this match in context, take a look at the numbers . The 2011 Super Bowl claimed 111 million viewers. The India-Pakistan match this coming Wednesday is expected to attract well over 1 billion spectators worldwide.

This game is being compared to a Lakers vs. Celtics face off in game 7 of the NBA Finals, with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson both making their career final appearances.

Then there are the politics. If you overlay the intensity of the match onto the already volatile India-Pakistan relationship, you have the potential for an explosive situation. In an effort towards “cricket diplomacy”, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to watch the game in Mohali. Graciously, Mr. Gilani is planning to attend.

A little Trivia: India has never lost a match at the World Cup against Pakistan.
More Trivia: Pakistan has won every single match they have ever played at Mohali Stadium, Punjab (venue of the match on March 30th).

2. The Indo-Cool Players
World-renowned athletes from all sports are adored. Men want to be them and women want to be with them. Cricketers are no different. Here’s our list of Indo-coolest players to watch out for in the match.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: India’s cool, calm and collected captain. If India does go on to win the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni will officially become India’s most successful captain since the legend Kapil Dev.

Yuvraj Singh: The bad-boy, rebellious savior who has been crucial in taking India out of some seriously tight spots during the current World Cup.

Zaheer Khan: According to experts, Khan is India’s go-to bowler and is already being compared to India’s most loved bowler of all times, Anil Kumble.

Shahid Afridi: The Pakistani captain is known for his aggressive batting style and for creating a ruckus on the field.

Shoaib Akhtar: Currently, the hottest and fastest Pakistani bowler. He has ambitions to join the world of Bollywood.

3. The Essential Cricket Watching Kit
You don’t do things halfway. If you’re going to get into the match, you want to do it with style.

Wear: The Indian cricket team slogan is “Bleed Blue!” If you’re a fan, it’s all about sky blue. Rooting for Pakistan – sport dark green.

Eat: No sports game is complete without a couple of beers. Instead of reaching for your standard beer try a Kingfisher paired with some chicken tikka.

See: You can find up to date cricket info at www.espncricinfo.com.

4. The Sachin Factor

For many cricket fans Sachin Tendulkar is the best reason to watch any match. He began his stint with cricket at age 16 only to slowly become one of the most renowned and passionate players in the world. He’s India’s equivalent of Babe Ruth.  And it’s not just Indians who adore the “God of cricket,” fans stand in awe as he slams the ball out the stadium.

This World Cup will be his last as the “Master Blaster” will soon retire. This match becomes more special given he’ll play Pakistan at the World Cup for the final time, and if India does not win, this will be his last World Cup match forever.

5. The Flicks
If by now you’re interested in cricket, but prefer it with popcorn, candy and cocktails at home, look no further than your nearest Indian grocery story or netflix for a cricket flavored film fix. Your first stop should be the Oscar-nominated and critically acclaimed Lagaan. Along with a good movie night at home, you’ll get some incredible insight into the history of cricket in India and a lesson on the rules of the game. From here you can queue up the inspirational Iqbal, the fun-filled Dil Bole Hadippa and the more recently released, action packed Patiala House.

Consider yourself schooled.

Want more on the basic rules? Watch this:

Story by Republic of Brown contributor Roshni Mulchandani

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