How to explain Cricket to a Chinese illustrator

I’ve found an absolutely wonderful multimedia company in Hubei (where the Three Gorges Dam is) to create avatars for Yacapaca. They are quick, accurate, and very, very technically competent.

Seeking to turn cultural difference to advantage, I asked them to suggest an initial set of characters, and back came the complete cast of The Monkey King. Brilliant. From anecdotal evidence, Pig is the most popular character to date (even in stats-obsessed Chalkface, we don’t actually measure this).

So, full of confidence, I commissioned a couple of sporting avatars intended particularly to appeal to boys. The footballer was fine. Football is global, pretty much, and well understood in China.

And then we came to Cricket. I hear you starting to chuckle already; you know what’s coming. Even with some fabulous action shots from Flickr and a simply sublime video of Imran Khan bowling out the opposition from Channel Dosti it has still taken them six attempts to get our hero plausibly bowled out in response to a wrong answer. The attached sketch is my latest and hopefully last attempt to explain the Noble Game to a still-mystified Chinese illustrator.

But I am not the first to struggle with this. Ben reminded me of a famous attempt to explain Cricket to Americans:

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.

Each player in the side that’s in goes out and when he’s out he goes in and the next player goes in until he’s out.

When all the players are out then the side that’s out goes in and the side that’s in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.

Sometimes you get players still in and not out.

When both sides have been in and out, including the not outs, that’s the end of the game.

Update 24/11/05: it took three more goes, with both sides getting increasingly frustrated. It turned out that “bails” is particularly difficult to translate into Chinese. Ho hum, they should be uploaded and available by Monday.

Update 2 25/11/05: I nicknamed the footballer avatar George, in memory of George Best who died today. Not sure the kids will get it; I was in Yr 10 myself when Best was at his peak.

Click to enlarge


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