Season 1, Episode 7 - How Cricket Has Influenced British Culture & Language

Charlie Baxter

What's this episode about?

In this episode Charlie has a conversation with Harry all about a sport that has influenced British culture and our language. That is cricket. Or should I say, “that’s not cricket”! 
Join us in exploring the expressions that come from cricket. Even if you don’t like sports this one is a good episode to listen to as it will hep you better understand the British people and the language we use.
Please note: This transcript is only visible to you as you are logged in as a Premium / Academy member. Thank you for your support.

Transcript of BEP EP 7 Part 1 Academy.mp3

Hello. Hello. Fancy seeing you here for Episode seven of Season one of the British English podcast. I feel like we've come a long way together. We're coming towards the end of season one. Can you believe it? This episode is a conversation between myself and my YouTube partner slash great friend Harry. And we go for a combo of culture and language. This podcast, it does exactly what it says on the tin. And if you get that phrase, then I'm very impressed. It will take a while to explain that one. So I'll save that one for the academy. But yes, we talk about the common idioms we use in our day to day lives that are based on a sport that has had a huge impact on our culture and even cultures around the world.

And, of course, the English language. It's a particularly funny one. So please don't listen to this when maybe lifting weights as that could cause serious injuries, I imagine. And if you're on public transport, then get ready for some awkward glances as you're going to look like the nutter on the bus laughing at nothing, especially if you've got an inconspicuous solitary air pod tucked away in the ear that is hidden from your fellow travellers. They're going to think you're crazy. But hold on. I think yeah I think I can tell there's someone here listening for their first time. I don't know who these people think they are, you know, coming in so late into the season. You're ruining it for everybody else. So just do us all a favour and go to episode one of Season one. It's where it all began is where we all started. So, yes, that's where I'd like you to go. Thank you. Oh, sorry about that. Embarrassing to to get all strict like that in front of you. The true British English podcast listener who started from the beginning of the season with me. So, yes, here we are at the penultimate episode of Season one. I thoroughly enjoyed making it and I hope you have enjoyed consuming it. Has it been a huge amount of work? Yes, way more work than I had ever anticipated. The academy content takes so much time, so much time to make, but I think it's worth it because it is incredibly valuable. And I'm getting amazing feedback from learners who are in there now diving deep into the usage of the language I expose you to in these episodes with videos, quizzes, transcripts and many more resources.

So, yeah, do me a favour if you haven't gone to the website yet, the British English podcast dot com and signed up for free to get a taster of the academy, then please do. It's a it's a win win situation. You'll get a lot from it. And if you like it, then you have a whole season of academy content to enjoy for an affordable price. And also, I should say, this is a non sponsored podcast and it's the only way we will get to see a season two. So, yes, head over there, try the free sample, learn a lot and then decide if you want to help make season two happen whilst getting access to the whole Season One Academy content. It's a no brainer, really is. But enough about the Academy and on with the show. The show that helps English learners around the world discover British culture along with useful language. The natives are actually using day to day with me your host Charlie Baxter. That is Charlie, Charlie Baxter. That's how I say my name. As I said, we have an episode with Harry that was actually recorded back in late 2019, pre covid. Oh, those were the days, but it was during the great fires in Australia. Do you remember that? Do you remember that moment? I had students telling me to swiftly pack up my bags and leave the country because they thought I was going to burn to a crisp! Yes, gladly. I can report that I did not.

And I lived to tell the tale or at least edit and publish a tale that was recorded during that time. That doesn't work, does it? Noting down to remember to cut this part out, yeah. OK, so I was saying, yeah, what are we waiting for?

Hey, let's get on with the episode.

Hello, Charlie, how are you doing over there in sunny and sadly burning Australia?

How are things over there? It is hot. It is getting hot up in here. Yes, it's heating up. It's concerning you. Yeah, it's heating up. It's getting hot up in here. That was what I meant. Is getting hot up in here. There we go. Are you referencing the Nelly song? I am, yes. Yes. Am I not allowed to now because because of the whole, you know, documentary that came out. That wasn't Nelly, that was R. Kelly. Don't start spreading rumours about Nelly being a sex offender. I've stopped. I've stopped listening to Nelly. I'll never be far enough in.

He's fine, he's not a paedophile or any kind of sex offender. Well, to my knowledge, you know, don't quote me on that.

Yeah, he might, he might be a sex offender just waiting to come out, right. Oh, okay. My mistake. God, I've been I've been listening to R. Kelly non-stop.

But that song, though, getting hot. Do you want to just sing a little bit of that to introduce the episode? It's not very crickety, is it?

It's not. And I also think it should be over to the person who can actually sing a little bit. So why don't, why don't you give us a rendition? It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.

I am getting so high, I'm going to take my clothes off.

Great song. But we're not here to talk about sex offenders or taking our clothes off. We're here to talk about a very British sport, and that is the sport of cricket. Cricket and, yes, cricket.

Okay, so immediately I want to say straight off the bat, I want to say that some people might think sports: "I'm not very interested. I don't want to know about it. I don't do sports. I'm an adult. I go to work. I don't actually do much activity outside of, you know, my day to day life like that." So for you guys, this is still interesting. It's very interesting because it's cultural. Cricket is a huge part of British culture. And to not know anything about that sport will leave you guessing in some conversations, will leave you unaware of some background knowledge and pop culture in England, wouldn't you say?

Yeah, I say it's not important to know everything there is to know about cricket. You don't need to know the rules. You just need to know that it's there. And it is an important part of British culture and it has influenced our culture massively and the other countries that the British, the British Empire had as a part of its empire. So it is good to know that and to know the language that has come from the sport because it has influenced the British, British English so much. So in this lesson, you're going to learn loads of expressions that actually come from cricket and that we use in our day to day English speech. So you're really going to benefit from this podcast episode.

Absolutely, yeah. And I've just noticed that coming to Australia. It's the same sport, but it's a different culture and I'm noticing significant differences towards the sport. And I do wish I knew a little bit about their side of it because it would allow me to have more conversations with Aussies. I'd be able to. Yeah.

Feel more comfortable in their environment.

That's cool. So you've met some cricket players in or cricket fans in Australia.

Cricket is, I would say is it's actually bigger here, it's more widespread. In England, I think cricket is based around people who consider themselves to be middle class in England. Yeah. And then other classes and other people from different interests or different backgrounds sort of sign off on it. Sign off meaning "aren't interested". They don't care too much about it. But in Australia, it seems like everyone talks about it. And everyone who, and the people who don't play it still talk about it. And it's still really popular. It's actually cooler. It's like cool to play cricket here. In England, I don't think it's cool to play cricket.

It's not and it's not cool to talk about cricket. You know, you don't see a big group of guys sitting in the pub talking about cricket, at least not young guys. I would say maybe if you're like over 40, you might engage in conversations about cricket and take an interest in it. But it's not really something that young people are into, is it, here in the UK?

No, really not. Yeah. And in a pub in Australia, you would definitely hear people talking about cricket. And yeah, it's interesting you say, yeah, yeah, there is a 'yeah' here.

The young people are going to be talking about, about football aren't they. That's, that's what people talk about here.

Yeah. Definitely, yeah. Crazy about football. We'll do an episode on football but we might need someone in.

I think we will have to get a real man in for that one. But anyway, let's, let's try and talk about cricket. So if you've never heard of cricket, you don't know what it is.

Maybe you've seen some pictures of some old Englishmen standing around in a field holding a bat, wearing white clothing. They are playing cricket. And it's a sport which is kind of similar to baseball, would you say so, Charlie? It's a batting sport. Someone throws a ball and put in a very simple way, someone throws a ball at a kind of target, which we call the wicket, and then someone holding a bat that this person holding the bat is called the batsman and he will hit the ball and then he will run back and forth and score points for his team. Would you say that's a very nice, simplified version of the game, Charlie?

That is. Yes. Yes. Did you take time revising that or is that just your own attempt here and now?

Just yeah, I just did that on the spur of the moment, on the spur of the moment. So, spontaneously.

Spontaneously, yes. On the spur of the moment. I'm that good. I'm that good. Yeah, that was good. Yes. You've got the bowler, the batsman and then a couple of other key players. I'm a bit biased because during my childhood I was bent down, squatting down for the majority of a cricket game behind the batsman. What what position would that be, Harry?

Ah, so you the wicketkeeper, wicketkeeper. Wicketkeeper. Yes, well, the wicket. Or you just call him the wiki. The Wiki. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I'm a wiki. Yeah. Yeah. OK, ok.

Why was that an unfortunate place to be?

It wasn't an unfortunate place to be. Oh, no, no, that's where I spent most of my childhood bent down behind the batsmen. Looking at the batsmen's arse. Well, more like his thigh because it's side on. OK.

Did he have good thighs?

Unfortunately, you couldn't really tell because of the pads. So you've probably- if you've never seen, we're going to assume that you've never seen a match of cricket. So the batsman is padded from pretty much head to toe, isn't he?

Yeah, because the ball's really hard. You don't want to get that in the goolies. Very good!

And the goolies are the male genitalia. Yeah. So you don't want to be hit in the goolies with the cricket ball and that's why you wear a box. A box, they put that in front of your goolies. And I remember when I was young I was playing with some girls as well, and I was like, 'Oh, you don't need to wear a box!'. And then the coach was like, 'No, they do! They do need to wear a box.' So it's important to protect both genders' genitalia. It's not a sexist game. No, no.

And if you said to the girls, 'Hey, you're not getting a box because you don't have, you know, male genitalia', they might respond to that and say, 'Hey, that's not cricket!' And that is our first idiom of the day, isn't it?

It is, yeah. Take it away. Harry and be cricket, right?

Yeah. 'To be cricket' often used in the negative. And it's it means to 'to play fair'. And if we use it in the negative it means you're not playing fair. So saying to the girls, 'Hey, you can't have a box, you, your genitalia is not or are not worth protecting'. That would 'not be cricket'. So you say 'that is not cricket'. Hey, don't do that. That's not cricket. That is not playing fair. And this is a phrase that I can imagine like our parents may be using. I can especially imagine Charlie's dad maybe using it, but you don't hear it much nowadays. So there are other idioms coming along which are more modern, but still interesting to hear these old ones.

Definitely, yeah. Yeah. OK, so, yeah, both kids are going to have a box and they'll have pads on their shins and they, they kind of go above their knees and then you've got a helmet as well, which is a new age thing.


Oh, I wonder when they started wearing helmets? I think when they started realising that you can get brain damage from a cricket ball.

Surely they found that out quite soon, like quite early on.

Yeah. But you know how it must have been, like, you know, to compare it to going to war or things like that. It was probably fine.

Similar. It is kind of set.

I mean, the ball is probably almost harder to- Do you understand what war is?

But I mean, it's I mean, they throw that ball very hard and sometimes it bounces quite high and it could hit them in the head. You think that they- So this game started in England in the early 18th century, according to my reading.

And I reckon very soon after that someone must have got hit in the head with a ball and they must have thought, that is bloody hard. He is dead. And they must have started wearing helmets. I mean, it's crazy not to wear a helmet, that's insane! It's so hard you can't squeeze it. It's the hardest ball you've ever felt. Yeah, it's actually harder than a baseball. Right, OK, right. So it's different from baseball in that sense as well.

Yeah, but yeah, similar. They have a backstop instead of the wiki. But yeah, you're right. You're right. They, they should have learnt fairly quickly. But I think it was it was an age where they didn't care too much about health and safety.

We've grown up in a world where health and safety has gone crazy, I think. It's true. We live in a nanny, or in Australia, they say we live in a nanny state. A nanny state, a nanny state. The government in the state are very controlling. And they they make sure that you are very aware of your health and safety.

Mm. OK, or you're just too aware of it. They're living to carefully. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

Ok, so yeah it's a it's an interesting sport. Did you, did you play much in school?

Yeah. Yeah. It was really popular in my school. It was almost as big as football for us. But I think that probably says something about my school.

Yes it does. Yeah. And so it's known as a gentleman's sport, cricket. So it tends to be played by like the upper classes. And it's a weird sport because normally when you play a sport, it takes place over a couple of hours or, yeah, if it's football an hour and a half. Rugby is around that as well. But but cricket is different. It can be played over a number of days, which is mad. So whenever I go to watch cricket I think. When is it going to end? Like some cricket games go on for like four days, don't they?

Yeah, and you know what? They can end up as a draw. Oh, my God. How boring. So boring, isn't it? It's crazy. But recently they responded to that and they've created a quick version called 20/20. And I don't want to get into it too much, OK?

It means that there's just 20 overs and then over six bowls. Six bowls and a bowl is when you throw the ball at the wicket to try to get the batsman out.

Yes. Yeah. Okay, great. Or from my standing, it's six attempts to catch the ball. Ah, OK, after it's been hit or grazed the bat of the batsman. Oh yeah, that would be the best if it's grazed the bat of the batsman or pressure's on for me. That's a good one. Yeah. Were you a good wicketkeeper?

I was regional, so. You were representing a regional cricket squad?

I was, yeah, I was spotted. In year seven, so- You were spotted? And then I was given the chance to play for West Surrey, which is why Surrey is the county that I live in. I didn't get any higher than that, but I felt like, oh I am very cool. By God!

I bet you were so happy when you saw that I decided this cricket was the subject of today's talk.

I was over the moon. Yeah. Really was. Your chance to shine! But I must confess, I did feel out of my depth in this pool of talent. There were a couple of other wicketkeepers in the squad and they were way better than me and I was actually a really bad batsman. I was very, very bad, actually. Yeah. I just kind of clung on to the fact that I was selected for that team, but I never really performed very well. I think most of my school friends, they even knew that I didn't deserve to be playing for this regional team.

Ok, OK, but but you were a good wicketkeeper. That's why you were there.

Yeah. And when you when you play cricket for a different team, you get a cap of their colours. A bit like the football cap. You get a cap because everyone wears whites. So you don't get a different uniform in traditional cricket because you get a cap, a hat, a baseball cap kind of thing. And I used to have this red West Surrey cap and I used to show up to my school and I'd be wearing that and they'd be like 'You wanker!' Oh my God!

And that was cool because you were like playing for a regional team.

Did you get a lot of female attention for being, you know, regional wicketkeeper? If I was, if I was in Australia, maybe I would. But in England, it doesn't score you many points with the ladies.

No, it doesn't. I imagine in my school you would have been bullied for wearing that hat.

Well, I wasn't far off being bullied in my school. And this is a school that respected cricket.

Yeah. We won't we won't go into the nicknames that Charlie had as a kid. I think that can be a whole different episode all about that. But to be spotted, Charlie, what does that mean

'To be spotted'? To be seen by, potentially, in this case, someone who wants to collect some good people, some talented people. Yeah, but you can be spotted as a celebrity by paparazzi or by the public. Mhm. And I remember my favourite day in my life was when we got spotted in Brighton for our YouTube channel. That was, that was maybe my favourite day of my life.

Best day ever. That was amazing. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. We were spotted in a in a restaurant by two people. By two people. Can you believe it. That was amazing. And you felt out of depth as well as really good. 'Out of depth'. Depth. That's when you you feel uncomfortable in a situation because you think you're not good enough, I guess.

Yes. Yeah. I think I say out of my depth. Sorry, I say out of depth. 'Out my depth'.

Yes, but you wrote out of my depth. Yeah. So out of my depth. Or if I, if someone goes to a new job, you could maybe ask, do you feel out of your own depth? Could you say that, 'out of your own depth', out of your depth, out of your depth, just out of your depth?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I guess it come from like swimming, right? Like if you were in really deep waters, it's- you can be uncomfortable and difficult to swim. So you are 'out of your depth' because you can't swim properly. You're struggling in the company. You can't, you know, you can't get by because it's so hard, everyone's so good. Or you're not good enough.

And so anyway, it's considered a gentleman's sport. Charlie is a gentleman. There's no doubt about that. He's a middle class man. And as it, it was made as a gentleman sport, it was played by these upper classes from society. And it's not a very physically demanding sport, I don't think. Anyway, like I've watched cricket a few times, and it's one of the few sports where the players are often overweight. And it's just it's not it's not a problem that they're overweight. You know, they don't have to be exceptionally fast. You know, they can still be quite competent even when they're, you know. Yeah. If there are a few- a few pounds overweight, it's not a problem.

Exactly. A few pounds overweight. That's nice. A few pounds overweight. A polite way of saying that you're slightly fat.

Yes, yes, but I have actually seen some cricket players who are huge.

Yeah, yeah. But it doesn't mean right, you're right. But I think it might be because. You know, the upper class back in the day, they were the ones that were able to eat whatever they wanted. They would stuff their faces and then go play cricket and get back to the beer.

They would, yeah, and the beer that goes that goes kind of hand in hand with beer drinking, doesn't it? That's quite a thing if you go and watch the cricket.

My friend William, he's very middle class as well.

And William, he goes to the beer, and he goes to the cricket with a crate of beer and they sit in the audience drinking, drinking lots of cans. And I think that goes well with with the cricket: just sitting around all day drinking beer. Preferably in the sun. Maybe in the rain.

Yeah, yeah, that's that's the thing in England, it's often difficult to find four days, four days back to back, where the sun is shining. So you might get a ticket to go and see a game of Australia versus England. And one of those days will probably be rained off.

'To be rained off', very good, so you can't play because it's raining. To be rained off. So our game was rained off. Did you have many games that were rained off back in your cricket days?

I did, yeah. And it was, it was you could just say it was simple. Like if it was raining, then you'd cancel it. But people would take it really seriously and they they would look at the wicket. So the-

The wicket- Can you describe the wicket? What is the wicket? Well, you said that word quite a lot. What is a wicket?

The wicket is the 22 yard strip. 22 yards is like 24 metres, and it's the area that you throw the ball down between the batsman and the bowler and it bounces. So it's got to be really, really smooth.

But it's traditionally made of grass. So the groundsman has a difficult job to prepare this wicket over the season because it gets a battering through the cricket season. 'Battering' like a damage, it gets a lot of damage based on the activity on it, and then it's got to repair over the off season and then, yeah, when the rain comes, people get all like scientific. They say, well, it's going to be tricky out there. It's going to be slippery. The ball is going to come faster and lower. You've got to watch yourself.

Oh. Mm hmm. Mm.

Yeah. Yeah. I bet that was a big thing. So you're all watching the clouds and hoping for some good weather.

Yes. Yeah. Most of the time when I was at West Surrey, I was sometimes wanting the rain to sort of hide my inability to keep up with them. So. Oh, no, it's cancelled. See you next week.

Do I get another hat?

And we will leave it there for today's podcast episode. But if you want this conversation to continue, we do have part two and part three waiting for you on my website. So go over to the British English podcast dot com to get about 30 to 40 more minutes of listening practise in which we go over some more excellent language that has come from the sport that is cricket. And as I said before, I have videos explaining all of the language in this episode. Pronunciation practise, a glossary of all intermediate to advanced vocabulary, and quizzes to help you truly retain the information and get more active with the language. And that, again, is over at the British English podcast dot com. But there we go, episode seven complete. And we are now one episode away from completing Season one. I look forward to doing so with you in Episode eight and I hope you have enjoyed this experience so far. And if you have, I'm going to suggest that you rate the podcast and leave a review as it helps others know whether it's worth listening to. And hey, with your help, we might be back for a second season. Come on, let's do it. Let's go for another season, shall we? So get rating and reviewing and check out my website, the British English podcast Dotcom, until next time. Have a wonderful day. Stay active with your English. And bye for now.

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Meet today's guest


Charlie & Harry are co-founders of
Real English With Real Teachers YouTube Channel

Harry has been teaching English as a foreign language for five years, both in language academies and via skype. After graduating in Psychology, Harry took a trip to South East Asia where he discovered a passion for teaching and languages.

Harry currently resides in Bedford, UK, where he teaches online and residential English courses
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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

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Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

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Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

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Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

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Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

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Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

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Oh, hi.

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I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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About Your Teacher

Charlie Baxter

Teacher, Podcast Host, YouTuber
Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

It focuses on British culture, informal expressions, accent and history that is all unique to the UK.

Charlie has spent 6000+ hours teaching intermediate-advanced students since 2014 privately on Skype and has seen a lot of different styles of learning and while he believes there will never be a single CORRECT way to improve your English there are a large number of methods that people use that do waste people's time and prevent them from improving quickly.

So Charlie decided to create The Academy because he believes he knows a VERY effective way to improve your English quickly and enjoyably.