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Club cricket

Club cricket is a mainly amateur, but still formal, form of the sport of cricket, usually involving teams playing in competitions at weekends or in the evening. There is a great deal of variation in game format although the Laws of Cricket are always observed. The main nations that club cricket is played in are England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Netherlands, Hong Kong and in some of the major cities in India. Club cricket is virtually played all over the world. Club cricket is also now played in the United States and Canada, as both countries have large communities of immigrants from mainstream cricket-playing regions such as the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Club cricket is usually played in league or cup format. Games are limited by either time or overs. Limited overs games usually last between 20 and 60 overs per innings. A less common, but more traditional, format is limiting the game by time only. Games can range from a few hours in the evening to two days long.

Matches are generally of one innings per side except in two day games (mainly played in Australia and New Zealand). Two day matches are played over both Saturday and Sunday, or, alternatively, over successive Saturdays (though this can sometimes have unfortunate effects on the game where the condition of the pitch and ground changes radically from one week to the next). These matches usually have two innings per side.

Most players are amateur, but often cricket clubs employ the services of professionals as coaches and players. Many of these have played first-class or Test cricket. Also, first-class players returning from injury will sometimes appear at club level as match practice - for example, Shoaib Akhtar during the Pakistan's tour of England in 2006.

Standards of play can vary from semi-professional to occasional recreational level. While many clubs train in similar ways to professional teams, village or park cricket is played purely for fun, and club cricket is often enjoyed as much for the social element as for the competition. This is particularly true in England where the between-innings teas and post-match beer are as important as the result. However, this may vary depending on the standard.

Club cricket is played extensively in most cricketing nations, and also by immigrants from cricketing nations. Club cricket can take place on an artificial turf pitch or a more traditional grass pitch. The rest of actual field is usually natural grass.

Most clubs have their own ground to play on regularly, including a field and pavilion or club house. Some also have nets for practice. Clubs without grounds are known as "wandering" or "nomadic" clubs. Examples include the various sides affiliated to larger clubs, such as the club MCC sides and county "Gentlemen of" sides that often play against schools; school old boy sides, such as Eton Ramblers and Harrow Wanderers, which often play in the Cricketers Cup; and amateur clubs such as the Free Foresters, I Zingari and the XL Club.
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