8 Cricket Idioms and Phrases for Australian and British English

Here are 8 crickets idioms for Australian and British English.

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Because the British and Australians play and love the game of cricket, naturally there are idioms that have made their way into the English language, specifically originating from the game. These idioms are used in everyday speech often, so it’s important to know how to use them, pronounce them clearly, and understand what they mean.

Here they are:

1. To Be Bowled Over

Meaning: usually used in a positive way to mean very impressed or surprised by something.

For example: 

We were bowled over by the leading actor’s performance the other night at the theatre.

I was bowled over by the 5-year-old’s knowledge of the planets.


2. To have a Good Innings 

Meaning: usually used to describe a long, successful life or career. It’s often used to describe someone who has lived a long life. Often this phrase is also used when someone has died.

For example:

Even though Bob didn’t want to retire after 20 years as a manager, the company needed a change. At least Bob had good innings.

It was sad when Mary died last month at the age of 98. At least she had good innings.


3. To Hit Someone For Six 

Meaning: We use it to mean to shock or surprise someone or to be overwhelmed by something. It can be used in a negative or positive way.

In cricket when a ball is hit for a six, it means the ball is hit so hard it goes over the boundary line or even into the spectator stand. So, it’s a surprise.  In Australia, we tend to say for ‘a’ six.

For example:

Meeting a new boyfriend in the post office line hit me for six. I wasn’t looking for a partner at the time.

He was hit for a six when he was fired without warning.


4. To be stumped 

Meaning: To have no idea, or do not know how to solve a problem

For example:

I’m completely stumped. I’ve been working on this math problem for an hour and I still can’t work it out


5. On A Sticky Wicket 

Meaning: a difficult, delicate, or awkward situation. This phrase is usually used in informal situations with friends or colleagues.

For example:

I’m on a bit of a sticky wicket. I can’t pay for the coffee ‘cause I’ve just realized I left my wallet at the office

She’s on a sticky wicket. They’ve only given her a day to decide if she wants the job overseas


6. Be cricket 

Meaning: to play fair, to use gentlemanly conduct. This idiom is most often used in a negative context.

For example:

The way the Manager treated the Marketing Director was not cricket.

Cheating like that just isn’t cricket.


7. To Catch Someone Out 

Meaning: to dismiss or get rid of a batsman by catching the ball before it touches the ground.

Generally, this idiom means to detect that someone has done something wrong or made a mistake.

For example:

They were caught out trying to steal some money from the safe.

Mum caught me out trying to take some biscuits before the guests arrived.


8. Off One’s Own Bat

Meaning: To do something because you want to and not because someone told you to.

For example:

I came here off my own bat because I wanted to see if you needed help.

I developed a more efficient way to process things off my own bat.


Whether it’s learning how to use or pronounce specific idioms and phrases or common words, we hope you found this video helpful. Please share it with someone who would benefit from it.

For more Aussie English fluency training, check out this lesson on Australian slang phrases.

For more British English fluency training, check out this lesson on British accent tips.

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