Let us show you the ropes

This simple yet versatile piece of equipment is so dope

Nishi Narayanan  |  

Hannah Peters / © Getty Images

The rope in cricket calls up all kinds of feelings: players can't wait to cross it to start a game, but slow down while crossing back after a dismissal, just in case a replay might show they are not out. They love it when the ball touches it (or, even better, clears it) but dread touching it themselves.

Tim Clayton / © Getty Images

For spectators close to the boundary, it figures prominently whether they're watching runs or catches at the boundary, heckling fielders, or waiting to see if the ball comes their way.

Paul Ellis / © AFP/Getty Images

The commercialisation of cricket hasn't left the rope untouched. Advertising foam triangles now cushion diving fielders as they crash into the fence.

Arthur Tanner / © Fox Photos/ Getty Images

Ropes serve other uses too: not only gloves, the leather to make balls also needs to be hung up on clotheslines - that's rope too! - to dry. (Look at the photographer's name above for a non-rope pun; for rope puns, scroll down.)

© Getty Images

Also ropes: to anchor a tent accommodating Parsee women at a game in India, circa 1910.

Justin Tallis / © AFP/Getty Images

Give Andrew Flintoff enough rope and he'll hang himself with it.

Arif Ali / © AFP/Getty Images

It's true that Inzamam-ul-Haq didn't enjoy fitness drills. You had to rope him in.

© PA Photos

To retrieve the ball from the roof gutter, you need to be at the end of your rope.

Saurabh Das / © Associated Press

Rope also makes for a fetching, if heavy, hairdo, as a ground staff member demomnstrates in Ahmedabad during the 2011 World Cup.

Andrew Milligan / © PA Photos

To collect and store the rope that runs all along the ground, it's convenient to use a boundary rope winder, as these members of the Ship Inn club in England do after a game on the beach.

Hagen Hopkins / © IDI/Getty Images

No machine for me, thanks. I'll use my own muscles to drag the boundary ropes away.

Tom Shaw / © Getty Images

Sometimes rope along the boundary of a cricket ground isn't rope - it's broadcasters' cable.

Tom Shaw / © Getty Images

You can use battle ropes to build those muscles.

Tom Jenkins / © Getty Images

Or pull them.

Rick Rycroft / © Associated Press

Or skip over them.

© PA Photos

Maybe work on your balance with the world's easiest tightrope walk.

Clive Gee / © PA Photos/Getty Images

Which is better: manning the boundary and dogging it?

Nishi Narayanan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo