You’re stuck in a conversation about cricket. This is how you survive.

There are plenty of things to talk about when summer rolls around: the weather, the beach, the heat, ice cream, sweat.

But there’s one topic of conversation some people dread when they catch up with friends and family: the cricket.

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For me, it’s a topic I welcome with open arms. Yes, let’s talk about hat-tricks, pitch conditions, record-breaking centuries and baggy greens.

For others, the simple mention of the word ‘cricket’ in a conversation makes them break out in a cold sweat and when they’re asked to share an opinion on The Gentleman’s Game their only option is to reply with ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Fear not, my friends, for I’ve come up with some foolproof hacks to cheat your way through a chat about a game that is literally older – and greater – than sliced bread.

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A guide to not looking like this during cricket conversations.

1. Make an observation about the wicket.

Also known as the pitch, it's that little strip of discoloured grass the bowlers bowl on and the batters run on.

Who is the pitch favouring during play - is it easier to score runs on? Or are there cracks that are allowing the spin and fast bowlers to bounce and swing the ball?

Even if you have NO IDEA what the heck you just said, just dropping the terms "pitch", "spin" and "swing" into any cricket convo will have you looking like a regular Richie Benaud*.

(*A.k.a. the greatest former-cricketer-turned-commentator that ever did live.)

2. Talk about the bowling.

Or, more specifically, the "bowwwliiing". (Yes, it matters how you say it).

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All you need to say is "how was the bowwwliiing" and you're set. It's more of a statement than a question, but it will work every time. I promise.

Of course, it helps if you know a few player names to drop into the conversation too, so familiarise yourself with the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.

Cricket fans love to reminisce about the greats, so it's safe bet to drop in a comment about how great Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath were in their heyday.

3. Make general statements about batting styles.

"How nice was that cut shot?", "Solid blocking" and "That cover drive was terrific!" should be the first statements about batting to enter your newfound cricket vernacular.

You'll sound like an instant expert, even if you have no idea what any of it actually means. Someone else will, and will fill in the blanks for you.

4. Don't question an LBW. Just yell something incoherent.

To be honest, I'm not even sure if the players know what an LBW (leg before wicket, that is) really means, so the general rule is: if the ball hits a batsman's leg pad, just yell.

Don't yell with words, because cricket has a language of its own. It's safe to just make a series of sounds that sound somewhat celebratory, like "yeaaahaaawowow" or "hoooowwwwwwwzzzzzaaaaat".

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5. Whatever you do, don't ask about who is winning.

Asking who is winning during a five-day test match is a major red flag that you have no idea what 's going on.

A test match is a game of patience. There's five days of bowling, batting, running and fielding, and often the result isn't clear until the final few hours.

Let another cricket rookie make the mistake of trying to figure out a clear-cut winner on day two of the match.

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6. Just learn to genuinely love cricket.

The easiest hack of all: settle down on your couch in front of the TV with a glass of wine or a beer (whatever strikes your fancy) and let the soothing sounds of cricket commentary wash over you.

One test match, two one-day games and three Big Bash matches later, you'll be hooked.

Step 7. Watch even more women's sport. 2016 was the year we all discovered just how good it is.

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