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Back in the 1970s an enterprising soul in England came up with an amusing explanation of cricket, clearly aimed at the kind of American tourists who buy plastic policemen's helmets and who believe that Dick van Dyke's cockney accent in Mary Poppins was exactly how 98% of England spoke (the other 2% being West County yokels with straw poking out of every available orifice).

What started as a novel marketing ploy has burgeoned into a beast utterly out of control. Thirty years on, the tea towels refuse to die, and anyone who enjoys cricket will have almost certainly been given one of the infernal things by a distant aunt or newly acquired mother-in-law who thought it would be "ideal for Christmas".

Anyone who receives one is allowed to be rude to the giver, and is also duty-bound to burn the cloth immediately.

But, as requested by some masochists, here is the text in full ...

Cricket: As explained to a foreigner...

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!