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He's on a good wicket

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on February 13, 2007

In Reply to: He's on a good wicket posted by Carole on February 13, 2007

: I have heard the phrase "He's on a good wicket" and would like to know its origin. Its current meaning is he is well paid or in an excellent situation.

It's a cricketing metaphor. The "wicket" is (a) the set of wooden stumps that the bowler hurls the ball at and the batsman defends; but (b) it is also the stretch of ground between the two wickets, upon which the bowled ball must bounce before it reached the batsman. On a good wicket - i.e. a smooth, dry and firm one - a competent batsman has an excellent chance of scoring well, whereas a wicket that is uneven or wet will cause the ball to do unpredictable things which make life very difficult for him. One of the worst kinds of wicket for a batsman is a "sticky" (muddy) one, and in England when we speak of someone being "on a sticky wicket" we mean that he is in a difficult or indefensible position. (VSD)