All About CRICKET
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Scoring Types of bowling
Overs Types of batting
Innings Batting and fielding positions
When is a batsman out? Equipment
The cricket pitch
History of the game
Objective: Two teams of eleven take it in turn to bat, and the batting team puts two players on the playing area at one time. The other team places all eleven players on the field in various positions, simply enough, to field.
There are two officials on the field also, known as umpires. The umpires are in charge of rules and may make any ruling necessary.
The players who are going to bat, (the batsmen) stand at opposite sides of the pitch. The bowler will deliver the ball to the receiving batsman, whose job is to hit the ball out into the field. While the fielders are collecting it and throwing it back to the bowler, the two batsmen run backwards and forwards between the wickets (the three sticks placed at each end of the pitch).
The idea is to make as many runs as possible from each ball thrown. Runs are added to the teams score, and the more runs they have, the better.
The task of the bowler is to dismiss the batsmen (get them out) by bowling the ball so that it hits the wickets. A player may also be out by an opposing player hitting the wickets with the ball when the player is running and is not in the batting section.
When ten players are out, the innings ends, and the teams swap, so the team who were batting change to fielding, and the team who were fielding change to batting.
A note about this page
In the text, the players are referred to in the male gender. Women's cricket is a successful and popular game, although for the purposes of this page, the more mainstream men's game has been used to describe in the explanations.
The batsman can score runs in several different ways, although all of them involve hitting the ball. There is a boundary running around the edge of the playing field, this can be anything from a white line to a very long length of rope.
While there are two batsman, the player who actually scores runs is the one who had the ball bowled to them. This also applies for overthrows (but not for any other extras).
If the batsman hits the ball, and hit goes across the boundary, after bouncing on the field, it counts as four runs automatically, known simply as a four. If the ball travels across the boundary without hitting the ground first, it counts as six runs automatically, known as a six.
- If a ball is caught after a run or runs have been completed, that run or runs do not count.
- If a four or a six is scored, any extra runs made do not count. Only the four or the six would count, and the batsman return to their original positions.
- If a player catches the ball, and steps over the boundary, it counts as a six, providing the player was not caught out, of course. This also applies if the catching player touches the boundary in any way.
Runs can be made in any combination, of one, two, three, four, and so on. The number of runs the batsmen make is up to them, they decide whether they can make it safely.
When a run is scored, both batsmen run, regardless of which one hit the ball. When both batsmen run to each others wickets, that counts as one run.
If an odd number of runs is scored, the batsmen will stay at whichever side of the pitch they are on. In this way, both batsmen may get a chance at scoring runs as the bowler will continue to bowl from one side of the pitch to whichever batsmen is in position. This called being at the crease. That batsman is at the crease, next up at the crease, etc.
How scores are recorded
In cricket, you may hear something like: England are on 140 for 5.
What this means is that England have scored 140 runs with five batsmen out.
A batsman's runs are added not only to his individual total, but also to the team total. This is so that team scores can be analysed efficiently, and players can set personal targets for themselves. In the example above, one player may have scored 90 runs, and the remaining four players may have scored 0, 12, 30, and 8.
The total will be the same regardless of what individual players have scored.
A bowler will also have an individual score. After a match, if a bowler has bowled four overs and taken two wickets, their scorecard may look like this (for example):
2-34 in 4 overs
What this means is that this bowler has taken two wickets (personally dismissed two players), conceding 34 runs in total, in four overs.
If another player and the bowler are involved in dismissing a player, for example, catching a player out, the bowler is credited thus:
Batsman out, Bowler, caught, Fielder.
Simply bowling a player out:
Batsman out, Bowler
And so on for variations of dismissing players.
If a player's score exceeds 100, this is a called a century. If it exceeds 200, this is a double century, and so on, although in reality, individual scores over 200 are fairly exceptional.
A typical cricket scoreboard
Bat number - batsman number 3 has scored 18 runs. Batsman number 6 has scored 3 runs.
Total and For wickets - signify the team score, and how many wickets have fallen (how many players out). 63 for 5.
The last player to be dismissed has scored 12 runs. The last wicket fell at 53 runs.
The innings is in its 12th over, with 11 overs complete.
The opposing team scored 89 runs in their innings.Overs
A side of eleven may have five or six designated bowlers, all of whom may be in use at some point in a cricket match. Bowlers do not bowl continuously. While batsmen stay at the crease until dismissed (see below), bowlers are alternated. They will bowl for periods called overs.
An over consists of six balls in international cricket, although the number of balls in an over can vary for local and regional cricket. When a bowler has completed an over, the fielding players change sides, so the bowler will bowl from the other side of the pitch, and the fielders will take up opposite positions on the field. See Fielding positions below for more details.
Maiden over - over when the batsman scores no runs
Wicket maiden - over when the bowler concedes no runs (like the maiden over) but also takes at least one wicket
When ten players from a side have been dismissed, the inning ends, or the captain may declare before then, thus finishing the teams inning right then.
An innings is a term used to describe either the total length of time a team is in batting for (this can vary greatly according to how fast the wickets fall) or, in a limited-overs game, an inning may consist of, for example, 50 overs.
The differences between limited overs matches and standard (Test) matches are the time scales allocated.
A Test match will consist of four innings, Team A batting until they are bowled out, or declare their innings, then Team B do the same. Team A have a second innings, then Team B. A coin is tossed. The captain of the team who wins the toss decides whether to bat of field first.
The scores for each team are added together over both innings.
In matches of four innings, if the team who bats fourth win, the winning margin is the number of wickets they had left at the time of passing their opponents score.
Team A are bowled out for 300.
Team B score 301 for 9.
Team B have won by one wicket.
If the team who bat third win, the winning margin is the number of runs they win by.
Team A are bowled out for 300.
Team B are bowled out for 290.
Team A have won by 10 runs.
Draws, ties, and other conclusions
If the scores are level with the side batting last having wickets left, the match is declared a draw.
If the scores are level with no wickets left, the match is declared a tie.
If the winning team batted only once, their victory will be by an innings and a certain number of runs.
- If the winning team is the one which bats second, they win by the number of wickets they have left.
- If the winning team is the one which bats first, they win by the number of runs.
- The same rules apply for limited-overs cricket.
In a match of two innings per side, the team batting second can be asked to bat again if their first innings total is behind the other team by a certain amount. The amount varies according to the length of the match.
If it is a five day match the team follow on if they are 200 runs behind the first teams score. In a three day game, the second team follow on if they are 150 runs behind. In a two day match, the total is 100 runs, and a one day match, the total is 75 runs.
If, for example, a day's play was lost in a five day match, the follow-on deficit score is reduced to 150, as the match would be regarded as a four-day match, due to one day being lost.
Limited overs games
A limited overs game may be played as part of a tournament or a one-day international, so called because it lasts for one day.
The idea of this is because a Test match may last four of five days, with a schedule of thirty hours play to be spread across the days. There can also be extra time if the minimum of overs are not reached in one day.
At the moment the ball is delivered, a minimum of four fielders (as well as the bowler and wicket-keeper) must be within a certain area, close to the pitch.When is a batsman out?
Ball handling - the batsman may not handle the ball with the hand which is not holding the bat, unless the other team have given permission to.
Bowled out - this is when the bowler bowls the ball, and it hits the wickets without the batsman hitting it, or the ball comes off the bat of the batsman's body and hits the wickets. For this to count, one or both of the bails must be knocked off the wickets.
The wickets, with bails on top
The bails are marked pink for visibility in this diagram, although for a game, they are most likely to be wood like the wickets.
Caught out - if any fielder catches the ball after the batsman has hit it, the batsman is out immediately. If a fielder makes contact with the ball and is slips out of his hand, and he catches it again before it hits the ground, the batsman is still out. A hit on the ball in this case includes the batsman's hand or glove in contact with the ball. Even if the ball has gone over the boundary, if it is caught, the player is out.
Handled ball - a batsman is given out if they deliberately touch the ball with the hand(s), unless the opposing side have given consent for the batsman to do so.
Hitting the ball twice - the player may not hit the ball twice, unless it is to expressly keep the ball away from the wicket.
Hitting the wicket - if the batsman hits his own wickets. If the ball is hit straight, and it hits the opposite stumps, neither batsman is out.
Leg before wicket (lbw) - the basic rule is if a batsman prevents the ball from hitting the wicket with any part of the body, not just the leg. If the player attempts to hit the ball, and the ball instead hits the players body anywhere other than the hand holding the bat then that player is out by lbw.
This applies only if the ball would have otherwise hit the wicket.
The player will be out lbw if
- the ball is pitched in a straight line between the two sets of wickets
- the ball pitches on the off side of the batter's wicket (the side of the pitch in front of the batsman, that he is facing, i.e. to the bowler's left for a right-handed batsman.)
- the ball hits the batter full pitch before hitting the ground, and it would have gone in a straight line between the two sets of wickets. The point of impact must be in a straight line between the two sets of wickets, even if it is above the height of the bails.
Any ball that pitches outside leg stump (on the side of the wicket that the batter's front leg is in front of) does not count as lbw.
If the ball merely hits the batsman then rolls away into the field, the batsmen can make runs. See Extras.
Obstructing the field - if a batsman distracts or obstructs the fielders, physically or verbally.
Run out - the player running back to the crease must place the bat behind the line before the wickets are hit by a fielder. If a batsman is run out, all runs made in that stroke prior to the run where he was caught are counted.
When a wicket is hit with the ball, which batsman is out? If the batsmen have crossed (run past each other), it is the coming batsman who is run out. If they have not crossed, it is the leaving batsman who is run out.
Stumped - if the player hits the ball and the wicket-keeper (player behind the wickets, see Fielding positions for details) catches the ball and strikes the wickets, the player is out by being stumped. If the wicket-keeper hits the wickets after the player has started running, the player is run out.
Timed out - if a batsman is dismissed, the next batsman must step onto the field within two minutes, unless there is a good reason not to, otherwise the umpire will sent the player off before he has stepped on the field.Bowling
The bowler must make a fair delivery of the ball. To do this, the bowler must notify the umpire:
- whether he is to bowl overarm or underarm (underarm bowling is rarely used, and is not allowed in limited-overs cricket)
- whether he is to bowl over or round the wicket (over wicket - ball goes straight and bounces up, round wicket - ball is delivered either left or right of wicket)
- if the delivery is to be left or right-handed
The ball must be bowled, not thrown. The arm used for bowling must be straight during delivery. The bowlers back foot must be inside the return crease, and the front foot must be within the popping crease, on the ground or not.
The non-striking batsman must stand on the opposite side of the wicket from the batsman, unless the umpire agrees to make an exception.
Other ways runs can be scored (extras / sundries)
If the bowler breaks any of the above rules, the delivery is called a no-ball, and one run is added to the batting teams score. A no-ball does not count towards the over, and an extra ball is bowled to compensate.
A ball which passes the striker without hitting the body of the batting player, the bat, or the wickets. It is a bye if it has not already been called by the umpire as a no-ball or a wide. Byes are not included in the bowler's analysis. Boundaries can be scored from byes.
Leg-bye A run scored if the ball hits the players body or clothing (not the bat or bat hand - then it counts as a fair ball). Leg-byes are not included in the bowler's analysis. Boundaries can be scored from leg-byes.
For byes and leg-byes, the ball rolls away past the player at the crease while the fielders pick it up and return it. The ball can be returned to the wicket-keeper if they think there is a chance of running a player out, otherwise it goes to the bowler.
Overthrow - a throw from a fielder that passes the wicketkeeper and allows batsmen to get more runs. Boundaries can be scored from an overthrow, and any runs made count on top of a boundary, if one is scored. Runs are credited to the batsman.
Also counts as one run to the opposing team. A wide occurs when the ball is either too high or too far left or right of the batsman to reasonably hit.
These all count as extras (or sundries) and are added to the batting team's total.
For example, their score is 140-1, with 20 extras.
This signifies that 20 runs have been made without the bat. Over the course of an entire match, there may be a lot of stolen runs made from extras here and there.
Note: Extras are known as 'sundries' in Australia.Types of bowling
The cricket ball can be affected by the shininess, the shinier it is, the less wind resistance, and whether the seam has been picked. If the threads of the seam are slightly raised on one side, this will also affect the balls course through the air.
Bowlers are described as "left/right handed (type of delivery) bowler, such as
Left-handed spin bowler
The bowler may also try to hit the ball on the ground with the seam of the ball, so it will bounce up erratically, to make it harder for the batsman to hit. A medium-paced bowler who will do this is called a seam bowler.
You may hear the terms 'leg side', 'on side', 'off side', or just 'leg', 'on' and 'off' when bowling is being discussed. This is what they mean:
- Leg side (also known as on side), sometimes just referred to as leg or on, means the side of the field behind the batsman at the crease.
- Off (also referred to as off side), means the side of the field in front of the batsman at the crease (the side the batsman is facing).
Two more terms which you may hear are 'over the wicket' and 'round the wicket'. They mean:
- Over the wicket is when the bowler delivers the ball with the bowling hand nearest the stumps
- Round the wicket is when the bowler delivers the ball with the bowling hand furthest from the stumps
A fast, short-pitched ball that hits the ground in front of the batsman and bounces up to at least chest height.
An off break delivery made with a leg break bowling action.
Leg-break spin / Leg break
The ball is bowled spinning in an anti-clockwise direction so that it bounces sideways across the face of the batsman after hitting the ground. It moves from leg to off after pitching.
A fast leg break. The bowler cuts the fingers across the seam to add spin just before delivery.
Off-spin / Off break
The ball will hit the ground on the offside, and bounce in towards the wickets. It moves from off to leg after pitching.
A fast off break. The bowler cuts the fingers across the seam to add spin just before delivery.
Swing bowling, inswing and outswing
Inswing - the ball will travel across the face of the batsman in the air, and toward the leg side (the front leg).
Outswing - the ball will swing in the air towards the offside, the back leg.Types of batting
Batsmen may elect to play either an attacking stroke or a defensive stroke, depending on the bowler and the run of play, and their own personal decision. A defensive stroke may not produce any runs, or only rare single runs, but will keep the batsman at the crease for when the next bowler comes in. As different bowlers have different tactics, a batsman may prefer to play attacking against one, defensively against another.
The ball is stopped dead, and only travels a metre or two away.
Back defensive stroke
Played off the back foot.
If the ball is bowled slowly to a position wide of the off stump (back leg stump from the batsman's point of view).
The ball does not bounce before being hit with the bat. It is usually hit down the leg side.
Forward and backward glances are both similar to the forward and backward defensive strokes. The ball is deflected off the face of the bat, often to leg side.
Similar to the pull, made from the back foot, and often hit to leg side.
When the ball is struck cleanly and powerfully to the offside (the side of the field which is opposite to batsman's front leg) of the field, between cover and mid-off.
Made towards the batsman's leg side of the field (the on-side), the same way as the off-drive, between mid-wicket and mid-on.
Played if the ball bounces early (a short delivery), and aimed for mid-wicket (see Fielding positions diagram).
The ball is simply hit straight, past the bowler.
This is a pull taken on the side of the batsman's front leg, and swept across when the ball is delivered slowly to the wicket stump which is also on the batsman's leg side.
The creases, where the batsman stands to play the ball. The width of the crease overallis 3.66 metres (12 feet). The return and batting creases wherethe wicket keeper and batsman relatively stand are 1.22 metres (4feet) long. The width of these creases is 2.64 metres (8 feet and8 inches).
Where are fielding players positioned?
Notes about this diagram:
* This is how the players would stand when a right-handed batsman is receiving the ball. If a left-handed batsman is receiving the ball, the fielders would stand on the opposite side of the field. This would also happen if, of the two batsmen at the crease, one is left-handed and the other right-handed. The bowler would also switch to the other side of the pitch to run on when delivering the ball.
* It is not to scale. The playing area would be larger than shown below, with far greater spacing between players. The scale as below is such to show it on the screen in one piece.
* There are 34 basic fielding positions shown here. There are more, although these are the most commonly used. Precisely where the players will stand during the game may vary, the below diagram is a guide only.
* As this site is for general rules only, an explanation for each position has not been provided. The job of each fielder should be fairly clear to see, but if you require further information, a specialist cricket site may contain specific details.
Fielding positions. Obviously there would only be eleven fielding players on the field.Equipment
The difference between the field and the pitch can be confusing. In short, the field is the total grassy area cricket is played on, up to the boundary and perhaps spectator seating. The pitch is the lighter green or brown rectangle roughly in the centre of the field, where the bowling and batting takes place.
The dimensions are 3 metres wide (10 yards) by 20.12 metres (22 yards). The pitch itself is cut into a large (usually) oval area called the field. There are no official rules defining how large the field must be, although the boundary is no less than 69 metres (75 yards) away from the pitch.
The wickets are made of three wooden stumps and two wooden bails. The two sets of wickets are placed 20.12 metres (22 yards) apart, at each end of the pitch. Each stump is 71.1 centimetres (28 inches) high. The total width of all three stumps is 22.86 centimetres (9 inches) and they should be placed in a straight line and an equal distance apart.
The tops of the stumps have a groove cut into them for the bails to rest on. The bails are 11.1 centimetres (just under 5 inches) long and should not rise more than 1.3 centimetres (half an inch) above the top of the stump.
For junior cricket, the wicket are a little smaller. The total width is 20.3 centimetres (8 inches), they are 68.6 centimetres high, with a distance of 19.2 metres (21 yards) between the two sides of the pitch. The bails are 9.8 centimetres (4 inches) long.
The bat is a maximum of 96.5 centimetres (38 inches) long, 10.8 centimetres (just over 4 inches) wide. They are made of either English willow (wood) or sometimes Kasmir willow. The weights vary from about 1.08 to 1.36 kilograms (2 to 3 pounds). The handle is usually covered in rubber casing for an easier grip.
The ball is round and cased in stitched red leather. The weight is between 156 and 163 grammes (5 and a half to 5 and three quarter ounces) and is 22.4 to 22.9 centimetres (just under 9 to 9 inches) in circumference.
Balls used for women's cricket vary slightly. The weight is between 140 and 150 grammes (just under 5 to just over 5 ounces) and is 21 to 22.5 centimetres (just over 8 to just under 9 inches) in circumference.
Balls used for junior cricket vary slightly. The weight is between 133 and 143 grammes (just over 4 to just over 5 ounces) and is 20.5 to 22 centimetres (just over 8 to just under 9 inches) in circumference.
There should be two sightscreens, one each on the back fence at the edges of the field, behind the wickets. They are large white boards, often wooden, which can measure from 6.1 metres (20 feet) wide and 4.57 metres (15 feet) high. There is no set size. Local regulations decide the sizes.
The reason for having them is so that the batsman can clearly see the bowler's arm when the delivery is being made (it will show against the sightscreen).
Players wear leg pads made of canvas or buckskin covers, over cane and sidewing padding. Many pad flex at the knees. There are three straps which go around the backs of the legs. Pads start at the foot and just cover the knees, except for wicket-keeper's pads, which finish just before the knees.
The batsman and wicketkeeper also wear gloves. Batsmans gloves have finger guards filled with foam. The palms are usually made of leather to aid grip. Wicketkeeper's gloves are made of leather and are leather-lined, but with cane and sponge protection.
There are also thigh and arm pads, which are made of canvas over a polystyrene pad protector.
Batsmen and close infielders (fielders who field close to the pitch) wear helmets. The helmets are made of metal and/or fibre-glass, and often have a chin strap, ear protectors and a nose guard. This depends on the personal preference of the batsman.GLOSSARY
All-rounder - a player who is strong in all areas, batting, bowling, and fielding.
Average - batting average is reached by dividing the number of runs scored by the number of innings played, less the number of times that player has been not out, bowling average is the number of runs conceded by the number of wickets taken. Byes and leg byes are not counted.
At the crease - when a batsman is in the position to hit the ball (in a batting position)
Bails - two pieces of wood on top of the wickets. If they are knocked off during a play, the batsman is out
Batting order - the upper order are the five or six strongest batsmen, the lower order are the less proficient batsmen. Often, the bowlers make up the lower order
Batsmen - the two players (on the team which is not fielding) who are in play at any given time
Blockhole - the depression sometimes made in a dusty pitch where the batsmen take guard (rest the bat inside the popping crease - this is done with the umpire's knowledge so the batsman can see roughly where to play from). See also Yorker.
Bowler - the player whose job it is to dismiss the batsmen by bowling balls at them (bowling is similar in principle to throwing the ball, but with considerably greater skill.
Boundary - a line around the edge of the field. If the ball crosses this line after being bowled, whether a player has hit it or not (for example, if a fielder has missed it) runs (points) can be scored. Four if the ball hits the ground then goes over the boundary, six if it goes out without hitting the ground
Century - if a player scores 100 runs or more is one turn at batting, it is a century for that player
Declare - the practice of a captain deciding to finish the game before all the players are out, or for other strategic reasons. This is not allowed in senior limited-overs cricket.
Double century - if a player scores 200 runs or more is one turn at batting, it is a double century for that player
Duck - being out for no runs. A golden duck is being out for no runs from the first ball bowled to you.
Extra - runs added for bowling mistakes.
Field - the practice of one team batting, the other fielding. Also, the field is the entire grassy area where the game is played. This is different from the Pitch, below.
Innings - an innings is a term used to describe either the total length of time a team is in batting for (this can vary greatly according to how fast the wickets fall) or, in a limited-overs game, an inning may consist of, for example, 50 overs.
Night watchman - when a side is put into bat late in the day's play, they will often put in a lower order batsman to keep the more experienced batsmen for the next day.
Not out - if a batsman has not been dismissed by the end of the innings, they are said to be 'not out'.
Overs - each bowler will bowl six balls per over (for international cricket, although there may be regional variations. Each bowler will bowl only one over at a time, so many teams will have three or four bowlers, all with different styles and strategies.
Pitch - the rectangular area roughly in the centre of the field, where the balls are bowled and hit.
Played on - when a batsman plays the ball onto their own wicket. The dismissal is credited to the bowler.
Run - the cricket equivalent of a point.
Substitute - also known as 'Twelfth man', a replacement fielder who can enter play to replace a team-mate. The twelfth man cannot bat or bowl, and all catches made are credited to 'sub'.
Sundries - runs added for bowling mistakes.
Umpires - the cricket equivalent of a referee, an official person designated to ensure that rules are followed
Wickets - the wooden stumps behind the batsman, which the bowlers must hit to dismiss the batting player. If a bowler hits the wickets of two players, the bowler has two wickets.
Yorker - a delivery pitched short, usually landing between the base of the stumps and the block hole.
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