Basics Cricket is a team sport for two teams of eleven players each. A formal game of cricket can last anything from an afternoon to several days. Although the game play and rules are very different, the basic concept of cricket is similar to that of baseball. Teams bat in successive innings and attempt to score runs, while the opposing team fields and attempts to bring an end to the batting team's innings. After each team has batted an equal number of innings the team with the most runs wins.
Equipment • Cricket Ball: • Hard, cork and string ball, covered with leather. • Cricket Bat: • Blade made of willow, flat on one side, humped on the other for strength. • Wickets: • There are two wickets - wooden structures made up of a set of three stumps topped by a pair of bails. • Stumps: • Three wooden posts, 25 millimetres (1 inch) in diameter and 813 millimetres (32 inches) high. They have have spikes extending from their bottom end and are hammered into the ground in an evenly spaced row, with the outside edges of the outermost stumps 228 millimetres (9 inches) apart. This means they are just close enough together that a cricket ball cannot pass between them. • Bails: • Two wooden crosspieces which sit in grooves atop the adjacent pairs of stumps. • Protective Gear: • Pads, gloves, helmet, etc for batsmen to wear to prevent injury when struck by the ball. • Shoes: • Leather, usually with spiked soles for grip on the grass. • Clothing: • Long pants, shirt (long or short sleeved depending on the weather), possibly a sleeveless or long-sleeved woollen pullover in cold weather. For games played with a red ball, the clothing must be white or cream. With a white ball, players usually wear uniforms in solid team colours. Add a hat or cap to keep the sun off. There are no regulations regarding identifying marks or numbers on clothing.
Rules of Cricket The game is played in accordance with 42 laws of cricket, which have been developed by the Marylebone Cricket Club (London) in discussion with the main cricketing nations. Other rules supplement the main laws and change them to deal with different circumstances. In particular, there are a number of modifications to the playing structure and fielding position rules that apply to one innings games that are restricted to a set number of fair deliveries.
Players and Officials • Players A team consists of eleven players. Depending on his primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. A balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. Teams nearly always include a specialist wicket-keeper because of the importance of this fielding position. • Umpires Two on-field umpires preside over a match. One umpire will stand behind the wicket at the end from which the ball is bowled, and adjudicate on most decisions. The other will stand near the fielding position called square leg, which offers a side view of the batsman, and assist on decisions for which he has a better view. In some professional matches, they may refer a decision to an off-field 'third' umpire, who has the assistance of television replays. In international matches an off-field match referee ensures that play is within the laws of cricket and the spirit of the game.
The Field The cricket field consists of a large circular or oval-shaped grassy ground. There are no fixed dimensions for the field but its diameter usually varies between 450 feet (137 m) to 500 feet (150 m). On most grounds, a rope demarcates the perimeter of the field and is known as the boundary.
The Pitch Most of the action takes place in the centre of this ground, on a rectangular clay strip usually with short grass called the pitch. The pitch measures 10 × 66 feet. At each end of the pitch three upright wooden stakes, called the stumps, are hammered into the ground. Two wooden crosspieces, known as the bails, sit in grooves atop the stumps, linking each to its neighbor. Each set of three stumps and two bails is collectively known as a wicket. The dimensions are in centimetres (divide by 2.54 for inches).
Placements of players • The team batting always has two batsmen on the field. One batsman, known as the striker, faces and plays the balls bowled by the bowler. His partner stands at the bowling end and is known as the non-striker. • The fielding team has all eleven of its players on the ground, and at any particular time, one of these will be the bowler. The player designated as bowler must change after every over. The wicket-keeper, who generally acts in that role for the whole match, stands or crouches behind the wicket at the batting end. The captain of the fielding team spreads his remaining nine players — the fielders — around the ground to cover most of the area. Their placement may vary dramatically depending on strategy. Each position on the field has a unique label.
Match Structure 1. The toss - On the day of the match, the captains inspect the pitch to determine the type of bowlers whose bowling would be suited for the offered pitch surface and select their eleven players. The two opposing captains then toss a coin. The captain winning the toss may choose either to bat or bowl first. 2. Overs - Each innings is divided into overs, each consisting of six consecutive legal deliveries bowled by the same bowler. After completing an over, the bowler must take up a fielding position and let another player take over the bowling. After every over, the batting and bowling ends are swapped, and the field positions are adjusted. The umpires swap so the umpire at the bowler's end moves to square leg, and the umpire at square leg moves to the new bowler's end. 3. End of an innings - An innings is completed if: Ten out of eleven batsmen are 'out' (dismissed). A team chasing a given target number of runs to win manages to do so. The predetermined number of overs are bowled (in a one-day match only, usually 50 overs). A captain declares his team's innings closed (this does not apply to one-day limited over matches). 4. Playing time - Typically, two innings matches are played over three to five days with at least six hours of cricket being played each day. One innings matches are usually played over one day for six hours or more. There are formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea, and shorter breaks for drinks, where necessary. There is also a short interval between innings.
Batting and Scoring Runs • Batsmen strike the ball from the batting crease, with the flat surface of a wooden bat. If the batsman hits the ball with his bat, it is called a shot (or stroke). If the ball brushes the side of the bat it is called an edge or snick. Shots are named according to the style of swing and the direction aimed. As part of the team's strategy, he may bat defensively, blocking the ball downwards, or aggressively, hitting the ball hard to empty spaces in order to score runs. There is no requirement to run if the ball is struck. • Batsmen come in to bat in a batting order decided by the team captain. • Run scoring • To score a run, a striker must hit the ball and run to the opposite end of the pitch, while his non-striking partner runs to his end. If the striker hits the ball well enough, the batsmen may double back to score two or more runs. This is known as running between wickets. However, no rule requires the batsman to run upon striking the ball. If a fielder knocks the bails off the stumps with the ball while no batsman is grounded behind the nearest popping crease, the nearest batsman is run out. If the ball goes over the boundary, then four runs are scored, or six if the ball has not bounced.
Batsman's Shots • The different types of shots a batsman can play are described by names: • Block: - A defensive shot played with the bat vertical and angled down at the front, intended to stop the ball and drop it down quickly on to the pitch in front of the batsman. • Drive - An offensive shot played with the bat sweeping down through the vertical. The ball travels swiftly along the ground in front of the striker. A drive can be an on drive, straight drive, off drive, or cover drive, depending in which direction it goes. • Cut - A shot played with the bat close to horizontal, which hits the ball somewhere in the arc between cover and gully. • Edge, or Glance - A shot played off the bat at a glancing angle, through the slips area. • Leg Glance - A shot played at a glancing angle behind the legs, so that it goes in the direction of fine leg. • Pull - A horizontal bat shot which pulls the ball around the batsman into the square leg area. • Sweep - Like a pull shot, except played with the backmost knee on the ground, so as to hit balls which bounce low. • Hook - Like a pull shot, but played to a bouncer and intended to hit the ball high in the air over square leg - hopefully for six runs. • French Cut - An attempt at a cut shot which hits the bottom edge of the bat and goes into the area behind square leg. • Reverse Sweep - A sweep with the bat reversed, into the point area.
Extras (sundries) Extras consist of byes, leg byes, no balls, wides and penalty runs. The former two are runs that can be scored if the batsman misses making contact with bat and ball, and the latter two are types of fouls committed by the bowler. For serious infractions such as tampering with the ball, deliberate time-wasting, and damaging the pitch, the umpires may award penalty extras to the opposition; in each case five runs. Five penalty runs are also awarded if a fielder uses anything other than his body to field the ball, or if the ball hits a protective helmet left on the field by the fielding team. A team need not be batting in order to receive penalty extras.
Bowling and Dismissals BOWLING A bowler delivers the ball toward the batsmen, using what is known as a bowling action: the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out during the action. If the elbow straightens, it is an illegal throw and the delivery is called a no-ball. Some part of the bowler's front foot in the delivery stride (that is, the stride when the ball is released) must be behind the popping crease to avoid a no-ball (although the bowler's front foot does not have to be grounded). The ball must also be delivered so it is within the batsman's reach; otherwise it is termed a wide. A wide cannot be called if the batsman hits the ball. A wide or no-ball results in an extra run being added to the batting team's score, and an extra ball being bowled in the over. The bowler's primary goal is to take wickets; that is, to get a batsman out or dismissed. Their next task is to limit the numbers of runs scored per over they bowl. This is known as the Economy rate.
Bowling and Dismissals Bowling Styles There are two basic approaches to bowling: fast and spin. A fast bowler bowls the ball as fast as practicable, attempting to defeat the batsman with its pace. Leg-cutter – ball moves from leg side off side of batter Off-cutter - ball moves from off side to leg side of batter A spin bowler has a more ambling run-up and uses wrist or finger motion to impart a spin to the ball. The ball then spins to one side when it bounces on the pitch, thus also hopefully causing it to be hard to hit. Leg-spin – ball moves from leg side off side of batter Off-spin - ball moves from off side to leg side of batter Top-spin – leg-spin delivery with hand positioned to produce top-spin Googly – leg-spin delivery with hand cocked to produce off-spin Flipper – leg-spin delivery with backspin – most difficult delivery
Bowling and Dismissals DISMISSALS A batsman is allowed to bat as long as he does not get out (dismissed). If the batsman is dismissed, another player from the batting team replaces him until ten batsmen are out and the innings is over. There are ten ways of being dismissed: Caught Bowled Leg Before Wicket (LBW) Run Out Stumped Hit Wicket Handled the Ball Hit the Ball Twice Obstructing the Field Timed Out (3 minutes to replace dismissed batsman) An individual cannot be out — 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', 'stumped', or 'hit wicket' off a no ball. He cannot be out — 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', or 'hit the ball twice' off a wide.
Fielding and Wicket-keeping Fielders assist the bowlers to prevent batsmen from scoring too many runs. They do this in two ways: by taking catches to dismiss a batsman, and by intercepting hit balls and returning them to the pitch to attempt run-outs to restrict the scoring of runs. The wicket-keeper is a specialist fielder who stands behind the batsman's wicket throughout the game. His primary job is to gather deliveries that the batsman fails to hit, to prevent them running into the outfield, which would enable batsmen to score byes. To this end, he wears special gloves (he is the only fielder allowed to do so) and pads to cover his lower legs. Due to his position directly behind the striker, the wicket-keeper has a good chance of getting a batsman out.
Fielding Positions • WICKET KEEPER • FIRST SLIP • SECOND SLIP • THIRD SLIP • GULLY + • POINT + * ~ • COVER + • EXTRA COVER + • MID-OFF + * • MID-ON + * • MID-WICKET + • SQUARE LEG + ~ • LEG SLIP • THIRD MAN • LONG OFF • LONG ON • FINE LEG • BAT-PAD • DEEP BACKWARD SQUARE • + DEEP (NEAR BOUNDARY) • * SILLY (NEAR BATSMAN) • ~ BACKWARD (MORE ‘UP’) 14 17 19 2 4 3 1 13 5 6 7 8 9 X X X X 12 11 10 15 16
The Two Forms of Cricket First Class Cricket Test matches are played over five days, with six hours play each day. Each day's play is divided into three sessions of two hours each, with a 40 minute break between the first two session for lunch, and a 20 minute tea break between the last two sessions. A short drinks break is taken once an hour, or more often in very hot weather. Play usually goes from 11:00 local time to 18:00, although this may be varied if sunset occurs early. The scheduled close of play time is called stumps. If by the end of the final day's play all the innings are not completed, the game is a draw, no matter who appeared to be ``winning''. Test matches are played in Series between two of the official Test nations. A Test Series consists of a set number of matches, from one to six, all of which are played to completion, even if one team gains an unassailable lead in the Series.
The Two Forms of Cricket One-Day Cricket Each team gets only one innings, and that innings is restricted to a maximum number of overs. Usual choices for the number of overs are 50, 55, or 60. Each innings is complete at the end of the stipulated number of overs, no matter how many batsmen are out. If ten batsmen are out before the full number of overs are bowled, the innings is also over. If the first team's innings ends in this manner, the second team still has its full number of overs to score the required runs. Whichever team scores the most runs wins. A tied score stands. There is no draw result. If the match is washed out, so that the innings are not played, the game is declared a no-result. One-day competitions are played either as Series between pairs of international teams, round-robin competitions between groups of international teams, or round-robins between domestic teams. A World Cup one-day competition is played between all the Test nations each four years.
Statistics and Good Performances The abbreviations are: b. bowled by c. caught by st. stumped by O overs M maidens R runs W wickets FOW fall of wicket
Statistics and Good Performances Typical bowling speeds are: Fast bowler: 80-90 mph Medium pace bowler: 60-80 mph Spin bowler: 45-55 mph During the 2003 World Cup, Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan sent down the fastest delivery ever recorded in cricket: a 100.2 mph thunderbolt, the second time he has broken the 100 mph barrier, standing alone as the 100 mph man of cricket. Brett Lee of Australia follows him closely at 99.8 mph. The fastest baseball pitch was by Mark Wohlers in Spring Training 1995, 103mph. 20 pitchers have recorded speeds of 100mph or more. Good performances: A batsman scoring 50, or 100 runs. A partnership adding 50, or 100 runs. A bowler taking five wickets in a single innings. A bowler taking ten wickets in a two innings match. (This is an excellent performance and a relatively rare feat.) A bowler taking a hat trick, i.e. three wickets in three successive balls (perhaps in different overs). This is even more rare.
Other Weird Phrases You May Hear Bowl a Maiden Over – bowl an over and concede no runs Out for a duck – batter is dismissed having scored no runs. A golden duck is when he is dismissed on his first delivery Nightwatchman – batter who comes in to bat out of order at the end of the day Rabbit – a very poor batsman (normally a bowler or wicket-keeper). A ferret is an extremely poor batsman (so called because he goes after the rabbits)
The Rules of Cricket 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 that’s 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 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!