Cricket is a game somewhat similar in principle to baseball. It is played on a large grass field by two teams of 11 players (there are no size or shape restrictions on the field). In the centre of the field there is a strip of very short grass 22 yards long. At each end of this ‘pitch’, there is a wicket consisting of three sticks (‘stumps’) raised out of the ground and two bails resting on top of the stumps. The edge of the field is marked out by a boundary. If the ball goes beyond this boundary, it is dead (out of play).
Procedures for Play
1. The captains of the two teams toss a coin to decide who should bat first.
2. Two players from the batting side go out to the middle. Their objective is to defend the wicket and score
as many runs (points) as possible. At any given time, only one of the batsmen is actually batting. The
other is waiting his turn at the other wicket.
3. The objective of the other side (the fielding or bowling side) is to get the opposing batsmen out and to
restrict them to as few runs as possible.
4. The game begins when the fielding captain has placed his players
in suitable positions around the field, the idea being to prevent
runs from being scored, and to enable the fielding team to get the
batsmen out. Batsman 1 stands in front of his wicket, and one of
the fielding team bowls (throws with a circular action of a straight arm) the ball from the opposite wicket.
5. The first aim of batsman 1 is to prevent the ball from hitting the
wicket. If, then, he hits the ball and it travels to a gap in the field
where there is no threat from a fielder, he will run the 22 yards to the other wicket. Batsman 2 will also
run from wicket to wicket and thus the batsmen change positions. They have scored 1 run (accredited to
6. Batsman 2 will then face the next delivery, and he will try and score runs in the same fashion. The
batsman may score any number of runs from one shot. If the ball reaches the boundary having hit the
ground before doing so, the batsman scores 4 runs. If the ball goes over the boundary on the full (i.e. not
having hit the ground), the batsman scores 6 runs.
How to Get the Batsmen Out
1. Bowled If the ball hits the batsman’s wicket, and the wicket is broken (at least
one of the bails falls to the ground), he is out.
2. Caught If the batsman hits the ball in the air (the ball must have touched the bat
or the batsman’s gloves) and a fielder catches the ball before it hits the
ground, he is out.
3. Run-out If whilst attempting a run, a fielder returns the ball to one of the
wickets, and the batsman nearest that wicket is not in his ground (i.e.
behind the popping crease), he is out if the wicket is broken. The
batsman is not out if he breaks the wicket by accidentally running into
4. Stumped If the batsman misses the ball and is not in his ground, the wicketkeeper
(the fielder placed behind the stumps) may retrieve the ball and
break the wicket with it. The batsman is out.
5. LBW If the ball hits the batsman’s person in front of the wicket and the
batsman has not hit the ball with the bat, he is out leg before wicket.
(This law is one of the more complicated of the game. There are many
restrictions as to what may be LBW and what not. To get an exact
idea, please look at the laws of the game.)
6. Hit wicket If whilst facing a delivery, the batsman breaks the wicket with his bat
or his own body, he is out.
7. Hit the ball
The batsman is not allowed to hit the ball twice with the bat, unless he
is preventing the ball from rolling onto his wicket after he has already
8. Handled the
The batsman may not touch the ball with his person unless he has the
permission of the opposing side.
9. Obstructing the
The batsman may not do anything to obstruct the fielding side be it by
action or by word
10. Timed out If the batsman takes too long in getting to the wicket after the previous
batsman has been got out, he may be given out, timed out.
Extra Runs That Can be Scored
The fielding side may also get additional penalty runs (called extras) under the following circumstances:
Byes If the batsman misses the ball, but there is still the opportunity to score runs, the
runs shall be scored as byes (they count for the team’s score but not for the
batsman’s individual score).
Leg-byes If the ball hits the batsman’s person, but not his bat, and he has tried to hit the ball
or has taken evasive action, runs may be scored as leg-byes (again they do not
count towards the player’s individual score).
No-balls If any of a number of laws are broken regarding the fair delivery of the ball, a run
may be added to the batting team’s score as a no-ball. That delivery must then be
repeated. (Please see the laws for a more in-depth description.)
Wides If the ball is bowled wide of the batsman and it is determined that the batsman
could not have hit it from his normal position in front of the wicket, a wide is
scored. The ball must be bowled again.
The End of the First Innings
1. Once 10 of the 11 batsmen on the batting side have been got out, that innings (batting session) is over.
One of the batsmen will be not out. The total number of runs scored by all 11 batsmen is added to the
total number of extras scored giving the team’s total.
2. The team that was originally fielding now has its turn to bat whilst the team that batted first now fields,
trying to restrict the other team to fewer runs than they have just scored.
1. If the team that batted first scores more runs, that team wins by the difference in runs scored by the two
teams, e.g. if Team A scores 197 runs, and Team B scores 150 runs, Team A wins by 47 runs.
2. If the team that batted second overtakes the first team’s total, the second team wins by the number of
wickets left in hand, e.g. Team A scores 197 runs and Team B scores 198 with 8 batsmen out, Team B
wins by 2 wickets.
3. Sometimes, matches will consist of two innings per team. The totals for the two innings are then added
together and the winner is determined by the same criteria as in points 1 and 2.
The games are controlled by two umpires who ensure that the laws are followed. Their decision is final and
should never be contradicted by the players.
The Spirit of the Game
Not only is the game always to be played within the laws, but also within the spirit of the game. This means
that fair play is paramount, and that one should always be sporting. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be cricket.