How to Play
A cricket field is a roughly elliptical field of flat grass that ranges in size from about 90 to 150 metres across and bounded by an obvious fence. The pitch is located i.n the centre of the field It is rectangular in shape and marked with white lines called creases. Click on the thumnail image for a explanatory diagram.
The Captain of the team that wins the toin coss decides whether they should bat or field first. All 11 players of the fielding team fan out across the field and take up strategic positions to stop runs being scored or to get batsmen out. Two players from the team that will bat assume their positions at the pitch, clad in protective gear, and wait for the first ball to be bowled. One fielder from the ‘out’ team becomes the bowler and stands some distance behind one of the wickets but away from the pitch. Another fielder is the wicket-keeper who wears shin guards and webbed gloves to catch the ball. He squats behind the opposite wicket as is the only player who is allowed to . The rest of the fielders have no special equipment - gloves to assist catching the ball are not allowed to anyone but the wicket-keeper.
One batsman stands behind the crease and near to a wicket. The batsman who is furthest from the bowler is called a striker. The other batsman is called a runner or non-striker. The striker stands with his bat held down in front of the wicket waiting for the ball to be bowled from the other end of the pitch. The runner waits at the other crease, ready to run if need be. The bowler takes a run-up from behind the runner’s wicket and, passing to one side of the wicket, he bowls the ball towards the striker. The ball may bounce once on the pitch before it reaches the striker. This is the subtle difference between Cricket and Baseball, (i.e. the ball is allowed to bounce once in the pitch when a ball is being delivered by the bowler. If the batter misses the ball, the wicket-keeper will catch it. If he hits the ball, the 2 batsmen may score runs. When the runs are completed, the ball is also considered completed. Between deliveries, the 2 batsmen may leave their creases and confer with each other.
When the bowler delivers 6 balls successfully, he completes an overand a different member of the fielding team is given the ball to bowl that next over from the opposite end of the pitch. In this way the roles of the striker and non-striker swap after each over. The bowler also changes location on the field. The Captain may change the batting order at any time. When the batsmen are ‘all out’, no new batsmen remain to come in adn the innings is completed with one batsman remaining not out. The roles of the teams then switch, and the team which fielded first gets to bat through an innings. When both teams complete the agreed number of innings, the team scored the most runs wins.
Runs may be scored when the batsman hits the ball during a delivery. The batsmen run between the creases and cross over midway between them. When they both reach the opposite crease, one run is scored. They may elect to return for another run immediately. The fielding side attempts to prevent runs being scored by threatening to run out one of the batsmen. They do this by hitting a wicket with the ball and dislodging one or both bails, while no batsman is behind that wicket’s crease. The batsman nearest to the crease is considered ‘run out’. In order not to be run out, the batsman must have some part of his body or his bat which he must be holding grounded behind the crease. Unlike baseball, the batsmen carry their bats as they run. They can elect not to run, even if a ball is delivered, if they determine it is unsafe (i.e. they may be run out).
Runs are scored as well when:
- a batsman hits the ball so that it reaches the boundary fence. This constitutes 4 runs. The batsmen don’t need to run them.
- a batsman hits the ball over the boundary without it bouncing. This constitutes 6 runs.
If a batsman scores 4 or 6 runs, the ball is completed and neither batsman can be run out. If a fielder gathers the ball and touches outside or steps outside the boundary while holding the ball, 4 runs are scored. The same applies for a ball hit on the full. If the fielder catches it but steps out of the boundary while holding the ball, 6 runs are scored. Batsmen stop taking runs when the fielder throws the ball back toward the pitch area. If the ball reaches the boundary in a classic overthrow, 4 runs are scored over and above the runs taken. An overthrow happens when a fielder throws the ball toward the pitch but there is no one nearby to gather it and so it continues into the outfield. All runs scored by a batsman are credited to him and adds to his batting statistics.
When a batsman gets out, his wicket is said to have fallen. The fielding team in this case is said to have taken a wicket. There are 10 different ways of getting out. They are:
- Caught - when the batsman hits the ball and the fielder catches it on the full. This is only excluded if the fielder catches the ball but touches or steps over the boundary. In this case 6 runs are scored and the batter is not out.
- Bowled - when the batsman misses the ball and it hits and breaks the wicket directly from the bowler’s delivery. This also applies to a ball that breaks the wicket after deflecting from the batsman’s bat or body. The batsman is not out if the wicket does not break.
- Leg Before Wicket - when the batsman misses the ball with his bat but intercepts it with part of his body when it would otherwise have hit the wicket. This decision is made by an umpire if the fielding team appeals the decision by asking loudly and enthusiastically “How’s that?” (or “Howzat?”).
- Stumped - when a batsman misses the ball and, in attempting to play it, steps outside his crease, and if the wicket-keeper gathers the ball and breaks the wicket with it before the batsman can ground part of his body or his bat behind his crease.
- Run Out - when a batsman is attempting to take a run or return to his crease after an aborted run, and a fielder breaks that batsman’s wicket with the ball while he is out of the crease.
- Hit Wicket - when a batsman touches or breaks the wicket while attempting to hit a ball or take a first run.
- Handle The Ball - when a batsman touches the ball with a hand not currently holding the bat, without the permission of the fielding side.
- Obstructing The Field - when a batsman deliberately interferes with the efforts of fielders to gather the ball or effect a run out.
- Hit The Ball Twice - when a batsman hits a delivery with his bat and then deliberately hits the ball again in an attempt to defend his wicket from being broken by the ball.
- Timed Out - when a new batsman takes longer than two minutes, from the time the previous wicket falls, to appear on the field.
Bowlers are credited with taking wickets whenever a batsman is out caught, bowled, LBW, stumped, or his wicket is hit. If a wicket falls by any other method, then a single individual is not credited with taking a wicket.
Cricket and Baseball are very similar yet so different. See our comparison chart for a better overview.
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