Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world. It can be hard to find a place to watch cricket, let alone how to play it. Luckily, you do not need any special equipment to start playing!
There are several different ways to learn how to play cricket. You can either teach yourself by watching games or buying an official game book with rules and strategies for every situation. Or, if you have a cricket club that teaches the game, they will usually provide beginner books with rules and tips.
The other way to learn cricket is from an experienced player or team member who does not require much more than their mouth to help you get started! Many people enjoy sharing knowledge about the sport so ask around to see if anyone would like to help you.
This article will go over some basic rules of the game to help you begin your journey as a cricket fan.
Know the rules
The basic game of cricket has some fundamental rules that you must know. These are what players refer to as the “fielding” or “rules” for the game, but beyond that there aren’t too many other things that require regulation outside of actual gameplay.
The most important rule is probably the one that says you can’t hit your own ball with the bat nor can you field it yourself unless you have it in your hand already. This is called a direct-ball incident and cannot be allowed.
There are three more major fielding rules that every player should be familiar with however. They go by the catchy names of offside, out and backstop. Offside happens when the fielder positions himself behind his forward line and starts running towards the next man up. When he gets there he turns around and tries to run past him, making a goal worth two points instead of just one.
That extra point comes from the fact that an offside position forces the batter to choose whether to try to score across their end of the pitch or play along the boundary. A successful shot usually results in a loss of momentum so most batsmen opt for the safer option and take a pass.
A back-foot throw is similar to diving except that it doesn’t count as long as you get both feet down before throwing.
Know the equipment
The next thing you will need is some type of cricket ball. There are five main types of balls used in cricket; six-ball, red-ball, white-ball, blue-ball, and green-ball. As mentioned before, use the same number for each ball to know what kind it is!
The size of the ball can make a difference how well your player is doing. A smaller (nippier) ball will have faster bounces and therefore more fun to watch, while a bigger (louder) ball will have longer runs and higher scoring opportunities.
Sixes or Six Balls – This is usually the regulation sized cricket ball that most people get. It has an airtight bladder inside which makes it feel solid even though there is empty space within. Most kids’s sizes are either 6 kg (13 lb.) or 5kg (11lb.). Make sure yours isn’t too big or too small!
Red Ball– These are slightly thicker than a normal cricket ball and typically weigh around 175 grams (5 oz.). They come with a seam like a standard cricket ball but bounce less and go much slower due to the extra thickness. Use this type of ball when playing quick games or time trials.
Know the positions on the field
Position is one of the most important concepts in cricket. A position refers to where a player or team can place someone during a game. There are five main position types, with some variations depending on what type of play you’re looking at.
The five major position types are as follows:
4. General players
5. Groomed surface
Fielder positions vary slightly from sport to sport, but there are always three key parts to identify when naming your positions: how tall they are, what area of the field they control, and whether they are close to the batsman/bowler (or the other fielder) so that they have ample room to run.
For example, if a bowler is running up to deliver a ball, a back-fielder could go for a high forward foot drop to stop him passing their side of the pitch, or a shorter leg bail to prevent a wide ball being hit. Or a short fine leg to catch any balls that might be hit towards it.
These are all examples of fielders who have adapted their role according to the situation! They have used their knowledge of the game to fill in gaps left by the batter or bowler.
Bowlers will sometimes change their grip or arm angle before delivery to try and trick the batsman into playing an incorrect shot.
Know the clock
The next important thing to know is how the cricket clock works. There are two main clocks in cricket. One is for time spent waiting for the field to be ready, and the other is time actually playing the game.
The first one, the fielding timeout, comes into play when there’s an interruption of the match such as if a player gets injured or the umpire calls for a replay due to a decision being made by the players or staff. This timer does not start until both teams have left the field, and it usually runs out at around 30-45 minutes depending on how long it took to get everything set up again.
The second one, the actual game, starts once the ball is bowled and goes down to the end of the innings. This can vary slightly from country to country but most countries use three hours as their cutoff time. If the score reaches that mark then the batting team will need to win the remaining games to level the contest, while the bowling team needs only to prevent them scoring more than this amount of time to win!
Something to keep in mind is that even if the game ends before the three hour limit, any extra time added onto the end of the match must either be won by the team which was leading, or carried over to the next day’s game.
When the ball is in play
The next thing you will be doing is when the ball is in play. When the cricket ball is moving, it is traveling at a very fast speed! This happens when the ball is hitting the bat, or going out of the field of play (hitting the ground).
When this happens, the batsman has two choices; he can either try to prevent the ball from reaching the boundary or he can run after the ball and pick it up. If he runs after the ball, then he must keep his foot outside the line where the goal-post is so that he does not go beyond it.
If a player cannot reach the ball before it bounces or rolls away, then they have no choice but to let it go because that would make their side win the game. However, if a player is able to catch the ball, they earn one more opportunity to hit the ball and influence the outcome of the match.
When the ball is not in play
After a bat or wicket has been removed, what happens next? The fielders shift into position for the next phase of the game!
The outfield players will move aside to make way for the pitch to drop as low as possible before the batter can run up to hit it. This process is called ground fielding.
Fielding the cricket ball after it has left the playing surface is referred to as catching it out of bounds. All fielders have different positions where they wait to catch the ball.
For example, some fields have short fine leg, long leg, square leg and back-field. A fielder with his foot at this position would be able to stop a batsman if he tried to run through there.
A number six usually waits behind the bowler’s arm just outside off so that he can get close to the stumps quickly if the bowler bowls one past them.
Diving for the ball
The second most embarrassing thing for an international cricket fan is seeing someone dive or jump off the side of the pitch to try and grab a bouncing ball. This is not only annoying, but can also be dangerous if it catches someone’s feet or body.
Luckily, there are some basic rules that almost every cricket player knows so this won’t happen too often. When you do see a player do something like this, make a note of what they did and learn from it!
There are two types of players who tend to do this – beginner cricketers and professional cricketers. Since professionals have been doing it for a long time, we will focus our attention on them.
As you may know, pro-level cricketers get paid very well because their teams hire them to play important matches. Therefore, they are always looking to win these games and take home a prize (like a t-shirt or bag full of toys!).
Their success comes down to several different factors, one of which is their knowledge of the game. They are usually trained in the sport as children and then continue to hone their skills as adults, so they feel comfortable with the laws and basics.
This article will go into more detail about how pros handle diving balls, along with some funny stories.
As we discussed before, there are three different types of boundaries in cricket. A batsman can be out if he is run out while batting or walking off his own side, a bowler can throw the ball past their line of action to hit the stumps, or they can pick up the ball after it has gone over the boundary and drop it where it bounces or rolls away from the goalpost.
In all these cases, the umpire will declare the player OUT! What makes this tricky is when a fielder goes beyond his boundary to try and catch the bouncing or rolling ball. These players are said to have ‘crossed’ the boundary and so the batter gets an extra chance to make a play.
This happens when the fielder runs across the pitch to do something else like take a quick step forward to grab the ball more quickly, or dive low to get to it earlier. This is called a leg-boundary crossing and is worth one run for the striker.
If you ever see a cross-field shot then ask yourself who would win? The batted-ball winner usually takes precedence but if the fielder was trying to stop the ball going into the fence or grass then the other team wins by one run.