Early in the 20th century, international cricket was dominated by the founding members of the Imperial Cricket Conference: England, Australia, and South Africa.
Later renamed the International Cricket Conference and then the International Cricket Council, the ICC progressively assumed more administrative responsibilities and transferred its power base eastward.
In 2005, when the ICC transferred its headquarters from Lord’s in London to Dubai, the transition away from the old methods of governance was complete. Lord’s was the home of the MCC, the game’s original rulers and current legislators.
The game’s priorities also changed. Only Australia and England played Test cricket to packed stadiums at the turn of the 21st century.
Everywhere else, especially in India and Pakistan, large audiences attended limited-overs internationals.
Test cricket became almost irrelevant. Although the MCC retains the authority to alter the rules of the game, the ICC has developed a Code of Conduct for players, officials, and administrators that outlines disciplinary procedures and safeguards the essence of the game.
It also organized significant international competitions, such as the one-day and Twenty20 World Cups, as well as the Champions Trophy.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) established the Anti-Corruption Unit in 2000 (renamed the Anti-Corruption Unit and Security Unit in 2003) to combat the expanding menace of illegal gambling and match fixing.
The ICC had ten full members and dozens of associate and affiliate members at the start of the 2010s.
Australia, one of the ICC’s founding members, remains one of its most dominant entities both on and off the field.
The introduction of cricket to Australia by the personnel of a British ship in 1803 marks the beginning of the sport’s history there.
Victoria and Tasmania played the first intercolonial match in 1851, and by the end of the 19th century, English teams were routinely touring Australia.
Australia and England played the first official Test match in Melbourne in 1877, initiating the oldest rivalry in international cricket, which became known as The Ashes.
Cricket is practiced throughout Australia, and matches at every level are fiercely competitive. All the great Australian players, from Sir Don Bradman to Shane Warne, honed their abilities in club cricket before moving on to the state and national teams, and the Australian style of cricket is characterized by aggression with bat, ball, and voice in an effort to intimidate opponents.
Australia dominated international cricket in the 21st century, winning three consecutive one-day World Cups (1999–2007) and achieving two separate streaks of 16 consecutive Test victories (1999–2001 and 2005–2008).
In 2005, England celebrated its first Test victory over Australia since 1987 with an open-top bus journey through London.
In June of 2000, Bangladesh became the tenth nation to be granted Test status. It played its first Test match against India in Dhaka in November of that year.
Bangladesh’s Tigers struggled to perform at the topmost level, winning only three of their first 68 Test matches.
However, Bangladesh has defeated the nine nations that preceded it to Test status in one-day matches, a feat that culminated in 2010 with a win over England in Bristol.
1979 marked Bangladesh’s debut in an international competition when it participated in the ICC Trophy competition for associate members in England.
Bangladesh qualified for the 1999 World Cup by defeating Pakistan in the group stage and capturing the trophy in 1997.
In 2000–01, a domestic first-class tournament featuring six regional teams was established. Since Bangladesh was granted Test status, cricket has arguably become the country’s most popular sport.
In every corner of India, cricket is played on city streets, in village fields, and on maidans, which are open playing fields, the largest of which (such as the Azad, Cross, and Oval maidans in South Mumbai) can accommodate dozens of simultaneous matches.
Indian batsmen, including Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, have been among the most productive and elegant in cricket’s history.
The subcontinent’s arid, level pitches have historically produced world-class spin bowlers.
The pastime originated in India during the 18th century. In January 1893, a touring squad captained by the English gentleman cricketer Lord Hawke competed against the “All India” team.
India played its first Test in 1932 and defeated England in Madras (now Chennai) 20 years later for its first Test victory.
However, the game developed so rapidly in India that by the end of the 20th century, India was one of the leading cricketing nations in the globe.
With the expansion of the Indian Premier League in the early 21st century, India became the undisputed home of Twenty20 cricket and the financial center of the international game, despite the significant decline in Test cricket’s prominence in India.
India’s dominance in one-day cricket was reinforced by its 2011 Cricket World Cup victory.
Cricket has always been a distant second to rugby in New Zealanders’ sporting preferences, but, as in Australia, the sport has a robust national structure in New Zealand.
There is evidence that unofficial matches between provinces were played in New Zealand decades before the first official interprovincial match, which took place between Auckland and Wellington in 1860. However, the lengthy history of domestic cricket in New Zealand is commonly ascribed to the first representative interprovincial match between Auckland and Wellington in 1860.
The New Zealand Cricket Council was established in 1894 and granted full membership in the ICC in 1926. New Zealand has always struggled to contend with England and Australia in Test cricket due to its limited pool of players.
As in the majority of cricketing nations, the one-day game is more prevalent in New Zealand. Richard Hadlee, who was knighted in 1990, is one of the finest cricket players of all time.
The evolution of cricket in Pakistan has been roughly equal parts chaotic, eccentric, and exotic.
Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup under the leadership of Imran Khan, but its cricket was frequently marred by political interference and scandal.
A low point was reached in 2010: To begin with, the national team was in virtual exile, unable to persuade other countries to play in Pakistan for fear of terrorist attacks in the wake of an attack on a visiting Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, which left six policemen dead and several players injured.
In addition, three members of the Pakistani team touring England were accused of “spot fixing”—that is, altering the results of certain bowls in exchange for money—and were consequently prohibited by the ICC.
Predicting the outcomes of individual bowls could generate enormous profits on illicit Asian wagering markets.
A few years earlier, a number of Pakistani players were also prohibited as a consequence of match-fixing investigations.
Pakistan has produced a number of accomplished cricketers, including Khan, Wasim Akram, Abdul Qadir, and Inzamam-ul-Haq, and has demonstrated its proficiency in Twenty20 cricket by winning the 2009 T20 World Cup.
In 1889, South Africa played its first Test against England in Port Elizabeth. Since then, cricket has been at the center of the country’s sporting culture.
When South Africa was banned from the ICC from 1970 to 1991 due to its apartheid policies, cricket administrators worked in the background to integrate nonwhite players into the system, which was primarily founded on traditional all-white schools and state teams.
When apartheid was abolished, cricket was far better prepared than rugby union to adapt to the social and political changes.
Makhaya Ntini, a world-class fast bowler who made his international debut for South Africa in 1998 and appeared in more than one hundred Tests, served as a role model for the next generation of black cricketers.
Hansie Cronje, the captain of South Africa, was banished for match manipulation in a scandal that questioned the integrity of South African cricket in the year 2000.
Not until 2003, when South Africa successfully hosted the World Cup, was the country’s cricketing reputation fully restored.
South Africa has historically been a major exporter of cricket players, primarily to England. Allan Lamb and Robin Smith were notable members of the England team during the 1980s and 1990s, whereas Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott were integral members of the 2010 Ashes-winning squad.
Even before Sri Lanka was granted Test status in 1981, the island nation was a popular touring destination, particularly for English teams en route to Australia.
Given the disadvantages of its relatively small population and the three-decade civil war that disrupted life on the island, Sri Lanka’s rapid ascent to the top of the cricketing world is surprising.
Under the inspired leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka defeated Australia in the 1996 World Cup final by playing aggressive and innovative cricket.
The victory boosted the confidence of a new generation of players, including Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, a refined and aggressive batsman, and Muttiah Muralitharan, who in 2010 became the first bowler to capture 800 Test wickets.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami decimated the cricket-playing regions of southern Sri Lanka, including the Galle Test match venue, and claimed the lives of a number of prospective young players.
Despite this, Sri Lanka rebounded to return to the World Cup final in 2007. In 2009, disaster struck again when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team transport on the way to the second Test against Pakistan in Lahore.
Since the West Indies became the fourth Test-playing side in 1928, cricket has been a unifying force in the Caribbean.
As independent nations, the islands have typically participated in other sports, but British colonial influence contributed to the establishment of a unified regional team.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the West Indies were virtually unassailable when their team featured four fast bowlers, commanded by Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, and Joel Garner, and batsmen with the destructive capacity of Sir Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd.
The batsmanship of Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Chris Richards, and Brian Lara exemplifies the unorthodox style of play that has always characterized Caribbean cricket, which has benefited from an abundance of talented players and genuine wickets.
In the 21st century, cricket’s popularity declined in the West Indies due to a lack of effective administrative leadership and the rising prevalence of potentially more lucrative sports such as track and field, football (soccer), and basketball.
After playing in the finals of the first three World Cups (1975, 1979, and 1983) and winning the first two, the West Indian team has failed to reach the elimination stage in subsequent World Cups, with the exception of 1996. This includes the 2007 tournament, which was hosted by the West Indies.
Prior to 1992, when Zimbabwe was accorded Test status, the country’s finest cricketers, including Colin Bland, played for South Africa.
In fact, the histories of cricket in the two countries are inextricably intertwined. Long before newly independent and renamed Zimbabwe became an associate member of the ICC in 1980, teams representing its Rhodesian predecessor states had competed in the Currie Cup, the South African domestic first-class tournament (in 1904–05, the early 1930s, and again after World War II).
In its first World Cup appearance in 1983, Zimbabwe stunned the world by defeating Australia. However, Zimbabwe’s greatest batsman, Graeme Hick, departed shortly thereafter to play for England.
The early 21st century in Zimbabwean cricket has been marked by dysfunctional administration and political interference.
Heath Streak was dismissed as captain of the national team in 2004, precipitating a crisis from which it took Zimbabwe years to recover, including a six-year exile from Test cricket that ended in 2011.
The situation was largely a result of the country’s political instability during this period. For example, England forfeited its match in Zimbabwe during the 2003 World Cup due to security concerns.
Two Zimbabwean players, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, donned black armbands during the same tournament to “mourn the death of democracy” in their country.
Australia and England played the first Test match between two national teams in Melbourne in 1877, with Australia prevailing.
When Australia triumphed again at the Oval in Kennington, London, in 1882, the Sporting Times published an obituary announcing that English cricket would be cremated and the ashes would be transported to Australia, thereby establishing the “play for the Ashes.”
The Ashes, preserved in an urn at Lord’s regardless of which country wins, are believed to be those of a bail incinerated during England’s 1882–83 tour of Australia. Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century, the two nations met annually.
With Victorian England’s finest cricketer, W.G. Grace, on its side, England was often too powerful for Australia, despite the fact that Australia had the greatest bowler of the era, F.R. Spofforth, and the first of the great wicketkeepers, J.McC. Blackham.
In 1907, South Africa played its first Test matches in England and also faced Australia, whose dominance between the two World Wars was exemplified by Sir Don Bradman’s prodigious run scoring.
With the addition of the West Indies in 1928, New Zealand in 1930, and India in 1932, this period witnessed a notable increase in the number of Test match countries.
Due to the use of “bodyline” bowling tactics, in which the ball was delivered close to or at the batsman, the visit of the English team to Australia in 1932–1933 severely strained relations between the two countries.
This strategy was devised by the English captain, D.R. Jardine, and consisted of fast, short-pitched deliveries bowled to the batsman’s body so that the batter would be struck on the upper body or head or, alternatively, would be caught out by a fielder on the leg side (the side behind the striker when batting).
The strategy was devised to limit Bradman’s scoring, but it resulted in numerous severe injuries to the Australian team.
The Australians viewed the practice as unsportsmanlike and protested vehemently. The series was completed (with England prevailing 3–1), but it left Australia with acrimonious feelings for some time. Bodyline bowling was outlawed shortly after the conclusion of the series.
After World War II, England hosted Test matches every summer, with Australia being the most frequent visitor, and Pakistan was added to the Test rankings in 1952.
There was a constant increase in the number of excursions between Test-playing nations, such that the next 500 Tests were played in only 23 years, whereas the first 500 were played over 84.
Sri Lanka became the eighth Test-playing nation in 1982, during an era dominated by the West Indies, whose formidable attack was based on four fast bowlers for the first time in cricket history. Zimbabwe became a Test nation in 1992, and Bangladesh did so in 2000.
In 1972, one-day internationals were introduced in response to complaints that Test matches lasted too long. In 1975, England hosted the first World Cup, a series of one-day matches with 60 overs per side (the number of overs was reduced to 50 in 1987).
The event was a tremendous success and was repeated every four years. In 1987, it was first contested outside of England, in India and Pakistan.
Since the late 1960s, Test cricket has been plagued by numerous crises. In 1969–1970, a South African tour of England was canceled due to opposition to apartheid in South Africa. Threats of violence, property destruction, and play disruption were made.
Kerry Packer, an Australian television network executive, engaged many of the world’s best players for a series of private contests between 1977 and 1979, posing a further threat to Test cricket.
After legal action in England, retaliatory measures against the athletes were overturned. The participants returned, but commercialization had seized control of the game. In 1982, 12 first-class English players were suspended from Test cricket for three years after agreeing to participate in a commercially sponsored South African tour that paid up to £50,000 per player in violation of official guidelines.
Cricketers from Sri Lanka and the West Indies also toured South Africa and were subjected to harsher sanctions, while the employment of English professionals as players and coaches in South Africa posed a threat of a serious rift between the Test-playing nations that was only resolved by the abolition of apartheid.
Test cricket was again shaken by a match-fixing scandal that began in 1999. In the early days of cricket, wagering on games was prevalent in England, but many Test nations have since outlawed such activities.
In India and Pakistan, where cricket wagering was legal, bookmakers and betting syndicates reportedly instructed international cricket players to perform poorly in exchange for money.
This scandal tainted members of the Australian, South African, Indian, and Pakistani national teams; several players were suspended from cricket for life; and the game’s integrity was brought into question.
The advent of Twenty20 cricket (T20) and the phenomenal success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the first decade of the 21st century ushered in an era of significant invention in the sport.
The new, shortened version of the game favored batting by limiting the positioning of fielders and shortening the boundaries.
To counter batsmen with hefty shafts who scored freely, bowlers began to perfect a wide variety of balls (deliveries).
Disguise became an indispensable component of the bowler’s arsenal. Slow spin-bowling, which forces the batsman to generate “pace” (i.e., the majority of the force required to propel the batted ball, whereas rapid bowling contributes more force to the batsman’s swing), proved to be a surprisingly effective weapon.
The reverse sweep, in which a right-handed batsman changes hands mid-delivery to swing at the ball like a left-handed batsman (or a left-handed batsman swings like a right-handed batsman), became a common stroke for batsmen in Twenty20 cricket.
The sweep, a shot played almost vertically over the wicketkeeper’s head, was also utilized by batters.
Test cricket also benefited from these new techniques and the new era of creativity, especially with the introduction of the doosra, a delivery that appears to be an off-spinner but actually rotates away from the right-handed batsman like a leg-spinner.
Developed by Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and named after an Urdu phrase meaning “the other one,” the ball was perfected by Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Cricket followed other sports in its use of video technology to make on-field decisions. Upon its initial implementation in 1992, only line decisions, such as run outs, were referred to a third umpire off the field.
In a series between India and Sri Lanka in 2008, a novel referral system that allowed players to appeal any on-field decision to the third umpire made its international debut (it had been tested in English county cricket in 2007).
Each team now receives two referrals per inning, as opposed to three when the system was first implemented. Referrals that result in an umpire overturning an initial decision are not tallied towards this total.
The system was intended to eliminate an umpire’s innocent but evident error, and it has been met with greater enthusiasm by participants than by umpires.
In England, women first played cricket in the 18th century. The first club, White Heather, was founded in 1887 and lasted until 1957. In 1890, there were two professional teams collectively known as the Original English Lady Cricketers.
Women’s Cricket Association was founded in 1926, and it sent a team to Australia and New Zealand in 1934–35.
Australia returned in 1937, and since World War II, the number of excursions has increased. Australia, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and South Africa founded the International Women’s Cricket Council in 1958; subsequently, India, Denmark, and several West Indian nations joined.
Two years before men’s cricket, a World Cup was established in 1973, and England and Australia played their first women’s matches at Lord’s in 1976.
Play of the game
Field of Play, Equipment, and Dress
Village greens and tiny meadows range in size from the primary playing area at Lord’s in London (5.5 acres [2.2 hectares]) to the even larger Melbourne Cricket Ground (which is even larger).
The ideal surface is level grass with a fine texture, but if this is unavailable, any artificial surface may be used, such as coir (fibre) matting or artificial turf on a firm base. Typically, a boundary line or barrier delineates the limits of the sporting field.
A wicket consists of three stumps or stakes, each 28 inches (71.1 centimeters) tall and of equal thickness (approximately 1.25 inches in diameter), planted in the earth and spaced so that the ball cannot travel between them.
Two 4.37-inch (11.1-centimeter) long sections of timber called bails rest in grooves on the summits of the stumps. The bails extend no further than the stems and project no more than half an inch above them.
The width of the entire wicket is 9 inches (22.86 centimeters). There are two wickets, which a batsman defends and a bowler attacks, and they are roughly in the middle of the field, confronting each other at opposite ends of the pitch.
The creases at each wicket are denoted by lines of whitewash: the bowling crease is a line drawn through the base of the stumps and extending 4.33 feet (1.32 metres) on either side of the centre stump; the return crease is a line at each end and at right angles to the bowling crease, extending behind the wicket; and the popping crease is a line parallel with the bowling crease and 4 feet in front of the wicket.
The bowling and return creases denote the area in which the bowler’s back foot must be planted when delivering the ball; the popping crease, 62 feet (18.9 meters) from the opposing bowling crease, denotes the batsman’s ground.
When a batsman is sprinting between wickets, the crease represents the area in which he is “safe” (in baseball parlance), and only a cricketer’s bat need be in the crease; thus, a batsman will often position just the tip of the bat over the line of the crease before racing for the opposite wicket.
The paddle-shaped bat’s blade is made of willow and cannot exceed 4.25 inches (10.8 centimeters) in width.
The maximum length of a baseball bat, including the grip, is 38 inches (96.5 centimeters). The ball, which has a cork interior wrapped in string, was traditionally encapsulated in red leather, but white leather is now commonly used, particularly for night games.
The halves of the ball are stitched together with a raised seam (similar to the equator on a globe, as opposed to the curved seam on a baseball or tennis ball).
It must be slightly smaller, stiffer, and heavier than a baseball, with a circumference between 8.8 and 9 inches (22.4 and 22.9 centimeters) and a weight between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (156 and 163 grams).
In the early days of cricket, it was common to use the same ball for the duration of a match, allowing for surfaces with greater swerve and movement as the game progressed.
Even in modern times, a cricket ball can remain in action for an entire day of a match, and as it becomes more worn, it becomes increasingly difficult to strike.
As men’s fashion has evolved, so has cricket attire. In the eighteenth century, cricketers donned tricorne caps, knee breeches, silk hosiery, and buckled shoes.
In the 18th century, more colorful attire was prevalent on the field, and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the uniform long associated with cricket emerged: white flannel breeches with a white shirt and V-necked sweater, the sweater frequently decorated in club colors.
A variety of hat styles, including top hats and straw crowns, have been worn by players, but in the 1880s, the variegated cap became the norm.
In the 1880s, white buckskin shoes became popular among males, and batsmen adopted the white shoes (also known as boots) that are traditionally worn with flannels.
In a departure from tradition, participants in the late 20th century began to don brightly colored uniforms to distinguish between teams on the field. In the 21st century, the most common attire for cricket was a short- or long-sleeved polo shirt with corresponding pants and spiked cleats for traction.
In response to the introduction of rapid bowling, cricketers embraced protective attire. The batter wears white pads (leg guards), an abdominal protector, and batting mitts to safeguard his fingertips. Batsmen may also wear helmets and other protective equipment. The wicketkeeper additionally employs padding and reinforced gauntlets, whereas the other fielders do not.
Rules of the Game
One participant on each team serves as commander. Two umpires, one standing behind the bowler’s wicket and the other at square leg approximately 15 yards from the batsman’s popping crease (see figure), regulate the game according to the rules, while two assessors keep track of the game’s progress. The objective of the game is to score more runs than your opponent.
At the beginning of a match, the captain who wins the coin toss determines which team will bat first, i.e., proceed successively as batsmen, the first two as a pair, to the wicket and attempt to score as many runs as possible against their opponents’ bowling and fielding.
There are three ways to end an innings:
- when 10 batsmen have been dismissed (the remaining batsman, having no partner, is declared “not out”);
- when the captain of the batting side declares his innings closed before all 10 batsmen are out (a captain may decide to declare if his team has a large lead in runs and he fears that the innings will continue so long that the opposing team will not have time to bat and the game will end early); and
- when the innings is declared over Results are recorded by the margin of runs or, if the team batting last surpasses the opposing team’s total before all of their batsmen have been dismissed, by the number of their wickets (i.e., batsmen still not out).
The winner of a match is determined either by the number of runs scored in one innings by each team (typically for one-day matches) or by the total number of runs scored by each team in two innings. The majority of club, school, and village matches are played on a single day.
The team that is not batting takes positions on the field. One man is the bowler (similar to a baseball pitcher), another is the wicketkeeper (similar to a baseball catcher), and the remaining nine are positioned as directed by the commander or bowler (see diagram).
The first batsman (the aggressor) protects his wicket by standing at least one foot back from the rising crease. His companion (the non-striker) waits at the bowler’s end behind the rising crease. The bowler attempts to strike the batsman’s wicket or otherwise dispatch him.
The batsman attempts to prevent the bowler from striking the wicket, while also attempting to strike the ball hard enough to score a run, i.e., enable him to run to the opposite end of the pitch before any fielder can take up the ball and throw it to either wicket to remove the bails.
The batsman is dismissed if the wicket is shattered by a hurled ball, the wicketkeeper, or a bowler with the ball in hand before either batsman has reached his ground.
The striker is not required to run after striking the ball, and it does not matter if he misses or is struck by the ball.
However, if he receives a solid shot and believes he can score a run, he dashes toward the opposite wicket while his partner runs toward him.
When each player has made good his ground by striking his bat beyond the popping crease at the opposite end, one run is recorded to the striker; if there is time, each player will run back for additional runs, crossing again.
If an even number of runs are scored, the striker will receive the next ball. If an odd number of runs are scored, the nonstriker will move to the wicket opposite the bowler and confront the next ball. Any runs scored in this manner are credited to the batter, as opposed to extras.
When a struck ball or any of the below-mentioned extras reaches the boundary, the pursuers stop and four runs are scored. If the batter strikes the ball on the full over the boundary, he scores six runs.
Only runs scored from the bat contribute to the batsman, but the following additional may be added to the team’s score:
- byes (when a ball from the bowler passes the wicket without being touched by the bat and the batsmen are able to make good a run);
- leg byes (when in similar circumstances the ball has touched any part of the batsman’s body except his hand);
- wides (when a ball passes out of the striker’s reach);
- no balls (improperly bowled balls; for a fair delivery the ball must be bowled, not thrown,
An over is complete when a bowler has delivered six (occasionally eight) deliveries, excluding wides and no balls.
The batsmen remain where they are, and a new over begins with a different bowler at the opposite wicket, with the field positions correspondingly adjusted.
A bowler has completed a maiden over if he bowls an entire over without allowing a run to be scored from the bat (though the opposition may have scored additional runs via byes or leg byes). No bowler is permitted to bowl more than 10 overs in a 50-over match in one-day cricket.
Methods of Dismissal
It is vital to understand that, unlike baseball, a batsman does not have to strike the ball bowled at him in order to keep his at bat.
Furthermore, if the batsman hits the ball and, in his opinion, is unable to reach the other wicket before a fieldsman can handle the ball, he may remain at his wicket without punishment.
The batsman’s primary responsibility is to defend the wicket, not to strike or score runs. That being stated, there are ten ways a batsman or striker might be dismissed (put out), ordered from most common to least common:
- A batsman is “caught out” when a ball struck by him is captured before it reaches the ground.
- He is “bowled out” if the bowler breaks the wicket, i.e., the ball dislodges a bail, which includes when the batsman smashes the ball into his own wicket.
- The batsman is out “leg before wicket” (lbw) if he intercepts a ball with any part of his body (except his hand) that is in line between the wickets and that has or would have pitched (hit the ground) in a straight line between the wickets or on the off side provided the ball would have hit the wicket. If the batsman intercepts the ball outside the off-side stump and makes no real attempt to play the ball with his bat, he is out lbw.
- Either batsman is out by a “run out” if his wicket is broken while he is out of his ground (that is, he does not have at least his bat in the crease) while the ball is in play. If the batters have passed each other, the batsman going towards the broken wicket is out; if they have not crossed, the batsman sprinting away from the broken wicket is out.
- He is “stumped” if, while playing a stroke, he is outside the popping crease (out of his ground) and the wicket is broken with the ball in hand by the wicketkeeper.
- A batsman is out “hit wicket” if he breaks his own wicket with his bat or any part of his body while playing the ball or attempting to run.
- Either batsman is out for touching the ball if he knowingly touches the ball while it is in play with a hand that is not holding the bat, unless the other side consents.
- A batsman is out if he strikes the ball after it has been struck or stopped by any part of his body, save in defense of his wicket.
- Either batter is out if he intentionally obstructs the opposing side by speech or action.
- An entering batter gets “timed out” if he takes more than two minutes to enter the field.
A batsman is not pronounced out until the fielding side has appealed to an umpire and that umpire has declared the player out, regardless of the method of removal.
When a play happens in which the batter may be out, a fielder will ask the umpire, “How was that?” (pronounced “Howzat?”).
The umpire will then rule on the play. (However, if a player knows he has been out, he may proclaim himself out.) No matter how a player is removed, whether by leg before wicket or timed out, the batting side is considered to have “lost a wicket.”
Strategy and Technique
The field’s configuration will vary greatly depending on the bowler’s or batsman’s technique, the pitch’s condition, the situation of the game, and the captain’s strategies.
He may arrange his fieldmen how he sees fit, and he may change their positions after each ball if he so desires.
There are no foul lines in cricket, therefore every hit is a fair ball. The fielding side captain’s aims are as follows:
(1) to position his men in situations where the batsman may provide a catch, i.e., hit a drive or a fly ball to a fielder; and
(2) to save runs, i.e., to impede the path of the ball from the batter’s scoring strokes (intercept or trap grounders).
The tactical options for a captain in guiding his bowlers, fielders, and batsmen are numerous and one of the game’s attractions. However, there are several constraints on fielder positioning in one-day cricket.
Because a team must have two bowlers and a wicketkeeper, only nine other slots may be filled at the same time.
In respect to the batter’s stance, the field is split lengthwise into off and on, or leg, sides, depending on whether he bats right-handed or left-handed; the off side is the side facing the batsman, and the on, or leg, side is the side behind him as he stands to receive the ball.
At the end of each over, the fielders will rearrange themselves and modify the field for a left- or right-handed hitter.
To summarize, the bowler’s first goal is to get the batsman out and only secondly to prevent him from scoring runs, however in limited-overs cricket, these goals have tended to be flipped.
The batsman’s goal is to first safeguard his wicket and then produce runs, because only runs can win a match.
Each fielder’s goal is to first remove the batters and then to prevent the striker from making runs.
Bowling may be done with either the right or left arm. The ball must be pushed, generally overhand, without bending the elbow for a fair delivery.
The bowler may run any number of paces as part of his delivery (with the caveat that he not breach the popping crease).
The ball usually touches the ground (the pitch) before reaching the hitter, but this is not always the case. The ability to pitch (bounce) the ball on a particular position, generally at or slightly in front of the batsman’s feet, is the first need of a good bowler.
The placement changes depending on the bowler’s pace, the state of the pitch, and the batsman’s reach and skill.
The second requirement is command of the situation. On this foundation, a bowler can add variations such as finger spin (in which the ball rotates on its axis as it moves towards the batsman), swerve (which describes a ball that curves towards or away from the batsman after it has bounced on the pitch), and alteration of pace (the speed of the ball) to add deception and uncertainty as to where and how it will pitch.
A good-length ball is one that makes the batter unsure whether to move forward or back to play his stroke.
A half volley is a ball that is pitched so high to the batsman that he may drive it fractionally after it has reached the ground without moving forward.
A yorker is a pitch thrown on or inside the popping crease. A complete pitch is a ball that can be reached by the batters before it touches the ground. A long hop is a short-length ball.
The fundamental goal of spin is to send the ball up off the pitch at an angle that the batter cannot predict.
The “inswinger,” which travels in the air from off to leg (into the batter), and the “away swinger,” or “outswinger,” which swerves from leg to off (away from the batsman), are the two swerves (curves).
A “googly” (a term invented by cricketer B.J.T. Bosanquet on the 1903-04 MCC tour) is a ball bowled with fingerspin that breaks abruptly in the opposite direction expected by the batter given the bowler’s motion.
The reverse swing is a relatively contemporary bowling variant. Pakistani bowlers, notably Wasim Akram and Waqar Younnus, pioneered this delivery.
If a bowler can deliver at speeds faster than 85 mph (135 kph), he can accomplish reverse swing, which means he can cause the ball to swing (curve) in either direction without changing his grip or delivery action.
This makes predicting the path of the ball difficult for the batsman because nothing about the bowler’s action differs between the swing and reverse swing deliveries.
This delivery is currently used by bowlers all over the world, particularly near the end of innings when batsmen try to control the bowling.
If a bowler lacks the velocity (speed) to produce the reverse swing, tampering with the surface of the ball (by scratching or scuffing it) is another approach to get the ball to move in that manner. Charges of ball tampering skyrocketed in the 1990s.
A batsman may hit right-handed or left-handed. Good batting is based on a straight (i.e., vertical) bat with its full face presented to the ball, although a cross (i.e., horizontal) bat can be used effectively to deal with short bowling.
The chief strokes are: forward stroke, in which the batsman advances his front leg to the pitch (direction) of the ball and plays it in front of the wicket (if played with aggressive intent, this stroke becomes the drive); back stroke, in which the batsman moves his rear leg back before playing the ball; leg glance (or glide), in which the ball is deflected behind the wicket on the leg side; cut, in which the batsman hits a ball on the uprise (after it has hit the ground on the off side), square with or behind the wicket; and pull or hook, in which the batsman hits a ball on the uprise through the leg side.
A fast runner with quick responses and the ability to throw swiftly and accurately is the perfect fielder.
He should be able to anticipate the batsman’s strokes, move fast to cut off the ball in its path, and evaluate the ball’s flight in the air to make a safe catch.
The wicketkeeper is an indispensable element of the fielding team. He positions himself behind the batter’s wicket, 10 to 20 yards back for rapid bowlers and directly behind for slower bowlers.
He must be prepared to stop a ball that past the wicket, to run out the batter if he departs his crease, or to receive a ball returned to him by a fielder.