Are you looking to learn how to play cricket? Cricket is one of those sports that boasts of a lot of fans, being second after football. Even though only a handful of nations around the world plays it, this sport is pretty exhilarating to get involved. It has grown in size and stature ever since starting in England back in the 16th century. Today, more and more players are entering into cricket with the game even penetrating less popular markets. However, it is easy to get confused with the sheer volume of things to remember.
How to play cricket? Cricket is a game where two opponents clash against each other to find out the team that manages the greatest number of runs. Each team has a turn at scoring runs with the other opposition trying to prevent the same. The team with the most runs ends up taking the victory.
A wide range of equipment is used in cricket for enhancing gameplay or protecting players. There are 11 cricketers on each side. Only two of them from the batting side are on the pitch at any given moment, but minor injuries for batsmen can allow the usage of a runner. Players can use a large amount of safety gear, but a majority happens to be used by a batsman. To protect them against the balls, which almost become missiles with its weight and speed, batsmen use helmets, leg pads, arm pads, and more. Over the years, safety in the sport has grown in leaps and bounds.
Cricket games are all about two teams fighting for success. A coin toss is performed before a match to decide the order of batting. After winning a toss, teams are free to choose between batting or bowling in the first innings. A team that bats must score as many runs as possible while trying to overcome attempts of the rival to take out ten wickets. Each innings lasts until the stipulated overs are bowled or when the batting team has lost 10 out of 11 wickets. The second innings is more of the same but with the teams taking the opposite roles.
This is the equipment used to score runs. There are strict cricket rules regarding the dimensions of a bat. It should not be more than 38 inches in length, 4.25 inches in width, and 2.64 inches in depth. It should also be not lighter than 1 kg and under 2.5 kg. A key aspect that separates a baseball bat from a cricket bat is these dimensions. Baseball bats are round and narrow, while cricket ones — flat and wide. A cylindrical handle is also provided for grip on cricket bats.
An iconic aspect of cricket sport would be the balls, which are quite expressive with intense red color. There are certain situations when a white ball can be used, and this is predominantly followed when playing under floodlights. This is due to the better visibility offered by white balls. They are instantly recognizable as cricket balls due to a seam pattern that runs across. The stitching also gives the characteristic swing and bounce associated with the game as a whole. The ball should weigh 160 g. Since these are quite heavy, it is necessary to use plenty of safety equipment when using them.
Stumps are a crucial part of the game since they are used to determine a player’s time on the pitch. Three wooden sticks are hit into the ground, and two bails are used to connect these three sticks. The bails are not attached to the stumps but are merely resting. The combined arrangement is referred to as the wicket. There are two wickets on the pitch, which are located either side of each other. The bail’s nature is to fall down upon impact – either by the ball or the cricket bat. The height of the stumps should not be more than 28 inches, while the width should be 9 inches.
A cricket ground is a distinctive element of this sport. There is an iconic ground shape associated with cricket, but plenty of round ones do exist. It is approximately 500 feet in diameter, although there could be smaller ones. Cricket does not have any official that is used to determine field shape. This brings about the element of uncertainty and surprise when moving from one ground to another. Shorter grounds make it easy for players to get boundaries, whereas longer ones can be difficult, although this disadvantage is offset by altitude in locations like South Africa.
Cricket, though, is very strict when it comes to pitching dimensions. Apart from being rectangular, the length of a cricket pitch should also be 22 yards and 10 feet in width. There are batting creases at either end, and these are marked 1.22 m from the stumps. Game patterns can be decided based on pitch surface; a hard and dry one is better for fast bowlers, whereas some are ideal for batsmen precisely.
There are multiple ways through which a batsman can lose the opportunity to remain on the pitch. Once a player is dismissed, credit would go to the bowler in the form of a ‘wicket.’ The different ways to get a player out are listed below.
A batsman is deemed out when a ball hits the stumps – irrespective of whether a batsman was able to make contact with the ball. However, a ball cannot touch other players or the umpire before it touches stumps.
This form of a wicket falling involves the umpire’s decision. If the body of a player – especially a leg, given its importance in playing a stroke – obstructs a ball’s path towards the stumps, it is deemed to be an LBW. In modern times, an umpire can call upon video replays to make a decision.
A batsman’s time at the crease comes to an end when a shot is caught directly – without touching the ground – by a member of the fielding team. A batsman is deemed out even if a rival player catches a ball that touched the batsman’s hand/glove.
This wicket type is claimed when two batsmen are trying to complete runs or if a batsman is caught out of his crease. Any field player has the potential to create a run out, and it is not restricted to a bowler or wicket-keeper alone.
A wicket-keeper comes into play for this method. A batsman loses his wicket if a wicket-keeper manages to put down his stumps when he has stepped out of his crease. This is applicable only when a ball has been played.
One of the ways to be out in cricket is when a batsman hits their own stumps. This occurs inadvertently when a batsman is trying to make contact with the ball. Such an occurrence is deemed valid even when the batsman begins a first run.
Each team gets one opportunity to score runs, and they have just two batsmen on the pitch at any given moment. They are protecting stumps located on both sides and can score either with or without a bat. Below are the ways to score runs:
Scoring with a bat is clearly a primary source of runs in cricket. Batsmen face six balls each over, and they are required to hit using bats, which are also handy to protect the stumps. Once a batsman connects with a ball using his bat, they can run between the stumps – with a batsman from the other end running in the opposite direction – to score runs. A batsman can score more runs when they can get this ball over the boundary line. If the ball flies over the boundary line without touching the ground, a player gets six runs. They are rewarded with four runs if the ball touches the ground before crossing the boundary line.
A batsman can end up scoring even without any contact between bat and ball. However, these are seen as special scenarios, and they do not contribute a significant chunk to a team’s overall tally of runs. A wide and no-ball are given penalties of one run. Batsmen can take advantage of both penalties by connecting with their bat to score over and above the solitary run. Batsmen are also given byes when the ball enters into the field without being touched by the bat. If a batsman’s body touches the ball, it is viewed as leg-byes.
Every team hopes to comply with the basic outline. It is all about scoring more than the opposition in the prescribed period of this game and end up successful. The growth of new formats has led to cricket becoming more exciting to watch and bet on. It has also become tough with teams relying on technology to get the better of opposition. It can be a complicated challenge to focus on all three versions of the game, each with its own challenges to win. Test games are about lasting through several variables over five days, ODIs are about strength and endurance in 50 overs, while the goal of T20 is to hit more boundaries.
A large number of variables makes it very hard to understand the rules of cricket in one glance. However, there is no mistake that this sport continues to be highly regularised. Although it has been around since the 16th century, it has been kept modern with a great deal of influence from technology. Several cricket rules apply to different stages of the game. Apart from the scoring and dismissal basics explained above, there are also factors to consider like bowling and fielding. A strict set of rules also controls these.