A Beginners Guide to Cricket

Updated on August 13, 2019
JKenny profile image

James has been an online writer for over seven years. His articles often focus on wildlife, but he is also a diehard Scottish football fan.

A classic Cricket scene displayed here in the form of a Test Match between England and South Africa.
A classic Cricket scene displayed here in the form of a Test Match between England and South Africa. | Source

The Basics

Cricket is a bat and ball sport played between two teams of 11 players. The bat itself is wooden, long and rectangular. The ball is usually red and made of leather, cork and string.

The game is played on a large oval field, with a smaller inner oval used as a guide for placement of the fielders, and a 22 yard pitch in the centre. At each end of the pitch are a set of wickets—three long, wooden stumps set into the ground with two wooden bails resting on top.

The game is broken up into separate events known as balls, or deliveries of the ball by a bowler to the batsman. Six balls/deliveries constitute a single over, and each team’s innings is limited to a number of overs, depending on which form the game is being played. The T20 version is limited to just 20 overs, the One Day version is limited 50 overs and the Test or First Class version (the original version) is time limited to a certain number of days, usually five.

Two batsmen must be on the field in order for the innings to continue, whilst at the same time all 11 players of the bowling team field at various parts of the ground, with the exception of the bowler and wicketkeeper.

Overseeing the game are two on-field umpires. They make all of the decisions on the field in regards to the rules of the game. There is also a Third or TV umpire, who has the final say on any decision referred to him by either of the on-field umpires.

A diagram of the typical layout of a Cricket pitch.
A diagram of the typical layout of a Cricket pitch. | Source
A diagram of the fielding positions on a Cricket field, as would be seen by a right handed batsman.
A diagram of the fielding positions on a Cricket field, as would be seen by a right handed batsman. | Source

Scoring and Winning the Game

A run is scored each time the two on-field batsmen run between the white creases at either end of the pitch. Runs can be scored whenever the ball is in play, in other words the time between when the ball leaves the bowler and when it is returned to either the bowler or wicketkeeper.

For the batsman, the objective is to hit the ball as far away from any fielders as possible, in order to score more runs. The best shots are the ones that reach the field boundary- if the ball bounces before reaching the boundary, then it counts as four runs, and if it doesn’t then it counts as six.

A team wins the game by scoring more runs than the other team. If a batsman is given out or dismissed it is known as a ‘wicket’. Matches can be tied if both teams finish with the same amount of runs, but this is a very rare indeed. Drawn matches are far more common, and these occur when all of the expected innings are incomplete, usually through running out of time in Test or First Class matches or through the weather.

The Master Blaster

India's Sachin Tendulkar is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in history, amassing 15.921 runs in 200 Test matches.
India's Sachin Tendulkar is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen in history, amassing 15.921 runs in 200 Test matches. | Source

Run of Play

Whenever a ball is bowled, the batsman on strike has to try and achieve one of two objectives. Firstly, hit the ball in order to try and score a run/runs, and secondly, try and avoid getting out. If the bowler manages to strike the wickets with the ball, then the batsman is out. This is referred to as being ‘bowled’ out. The other common ways that a batsman can be out is through LBW or leg before wicket, caught by a fielder, wicketkeeper or bowler, run out and stumped.

In any Test Match innings, the objective of the batting team is to score as many runs as possible, while the bowling team tries to restrict them to as few runs as possible, or ideally bowl 10 of the 11 batsmen out.

You're Out!

A Cricket umpire giving the typical signal telling a batsman that they are out.
A Cricket umpire giving the typical signal telling a batsman that they are out. | Source

What to Look Out For

When watching a game of cricket will get you to quickly notice that there are two basic types of bowlers. Firstly there are fast bowlers, they bowl after a long run up with the aim of trying to generate as much ball speed as possible from the hand. Secondly, there are spin bowlers, they bowl more slowly, with the aim of trying to spin the ball sideways off the surface of the pitch in order to try and deceive the batsman.

When watching a Cricket match, you’ll see the camera pan towards the umpire whenever a big decision has to be made. You’ll see them make a variety of different arm and hand signals to indicate a decision. Here’s a quick guide to what some of those signals mean.

  • Four runs: The umpire will extend their arm forward and wave it back and forth.

  • Six runs: Both arms are raised aloft.

  • Out: The index finger of one hand is raised aloft.

  • Wide ball: Both arms are extended horizontally.

  • No ball: one arm is extended horizontally. A no ball occurs when the bowler has stepped completely over the crease during their delivery.

Like all sports, Cricket is awash with statistics, so here are a few to keep an eye out for. Firstly there are the scoring rates. Scoring rate are always important; if a team has a slow scoring rate for instance, then it’s likely they will fall short of a competitive total. Whereas a fast scoring rate will inevitably lead to more risks being taken, and thus more chance of being bowled out.

Secondly there are the milestones. Milestones are special in any sport, and in Cricket the ones to keep an eye out for are batsmen reaching either a half century (50 runs) or a century (100). Anything above that is truly remarkable. On the bowling side of things, then claiming 5 wickets or more is seen as an exceptional innings.

Lastly there are fielding restrictions. You won’t see this in Test Match Cricket, but in a limited overs match, a team will sometimes be subject to restrictions on the amount of fielders they can have on the outside of the inner circle. Usually its for about 40% of a limited overs innings. This is designed to encourage the batsmen to take more risks, hit the ball harder and into the air, in order to please the crowd.

A True Cricketing Milestone

© 2019 James Kenny

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you very much. I'm hoping that this article will inspire and few readers to at least show an interest in a great game.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very informative article for laymen to understand the game of cricket.

      The picture of the field is quite educative about the different words used by the umpires while giving their running commentaries.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you sweetheart xxxx

    • profile image

      Paula 

      2 months ago

      Fabulous article ❤️xxxx

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, England

      No problem Larry, it can be a hard game to grasp, but once you give it a chance it does grow on you. It's still our national sport, although Football (Soccer) gets far more coverage nowadays.

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks Chuck, funny you mentioning Baseball, as during my research I discovered that our two national sports have a common link. Turns out that an English born cricketer called Henry Chadwick invented the modern Baseball box score modelling it on a similar one used in Cricket still to this day.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      2 months ago from North Carolina

      Looks really interesting. I had always been curious how the game was played; seen it on television off and on my entire life, but never really grasped the rules until now. Thank you for sharing!

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 

      2 months ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Fascinating Hub. I'm an American but have heard references to Cricket since my youth but have never known much more other than it has a bat and ball like baseball. Thanks to your Hub, especially the diagram, I now have a good basic idea as to how it is played. Thanks

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      2 months ago from Birmingham, England

      I must admit Liz that I don't watch much ODI or T20 Cricket, as I'm more of a purist. I did see the highlights of the Final and Stokes' extra run. According to the laws of the game: “If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side and the allowance for the boundary and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act.” So England should have only been given 5 runs, as Stokes and Rashid hadn't crossed the line for their second run. It's all in the past now though. I'm looking forward to the 2nd Test, hopefully we can do a better job at stopping Steve Smith at Lord's.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      This is a great idea for an article. Your map of the field explains a lot of the terms I am a bit hazy about. Very topical too, following the first match in the Ashes series, just a shame we lost. Going back to the world cup final, which seems an age ago now, should England have had 6 runs off that misfielded ball?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)