Guide Learn the Basics of Cricket: The Fascinating Bat and Ball Game

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Historically , cricket's origins are uncertain and the earliest definite reference is in south-east England in the middle of the 16th century. It spread globally with the expansion of the British Empire , leading to the first international matches in the second half of the 19th century. The game's governing body is the International Cricket Council ICC , which has over members, twelve of which are full members who play Test matches.

The sport is followed primarily in the Indian subcontinent , Australasia, the United Kingdom, southern Africa and the West Indies , its globalisation occurring during the expansion of the British Empire and remaining popular into the 21st century. The most successful side playing international cricket is Australia , having won seven One Day International trophies, including five World Cups , more than any other country and having been the top-rated Test side more than any other country.

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Cricket is one of many games in the "club ball" sphere that basically involve hitting a ball with a hand-held implement; others include baseball , golf , hockey , tennis , squash , badminton and table tennis. It is generally believed that cricket originated as a children's game in the south-eastern counties of England, sometime during the medieval period.

The case concerned ownership of a certain plot of land and the court heard the testimony of a year-old coroner , John Derrick , who gave witness that: [5] [6] [7]. Given Derrick's age, it was about half a century earlier when he was at school and so it is certain that cricket was being played c. One possible source for the sport's name is the Old English word " cryce " or " cricc " meaning a crutch or staff. In Samuel Johnson 's Dictionary , he derived cricket from " cryce , Saxon, a stick". Although the main object of the game has always been to score the most runs , the early form of cricket differed from the modern game in certain key technical aspects.

The ball was bowled underarm by the bowler and all along the ground towards a batsman armed with a bat that, in shape, resembled a hockey stick ; the batsman defended a low, two-stump wicket ; and runs were called "notches" because the scorers recorded them by notching tally sticks. In , the year Cotgrave's dictionary was published, ecclesiastical court records at Sidlesham in Sussex state that two parishioners, Bartholomew Wyatt and Richard Latter, failed to attend church on Easter Sunday because they were playing cricket.

They were fined 12 d each and ordered to do penance. Cricket remained a low-key local pursuit for much of the century. According to the social historian Derek Birley , there was a "great upsurge of sport after the Restoration " in The game underwent major development in the 18th century to become England's national sport. This caused a revolution in bat design because, to deal with the bouncing ball , it was necessary to introduce the modern straight bat in place of the old "hockey stick" shape.

Types of Matches

The Hambledon Club was founded in the s and, for the next twenty years until the formation of Marylebone Cricket Club MCC and the opening of Lord's Old Ground in , Hambledon was both the game's greatest club and its focal point. New Laws introduced in the latter part of the 18th century included the three stump wicket and leg before wicket lbw.

The 19th century saw underarm bowling superseded by first roundarm and then overarm bowling. Both developments were controversial. The most famous player of the 19th century was W. Grace , who started his long and influential career in It was especially during the career of Grace that the distinction between amateurs and professionals became blurred by the existence of players like him who were nominally amateur but, in terms of their financial gain, de facto professional.

Grace himself was said to have been paid more money for playing cricket than any professional. It is a nostalgic name prompted by the collective sense of loss resulting from the war, but the period did produce some great players and memorable matches, especially as organised competition at county and Test level developed. Meanwhile, the British Empire had been instrumental in spreading the game overseas and by the middle of the 19th century it had become well established in Australia, the Caribbean, India, New Zealand, North America and South Africa.

In , an English team made the first tour of Australia. In —77, an England team took part in what was retrospectively recognised as the first-ever Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia. The inter-war years were dominated by Australia 's Don Bradman , statistically the greatest Test batsman of all time. Test cricket continued to expand during the 20th century with the addition of the West Indies , New Zealand and India before the Second World War and then Pakistan , Sri Lanka , Zimbabwe , Bangladesh , Ireland and Afghanistan both in the post-war period.

Cricket entered a new era in when English counties introduced the limited overs variant. In cricket, the rules of the game are specified in a code called The Laws of Cricket hereinafter called "the Laws" which has a global remit. There are 42 Laws always written with a capital "L". The earliest known version of the code was drafted in and, since , it has been owned and maintained by its custodian, the Marylebone Cricket Club MCC in London.

Cricket Masterclass: How to bat long in Tests with Vaughan, Ponting and Boycott

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played on a cricket field see image, right between two teams of eleven players each. Each wicket is made of three wooden stumps topped by two bails. As illustrated above, the pitch is marked at each end with four white painted lines: a bowling crease , a popping crease and two return creases.

The three stumps are aligned centrally on the bowling crease, which is eight feet eight inches long. The popping crease is drawn four feet in front of the bowling crease and parallel to it; although it is drawn as a twelve-foot line six feet either side of the wicket , it is in fact unlimited in length. The return creases are drawn at right angles to the popping crease so that they intersect the ends of the bowling crease; each return crease is drawn as an eight-foot line, so that it extends four feet behind the bowling crease, but is also in fact unlimited in length. Before a match begins, the team captains who are also players toss a coin to decide which team will bat first and so take the first innings.


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A match with four scheduled innings is played over three to five days; a match with two scheduled innings is usually completed in a single day. The exception to this is if a batsman has any type of illness or injury restricting his or her ability to run, in this case the batsman is allowed "A Runner" who can run between the wickets when the batsman hits a scoring run or runs [63] The order of batsmen is usually announced just before the match, but it can be varied.

The main objective of each team is to score more runs than their opponents but, in some forms of cricket, it is also necessary to dismiss all of the opposition batsmen in their final innings in order to win the match, which would otherwise be drawn. If the team that bats last scores enough runs to win, it is said to have "won by n wickets", where n is the number of wickets left to fall. For example, a team that passes its opponents' total having lost six wickets i. In a two-innings-a-side match, one team's combined first and second innings total may be less than the other side's first innings total.

The team with the greater score is then said to have "won by an innings and n runs", and does not need to bat again: n is the difference between the two teams' aggregate scores. If the team batting last is all out, and both sides have scored the same number of runs, then the match is a tie ; this result is quite rare in matches of two innings a side with only 62 happening in first-class matches from the earliest known instance in until January In the traditional form of the game, if the time allotted for the match expires before either side can win, then the game is declared a draw.

If the match has only a single innings per side, then a maximum number of overs applies to each innings. Such a match is called a "limited overs" or "one-day" match, and the side scoring more runs wins regardless of the number of wickets lost, so that a draw cannot occur. If this kind of match is temporarily interrupted by bad weather, then a complex mathematical formula, known as the Duckworth-Lewis method after its developers, is often used to recalculate a new target score. A one-day match can also be declared a "no-result" if fewer than a previously agreed number of overs have been bowled by either team, in circumstances that make normal resumption of play impossible; for example, wet weather.

In all forms of cricket, the umpires can abandon the match if bad light or rain makes it impossible to continue. White balls are mainly used in limited overs cricket , especially in matches played at night, under floodlights left. The essence of the sport is that a bowler delivers i.

The bat is made of wood, usually salix alba white willow , and has the shape of a blade topped by a cylindrical handle. The ball is a hard leather-seamed spheroid , with a circumference of The ball has a "seam": six rows of stitches attaching the leather shell of the ball to the string and cork interior. The seam on a new ball is prominent, and helps the bowler propel it in a less predictable manner.

BBC SPORT | Cricket | Laws & Equipment | Cricket for beginners part IV

During matches, the quality of the ball deteriorates to a point where it is no longer usable, and during the course of this deterioration its behaviour in flight will change and can influence the outcome of the match. Players will therefore attempt to modify the ball's behaviour by modifying its physical properties. Polishing the ball and wetting it with sweat or saliva is legal, even when the polishing is deliberately done on one side only to increase the ball's swing through the air , but the acts of rubbing other substances into the ball, scratching the surface or picking at the seam is illegal ball tampering.

During normal play, thirteen players and two umpires are on the field. Two of the players are batsmen and the rest are all eleven members of the fielding team.

New to cricket but have no idea what's going on? You're in the right place.

The other nine players in the batting team are off the field in the pavilion. The image with overlay below shows what is happening when a ball is being bowled and which of the personnel are on or close to the pitch. One of the two umpires 1; wearing white hat is stationed behind the wicket 2 at the bowler's 4 end of the pitch.

The bowler 4 is bowling the ball 5 from his end of the pitch to the batsman 8 at the other end who is called the "striker". The other batsman 3 at the bowling end is called the "non-striker". The wicket-keeper 10 , who is a specialist, is positioned behind the striker's wicket 9 and behind him stands one of the fielders in a position called " first slip " While the bowler and the first slip are wearing conventional kit only, the two batsmen and the wicket-keeper are wearing protective gear including safety helmets, padded gloves and leg guards pads.

While the umpire 1 in shot stands at the bowler's end of the pitch, his colleague stands in the outfield, usually in or near the fielding position called " square leg ", so that he is in line with the popping crease 7 at the striker's end of the pitch. The bowling crease not numbered is the one on which the wicket is located between the return creases The bowler 4 intends to hit the wicket 9 with the ball 5 or, at least, to prevent the striker 8 from scoring runs. The striker 8 intends, by using his bat, to defend his wicket and, if possible, to hit the ball away from the pitch in order to score runs.

Some players are skilled in both batting and bowling so are termed all-rounders.


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Bowlers are also classified according to their style, generally as fast bowlers , medium pace seam bowlers or, like Muttiah Muralitharan pictured above, spinners. Batsmen are classified according to whether they are right-handed or left-handed.

Essay on Cricket As A Bat And Ball Game

Of the eleven fielders, three are in shot in the image above. The other eight are elsewhere on the field, their positions determined on a tactical basis by the captain or the bowler. Fielders often change position between deliveries, again as directed by the captain or bowler. If a fielder is injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him, but the substitute cannot bowl or act as a captain.

The substitute leaves the field when the injured player is fit to return. The captain is often the most experienced player in the team, certainly the most tactically astute, and can possess any of the main skillsets as a batsman , a bowler or a wicket-keeper. Within the Laws, the captain has certain responsibilities in terms of nominating his players to the umpires before the match and ensuring that his players conduct themselves "within the spirit and traditions of the game as well as within the Laws".

The wicket-keeper sometimes called simply the "keeper" is a specialist fielder subject to various rules within the Laws about his equipment and demeanour. He is the only member of the fielding side who can effect a stumping and is the only one permitted to wear gloves and external leg guards.

The Absolute Basics

Generally, a team will include five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers, plus the wicket-keeper. Protective clothing includes pads designed to protect the knees and shins , batting gloves or wicket-keeper's gloves for the hands, a safety helmet for the head and a box for male players inside the trousers to protect the crotch area.

The only fielders allowed to wear protective gear are those in positions very close to the batsman i. Subject to certain variations, on-field clothing generally includes a collared shirt with short or long sleeves; long trousers; woollen pullover if needed ; cricket cap for fielding or a safety helmet; and spiked shoes or boots to increase traction.

The kit is traditionally all white and this remains the case in Test and first-class cricket but, in limited overs cricket, team colours are worn instead. The innings ending with 's' in both singular and plural form is the term used for each phase of play during a match. Depending on the type of match being played, each team has either one or two innings.

Sometimes all eleven members of the batting side take a turn to bat but, for various reasons, an innings can end before they have all done so. The innings terminates if the batting team is "all out", a term defined by the Laws: "at the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batsman, further balls remain to be bowled but no further batsman is available to come in". An innings may end early while there are still two not out batsmen: [63].