Introduction to Cricket

Cricket is a popular bat-and-ball sport played by two teams of 11 players each. Teams hold cricket matches on oval fields ranging from about 100 to 160 yards long and marked by obvious boundaries. Two umpires regulate all on-field activity during a cricket match. The rules of the sport are called the Laws of Cricket.

  1. Play

    • Two wickets sit in the center of the field a few yards apart. The batting team has two batsman at all times, while the fielding team has 11 players on the playing field. The bowler, similar to a pitcher in baseball, stands behind one wicket, while the wicket keeper stands behind the other wicket to catch any ball the striking batter misses. The non-striking batter stands next to the wicket near the bowler, prepared to run if the striking batter hits the ball.


    • Whenever a striking batter hits the cricket ball, both batsmen try to score by running a path between the creases. A batsman scores one run if he reaches the crease on the opposite side of the field, and then scores another run if he makes it back to his starting position. A batter carries his bat with him as he runs, and must touch it to the ground beyond the crease before he can turn to run back.


    • Outs are made in numerous ways. A batter is called out if he hits the ball and a fielder catches it. An out also occurs if the bowler breaks the wicket after a batter misses a pitch. A batsman is called out if a fielder breaks the wicket while he runs the creases. If a batter touches the wicket while hitting the ball, he is automatically out. Once a batter is out, another batter takes his place. Inning halves consist of 10 outs.

    Cricket Balls

    • Cricket balls have hard, cork cores that are wrapped in twine and then covered with leather. Cricket games traditionally use red balls for official day games and white balls for official night matches. Cricket balls weigh about 5 1/2 ounces and measure about 9 inches in circumference. Cricket balls are typically polished on one side of the ball, which makes it move erratically after bouncing and makes it harder for the batter to hit.


    • Cricket bowlers are similar baseball pitchers. When bowling the ball to the striking batter, the bowler can pitch the ball anywhere from in front of the umpire to the bowling crease about 22 yards from the wickets behind the batter. The bowler throws the ball in an overarm motion and is allowed to get a running start before pitching the ball. The ball can bounce twice before reaching the batter. The bowler's objective is to get the batter out.


    • Wooden cricket bats are made from English or Kashmir willow and have long handles with smooth, flat faces. Bats cannot be more than 38 inches long and 1/4 inches wide. The wicket keeper fields the ball with a large, webbed glove similar to a baseball mitt used by a catcher. Traditional cricket clothing includes polo shirts, sun hats, spiked shoes and long pants. Batters wear a host of protective gear, including helmets, batting gloves, shin guards, abdomen guards, chest guards and elbow guards.

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  • Photo Credit Creative Commons photo by rainbowj/

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