Cricket Basics

Cricket Basics | Cricket Basics |

The ground has no set dimensions. It may be circular or oval and must be limited to a maximum of 75 yards (69 meters) in any direction from its center.

Boundaries may be marked by a line or a fence. The main action takes place in the middle of the ground on a pitch, a strip 66 feet (20 meters) long and 10 feet (30 meters) wide.

Centered at either end of the pitch is a 9-inch- ((23-cm-) wide wicket composed of three thin 28-inch- (71-cm-) long poles, or stumps, placed upright in the ground and of sufficient size to prevent the ball from passing between them.

On top of the stumps are two 43/8-inch (11-cm) crosspieces, or bails, balanced in grooves in the stumps. A dislodged bail retires the batsman.

There are three limiting markings at each wicket. The bowling crease is in line with the stumps and is 8 feet 8 inches (22 cm) long.

The return crease is formed by 4-foot (1 meter) arms at right angles to the bowling crease, two extending away from and two toward the opposite wicket. The popping crease is a 12-foot (3.5 meter) line parallel with and 4 feet in front of each bowling crease; this line designates the extent of the batsman’s safe ground. In bowling, the bowler’s front foot must not land beyond the popping crease and his back foot must remain completely within the return crease or its forward extension.

The ground is divided lengthwise into offside and leg or on-side. As the batsman takes his stand at the wicket the off-side is the ground to the right of a line drawn to the bowler’s end opposite him. The leg or on-side is the ground to the left.

Basic Cricket Equipment

The bat has a willow striking face, which must not be more than 38 inches long, and a cane handle layered with thin strips of rubber bound with twine or steel spring and covered with a sheath of rubber.

The bat may not be wider than 41/4 inches and usually weighs between 4 and 6 ounces over 2 pounds.

The ball has a hand-stitched red leather cover and an interior of cork wound with twine. It weighs between 51/2 and 53/4 ounces and measures 9 inches in circumference.

A cricketer’s uniform is white (Test Cricket/First Class) /Colored (Limited Overs Cricket): shirt, trousers, boots, and sweater. Batsmen and the wicketkeeper also wear gloves and pads to protect their hands and legs and a helmet with a mesh face guard. The umpires wear long white coats over normal clothing.

Basic Cricketing Terms

Cricket has a long tradition, along with a unique vocabulary that has developed along with the sport. Here are some of the terms that any cricket watcher should know.

  • Carry the bat – When one of the opening batsmen remains not out at the end of the innings, having ‘carried’ his bat for the complete innings.
  • Cow Corner – An unconventional fielding position on the midwicket/long-on boundary. Thought to have originated at Dulwich College where there was the corner of a field containing livestock on that edge of the playing area.
  • Boundary – A hit that goes to the ‘boundary’ of the field, having touched the ground at least once, scoring 4 runs.
  • Diamond Duck – When a batsman is out without facing a ball, usually the result of a run out.
  • Duck – When a batsman is out without making a run. Also see golden duck and diamond duck.
  • Four – A hit that goes into the boundary having bounced at least once on the playing field, scoring four runs.
  • French Cut – Colloquial term for an inside edge which goes between the legs and the stumps. Also called a Chinese Drive.
  • Full Toss – A bowling delivery that does not bounce prior to reaching the batsman.
  • Golden Duck – When a batsman is out the first ball faced.
  • Hatrick – When a bowler dismisses batsmen in three consecutive deliveries.
  • Innings – The duration that a team bats. Each team gets two innings to complete a match.
  • LBW – When a batsman is out, having the ball hit his legs (pads) in front of the wicket. It stands for “Leg Before Wicket”
  • Maiden Over – When no runs are scored from a bowler’s over.
  • Mankad – A particular form of run-out when the non-facing batsman backs up too far and is run out by the bowler.
  • Over – A set of six balls that a bowler bowls in a row.
  • Single – A score of one run off the bat.
  • Six – A hit that goes over the boundary line without touching the playing field, scoring six runs.
  • Twelfth Man – There are eleven active players for each team. The 12th player in the team is used to substitute any fielder if they need to leave the field for injury or other reasons. They are also responsible for bringing out the drinks.
  • Wicket – Several meanings. (1) The wicket is the strip of grass or other surface between the stumps. (2) The stumps are3 also sometimes called the wicket. (3) When a player is out.
  • Wide – A bowling delivery that goes too wide of the stumps so that it is not playable by the batsman. One run is given to the batting team for each wide, and another ball has to be bowled.
  • Yorker – A bowling delivery that is directed at the base of the stumps or at his feet, which often slips under the batsman’s bat for a wicket.