Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players each on a field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Each team takes its turn to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Each turn is known as an innings.
Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed to be the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international match was held. ICC, the game’s governing body, has 10 full members. The game is most popular in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa. LET KNOW MORE
Format of the game
A cricket match is divided into periods called innings.It is decided before the match whether the teams will have one innings or two innings each. During an innings one team fields and the other bats. The two teams switch between fielding and batting after each innings. All eleven members of the fielding team take the field, but only two members of the batting team are on the field at any given time. The order of batsmen is usually announced just before the match, but it can be varied. A coin toss is held by the team captains just before the match starts: the winner decides whether to bat or field first. The cricket field is usually oval in shape, with a rectangular pitch at the center. The edge of the playing field is marked with a boundary, which could be a fence, part of the stands, a rope or a painted line. At each end of the pitch is a wooden target called a wicket, placed 22 yards apart.
The pitch is marked with painted lines: a bowling crease in line with the wicket, and a batting or popping crease four feet in front of it. The wicket is made of three vertical stumps supporting two small horizontal bails. A wicket is put down if at least one bail is dislodged, or one stump is knocked down. At any instant each batsman owns a particular wicket and, except when actually batting, is safe when he is in his ground. This means that at least one part of his body or bat is touching the ground behind the popping crease. If his wicket is put down while the ball is live and he is out of his groundthen he is dismissed, but the other batsman is safe. A ball being bowled. From back to front — umpire , wicket, non-striking batsman, bowler ,ball, pitch, crease, striking batsman ,wicket, wicket keeper.
The two batsmen take positions at opposite ends of the pitch. One designated member of the fielding team, called the bowler, bowls the ball from one end of the pitch to the striking batsman at the other end. The batsman at the bowling end is called the non-striker, and stands to the side of his wicket, behind his crease. The batsman are allowed to step forward of their creases, though at some risk. Another member of the fielding team, the wicket keeper, is positioned behind the striker’s wicket. The fielding team’s other nine members stand outside the pitch, spread out across the field. The fielding captain often strategically changes their position between balls. The bowler usually retreats a few yards behind the wicket, runs towards it, and then releases the ball over-hand as he reaches the bowling crease The batsman tries to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket by striking the ball with his bat. If the bowler succeeds in putting down the wicket the batsman is dismissed and is said to be bowled out. If the batsman misses the ball, but any part of his body prevents it from reaching the wicket, then he is out leg before wicket, or “LBW”. If the batsman hits the ball but it is caught by a fielder without bouncing then he caught out. If it is caught by the bowler then he is caught and bowled; by the wicket keeper, caught behind.
IBoth batsmen run the length of the pitch, exchanging positions, and grounding their bats behind the opposite crease. Each crossing and grounding by both batsmen is worth one run. if the fielding team retrieves the ball and hits either wicket with the ball before the batsman who owns that wicket reaches his ground behind the crease. The dismissed batsman is run out. If the batsman hits the ball over the field boundary without the ball touching the field, the batting team scores six runs. If the ball touches the ground and then reaches the boundary, the batting team scores four runs. If the batsman misses the ball they can still attempt extra runs : these are called byes. If the ball bounces off his body then it is called a leg bye. In case of a no ball or a wide the batsman can choose to strike the ball, earning runs in addition to the fixed penalty. If he does so he can only be dismissed by beingrun out.
When the batsmen have finished attempting their runs the ball is dead, and is returned to the bowler to be bowled again. A batsman may retire from an innings without being dismissed, usually after reaching a milestone like a hundred runs. After a bowler has bowled six times, another member of the fielding team is designated as the new bowler, the old bowler taking up a fielding position. The batsmen stay in place, and the new bowler bowls to the opposite wicket, so the role of striker and non-striker reverse. The wicket keeper and the two umpires always change positions, as do many of the fielders, and play continues. Fielding team members may bowl multiple times during an innings, but may not bowl two overs in succession. The innings is complete when 10 of the 11 members of the batting team have been dismissed, In four-innings matches there is also the possibility of a draw: the team with fewer runs still has batsmen on the field when the game ends.
Cricket is played on a grassy field. In the centre of the field is a rectangular strip, known as the pitch. The pitch is a flat surface 10 feet wide, with very short grass that tends to be worn away as the game progresses. At either end of the pitch, 22 yards apart, are placed wooden targets, known as the wickets. These serve as a target for the bowling side and are defended by the batting side, which seeks to accumulate runs.
Stumps, bails and creases
Each wicket on the pitch consists of three wooden stumps placed vertically, in line with one another. They are surmounted by two wooden crosspieces called bails; the total height of the wicket including bails is 28.5 inches (720 mm) and the combined width of the three stumps, including small gaps between them is 9 inches (230 mm). Four lines, known as creases, are painted onto the pitch around the wicket areas to define the batsman’s “safe territory” and to determine the limit of the bowler’s approach. These are called the “popping” (or batting) crease, the bowling crease and two “return” creases. The stumps are placed in line on the bowling creases and so these creases must be 22 yards (20 m) apart. A bowling crease is 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 m) long, with the middle stump placed dead centre. The popping crease has the same length, is parallel to the bowling crease and is 4 feet (1.2 m) in front of the wicket. The return creases are perpendicular to the other two; they are adjoined to the ends of the popping crease and are drawn through the ends of the bowling crease to a length of at least 8 feet (2.4 m). When bowling the ball, the bowler’s back foot in his “delivery stride” must land within the two return creases while at least some part of his front foot must land on or behind the popping crease. If the bowler breaks this rule, the umpire calls “No ball”.
Bat and ball
The essence of the sport is that a bowler delivers the ball from his end of the pitch towards the batsman who, armed with a bat is “on strike” at the other end. The bat is made of wood (usually White Willow) and has the shape of a blade topped by a cylindrical handle. The blade must not be more than 4.25 inches (108 mm) wide and the total length of the bat not more than 38 inches (970 mm). The ball is a hard leather-seamed spheroid, with a circumference of 9 inches (230 mm). The hardness of the ball, which can be delivered at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), is a matter for concern and batsmen wear protective clothing .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. During cricket matches, the quality of the ball changes to a point where it is no longer usable, and during this decline its properties alter and thus influence the match.
A team consists of eleven players. Depending on his or her primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. A well-balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. Teams nearly always include a specialist wicket-keeper because of the importance of this fielding position. Each team is headed by a captain who is responsible for making tactical decisions such as determining the batting order, the placement of fielders and the rotation of bowlers. A player who excels in both batting and bowling is known as an all-rounder. One who excels as a batsman and wicket-keeper is known as a “wicket-keeper/batsman”, sometimes regarded as a type of all-rounder. True all-rounders are rare as most players focus on either batting or bowling skills.
The bowler bowls the ball in sets of six deliveries and each set of six balls is called an over. This name came about because the umpire calls “Over!” when six balls have been bowled. At this point, another bowler is deployed at the other end, and the fielding side changes ends while the batsmen do not. A bowler cannot bowl two successive overs, although a bowler can bowl unchanged at the same end for several overs. The batsmen do not change ends and so the one who was non-striker is now the striker and vice-versa. The umpires also change positions so that the one who was at square leg now stands behind the wicket at the non-striker’s end and vice-versa.
.The innings is the term used for the collective performance of the batting side. Depending on the type of match being played, each team has one or two innings apiece. The main aim of the bowler, supported by his fielders, is to dismiss the batsman. A batsman when dismissed is said to be “out” and that means he must leave the field of play and be replaced by the next batsman on his team. When ten batsmen have been dismissed (, then the whole team is dismissed and the innings is over. The last batsman, the one who has not been dismissed, is not allowed to continue alone as there must always be two batsmen “in”. This batsman is termed “not out”. An innings can end early for three reasons: because the batting side’s captain has chosen to “declare” the innings closed, or because the batting side has achieved its target and won the game, or because the game has ended prematurely due to bad weather or running out of time. In each of these cases the team’s innings ends with two “not out” batsmen, unless the innings is declared closed at the fall of a wicket and the next batsman has not joined in the play. In limited overs cricket, there might be two batsmen still “not out” when the last of the allotted overs has been bowled.
Umpires and scorers
The game on the field is regulated by two umpires, one of whom stands behind the wicket at the bowler’s end, the other in a position called “square leg”, a position 15–20 metres to the side of the “on strike” batsman. The main role of the umpires is to adjudicate on whether a ball is correctly bowled, when a run is scored, and whether a batsman is out. Umpires also determine when intervals start and end, decide on the suitability of the playing conditions and can interrupt or even abandon the match due to circumstances likely to endanger the players, such as a damp pitch or deterioration of the light.
The match details, including runs and dismissals, are recorded by two official scorers, one representing each team. The scorers are directed by the hand signals of an umpire. For example, the umpire raises a forefinger to signal that the batsman is out he raises both arms above his head if the batsman has hit the ball for six runs. The scorers are required by the Laws of cricket to record all runs scored, wickets taken and overs bowled; in practice, they also note significant amounts of additional data relating to the game.
SOME POINTS TO REMEMEBER
Additional runs can be gained by the batting team as extras due to errors made by the fielding side. This is achieved in four ways: 1. No ball: a penalty of one extra that is conceded by the bowler if he breaks the rules of bowling either by (a) using an inappropriate arm action; (b) overstepping the popping crease; (c) having a foot outside the return crease. In addition, the bowler has to re-bowl the ball. In limited overs matches, a no ball is called if the bowling team’s field setting fails to comply with the restrictions. In shorter formats of the game (20–20, ODI) the free hit rule has been introduced. The ball following a front foot no-ball will be a free-hit for the batsman, whereby he is safe from losing his wicket except for being run-out. 2. Wide: a penalty of one extra that is conceded by the bowler if he bowls so that the ball is out of the batsman’s reach; as with a no ball, a wide must be re-bowled. If a wide ball crosses the boundary, five runs are awarded to the batting side 3.
Bye: extra(s) awarded if the batsman misses the ball and it goes past the wicketkeeper to give the batsmen time to run in the conventional way 4. Leg bye: extra(s) awarded if the ball hits the batsman’s body, but not his bat, while attempting a legitimate shot, and it goes away from the fielders to give the batsmen time to run in the conventional way. When the bowler has bowled a no ball or a wide, his team incurs an additional penalty because that ball has to be bowled again and hence the batting side has the opportunity to score more runs from this extra ball. The batsmen have to run to claim byes and leg byes but these only count towards the team total, not to the striker’s individual total for which runs must be scored off the bat.
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