Cricket is a bat–and–ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22–yard–long pitch with a wicket (a set of three wooden stumps) at each end. One team bats, attempting to score as many runs as possible, whilst their opponents field. Each phase of play is called an innings. After either ten batsmen have been dismissed or a fixed number of overs have been completed, the innings ends and the two teams then swap roles. The winning team is the one that scores the most runs, including any extras gained, during their innings.
At the start of each game, two batsmen and eleven fielders enter the field of play. The play begins when a member of the fielding team, known as the bowler, delivers the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, towards the wicket at that end, in front of which stands one of the batsmen, known as the striker. The striker “takes guard” on a crease drawn on the pitch four feet in front of the wicket. His role is to prevent the ball from hitting the stumps by use of his bat, and simultaneously to strike it well enough to score runs. The other batsman, known as the non–striker, waits at the opposite end of the pitch near the bowler. A dismissed batsman must leave the field, and a teammate replaces him. The bowler’s objectives are to prevent the scoring of runs and to dismiss the batsman. An over is a set of six deliveries bowled by the same bowler. The next over is bowled from the other end of the pitch by a different bowler.
List of international cricket teams
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
- West Indies
Cricket can definitely be traced back to Tudor times in early 16th–century England though there have been a number of claims, many of them spurious and/or lacking evidence, supporting earlier dates from 1301. The earliest definite reference to cricket being played comes from evidence given at a 1598 court case which mentions that “creckett” (sic) was played on common land in Guildford around 1550. The court in Guildford heard on Monday, 17 January 1597 (Julian date, equating to the year 1598 in the Gregorian calendar) from a 59–year–old coroner, John Derrick, who gave witness that when he was a scholar at the “Free School at Guildford”, fifty years earlier, “hee and diverse of his fellows did runne and play [on the common land] at creckett and other plaies.”
It is believed that cricket was originally a children’s game but references in 1611 indicate that adults had started playing it and the earliest known organised inter–parish or village cricket match was played around that time. In 1624, a player called Jasper Vinall died after he was struck on the head during a match between two parish teams in Sussex. During the 17th century, numerous references indicate the growth of cricket in the south–east of England. By the end of the century, it had become an organised activity being played for high stakes and it is believed that the first professionals appeared in the years following the Restoration in 1660. A newspaper report survives of “a great cricket match” with eleven players a side that was played for high stakes in Sussex in 1697, and this is the earliest known reference to a cricket match of such importance.
“Cricket is a most precarious profession; it is called a team game but, in fact, no one is so lonely as a batsman facing a bowler supported by ten fieldsmen and observed by two umpires to ensure that his error does not go unpunished.”
— by John Arlott
The game underwent major development in the 18th century. Betting played a key part in that development with rich patrons forming their own “select XIs”. Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and, in the middle years of the century, large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The single wicket form of the sport attracted huge crowds and wagers to match, its popularity peaking in the 1748 season. Bowling underwent an evolution around 1760 when bowlers began to pitch the ball instead of rolling or skimming it towards the batsman. 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. The Hambledon Club was founded in the 1760s and, for the next twenty years until the formation of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the opening of Lord’s Old Ground in 1787, Hambledon was both the game’s greatest club and its focal point. MCC quickly became the sport’s premier club and the custodian of the Laws of cricket. New Laws introduced in the latter part of the 18th century included the three stump wicket and leg before wicket (lbw).
Format of the game
A cricket match is divided into periods called innings (which ends with “s” in both singular and plural form). 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 (two batsmen) 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 (who are also players) just before the match starts: the winner decides whether to bat or field first.
The cricket field is usually circular or oval in shape, with a rectangular pitch at the centre. 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; the two wickets are placed 22 yards (20 m) apart. The pitch is marked with painted lines: a bowling crease in line with the wicket, and a batting or popping crease four feet (122 cm) 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 (usually by the ball, but also if the batsman does it with his body, clothing or equipment). This is also described as breaking, knocking down, or hitting the wicket – though if the ball hits the wicket but does not dislodge a bail or stump then it is not considered to be down.
At any instant each batsman “owns” a particular wicket (usually the one closer to him) 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 ground then he is dismissed, but the other batsman is safe.
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
- 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.
- 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 (one run for the wide, and four for the boundary).
- 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 (note that one mark of a good wicketkeeper is one who restricts the tally of byes to a minimum).
- 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.
An inning is closed when:
- Ten of the eleven batsmen are out (have been dismissed); in this case, the team is said to be “all out”.
- The team has only one batsman left who can bat, one or more of the remaining players being unavailable owing to injury, illness or absence; again, the team is said to be “all out”
- The team batting last reaches the score required to win the match The predetermined number of overs has been bowled (in a one–day match only, commonly 50 overs; or 20 in Twenty20)
- A captain declares his team’s innings closed while at least two of his batsmen are not out (this does not apply in one–day limited over matches)
Full Members are the governing bodies for cricket in a country or associated countries. Full Members may also represent a geographical area. All Full Members have a right to send one representative team to play official Test matches. Also, all Full Member nations are automatically qualified to play ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals. West Indies cricket team does not represent one country instead an amalgamation of over 20 countries from the Caribbean. The English Cricket team represents both England and Wales.
|nation||governing body||member since||current test ranking||current odi ranking||current t20 ranking|
|australia||Cricket Australia||15 July 1909||2||2||7|
|Bangladesh||Bangladesh Cricket Board||26 June 2000||9||7||10|
|England||England and Wales Cricket Board||15 July 1909||4||5||5|
|India||Board of Control for Cricket in India||31 May 1926||1||4||2|
|New Zealand||New Zealand Cricket||31 May 1926||5||3||1|
|Pakistan||Pakistan Cricket Board||28 July 1953||6||8||6|
|South Africa||Cricket South Africa||15 July 1909||3||1||3|
|Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka Cricket||21 July 1981||7||6||8|
|West Indies||West Indies Cricket Board||31 May 1926||8||9||4|
|Zimbabwe||Zimbabwe Cricket||6 July 1992||10||11||12|