The Basics of Cricket

By Christeen Savinovich , last updated February 5, 2012

Cricket is an exciting sport that unfortunately hasn’t reached the same level of popularity in North America that it has in Europe. Typically referred to and the gentleman’s game, Cricket shares both terminology and rules with Baseball. Cricket is played with two teams of 11 players each and the game itself can last from a short afternoon to several days. The former is called Twenty20 and consists of an equal amount of innings per team which is determined before the game begins. The other kind, test cricket, involves two innings per team played over five days.

The Field and Equipment

The Cricket field has two components, the playing field and the pitch. The playing field is large and circular or oval shaped and the radius varies from 450 to 500 feet. The pitch is the central playing area located within the playing field and is a rectangular clay strip with short grass that measures 10x 72 feet.

The cricket ball is hard, with a cork center and is covered in leather which is sewn together like an equator. The ball is typically red with white stitching.

The bat is made of willow and kind of resembles a paddle however one side is flat and the opposite side is sloped outward.

Finally, at each end of the pitch there is a wicket. This is a wooden structure that is made up of three stumps and topped by a pair of bails resting in notches. The stumps are wooden posts that are one inch in diameter and thirty two inches tall. They are hammered into the ground and evenly spaced so that a cricket ball cannot pass in between them. The bails simply top the stumps horizontally.

Game Play

One end of the pitch is designated for the batsmen who will attempt to hit the ball when it is hurled by the bowler. The opposite end of the pitch is where the bowlers will throw from.

The breakdown of the players usually falls into two categories; specialist batsmen and bowlers. The batsman will come up to bat when the team is up for batting while the bowlers will take turns bowling when their team is fielding (out on the field). There are two umpires, one near the stumps at the bowling end facing the batsman and the other stands back at the opposite wicket where he is able to observe a side view of the batsman and the players.

All 11 players on the fielding team go on the field and two players from the batting team go out to bat, the remainder of the batting team waits off field. One batsman will stand at the same end of the pitch as the bowler while the other will stand near the opposite wicket. The bowler will hurl the ball at the batsman by bouncing it right before them and the batsman will attempt to strike the ball out onto the field. After striking the ball the two batsmen will run to the opposite ends of the pitch to score runs. Batters can repeatedly score runs until the opposing team gets them out by returning the ball to the pitch and knocking the bails off the stumps.

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