Basic rules of cricket for americans



A team is made up of 11 players, consisting of a bowler (pitcher), point, cover point, mid off, mid on, short slip, third man, square leg, deep mid off, deep mid on, wicket keeper (catcher).

There are, however, 21 different positions on the field and are taken up at the discretion of the captain, who places an attacking or defensive field according to the state of the game and the condition of the wicket.

A regulation or championship match (or game) consists of two complete innings, with all players on both sides having one turn at bat in each innings. A player remains at bat until he is put out. Some great batsmen can score 100 or more runs in one turn at bat and a match may last as long as six days.

In most major games play starts at 11:30 A.M. or noon and ends about 6 or 6:30 P.M., depending upon agreement between the captains.
There are no foul balls in cricket. The batsman can hit the ball to the front of him, draw it to either side or pull it in back of him.

Substitutions are not permitted, except when a player is injured.

The ball used is 51/2 to 534 ounces in weight and a fraction smaller in size than a baseball, but with a thicker, harder leather cover.

The cane-handled bat is shaped much like a baseball bat, but the batting half of it is flat. It is shaped like a paddle and must not be more than 4 1/2 inches wide, 38 inches in length.

No baseball park in the United States is large enough to serve as a cricket field. The minimum cricket grounds should be at least 450 x 500 feet, and one about 525 x 550 is preferable so that the maximum distance may be gained on hard drives.

Two wickets are used. They are made up of three stumps, 28 inches high, and so spaced that the width of the wicket is 9 inches. On top of the wickets are placed little strips of wood, called bails, 4 3/8 inches in length.

The wickets are 22 yards (66 feet) apart, the bowler’s position being at one wicket, the batsman’s at the other, as compared with 60 feet 6 inches between the batsman and the pitcher in baseball.

The game requires two umpires-one at each wicket.

The first turn at bat is decided by the flip of a coin.

When the defending team takes the field the offensive team puts one man at each wicket and these men constitute a batting team. The bowler can make as long a run as he wishes before delivering the ball, but he must make delivery before crossing the “crease”-a white line-which is 66 feet from the batsman’s wicket. The bowler is not permitted to bend his arm in delivery.

The object of the bowler is to try to bowl (pitch with straight arm) out of the reach of the bat and knock down the bail, in which case the batsman is out. The batsman, of course, is the defender of the wicket, and his other purpose is to hit the ball as far as he can and score runs.

A famous term in bowling is the “hat trick.” This is credited to a bowler who knocks over, or captures, by means of catches, three or more wickets with successive deliveries. In an earlier day, a hat was presented to all such bowlers.
One of the confusing features of cricket from the viewpoint of the American, who is chiefly familiar with baseball, is that two bowlers operate in each game. When the starting bowler has delivered six “fair balls” from his end, the umpire calls “over.” A man at the other wicket, designated by the captain, then becomes the bowler, bowling to the batter at the opposite wicket, while the starting bowler takes the place of his “assistant” in field play. In view of the fact that the change in the bowling direction exactly reverses the frontal attack of the batsman, the fielders change position to conform.

After the second bowler has pitched 6 “fair balls,” the team again changes position, the first bowler resumes bowling, and they so alternate until the game’s end, unless a change in bowlers is necessary. In such cases, a new bowler is chosen by the captain, from the men already in action on the field.

When the batsman hits the ball, he runs for the other wicket, while his batting partner runs for the one just vacated by the batsman. If they both reach the wicket in safety, that counts one run for the batter. If it is an extra long hit, they keep on running, and a run is scored every time the batsman reaches the opposite wicket. The batsman who happens to be at the wicket opposite the bowler, becomes the batsman when the running has ceased.

When a batsman is put out, the man next on the batting order goes to the wicket and this continues until all eleven men have had a turn at bat. Then the opposing team goes to bat.

The partner of the last man “out,” of course, had no one to remain with him at bat, and, thus, in scoring this man is marked as “not out.”

The batsman can be put out in various ways. He can be bowled out by the bowler hitting his wicket; he can be put out if any opposing player catches his hit on the fly; if he hits (breaks) the wicket with his bat while hitting at the ball; a fielder, with the ball, can “run him out”
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The batsman can be put out in various ways. He can be bowled out by the bowler hitting his wicket; he can be put out if any opposing player catches his hit on the fly; if he hits (breaks) the wicket with his bat while hitting at the ball; a fielder, with the ball, can “run him out” by hitting a wicket with the ball, while the batsman is out of crease (safety zone); the wicket keeper can stump him by hitting the wicket or bails with the ball when the batsman is out of the crease, and a bowler can dismiss the batsman lbw (leg before wicket) on an appeal to the umpire directly behind the flight of the ball and if the umpire considers the ball would have hit the wicket had it not been obstructed by any part of the batman’s person except his hand. Retiring a player is equivalent to “taking a wicket.”