Cricket Rules

In this article, we will learn about “Cricket Rules.” Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport that originated in England. It is played between two teams of 11 players each on a cricket field, oval grass surface, at the center of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. The objective of each team is to score more runs than the other team and to completely dismiss the opposition.

A cricket match is divided into innings where one team bats (takes its innings) and tries to score runs while the other team fields, bowling and fielding the ball in order to restrict the runs scored and dismiss the batsmen. A maximum of 11 players from each team can bat or field at any time. After the first inning, the roles are reversed and the teams switch between batting and fielding.

Cricket is governed internationally by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which oversees the Cricket rules and organizes major international tournaments. There are three major international formats of cricket – Test Match, One Day and Twenty20. Each format has slightly different rules in terms of number of overs, fielding restrictions etc.

Field and Equipment

  • A cricket field is roughly oval shaped with a rectangular pitch in the center. The dimensions vary but professional cricket fields are between 450 feet to 500 feet from boundary to boundary.

  • The pitch is 22 yards long and 10 feet wide. There are two wickets, one at each end of the pitch, consisting of three stumps and two bails on top.

  • The key equipment needed to play cricket are:

    • Cricket bat: Made of wood, flat on one side, used to hit the ball.
    • Cricket ball: Hard, cork and string ball covered in leather. Red for Test matches and white for limited overs cricket.
    • Pads: Worn by batsmen for leg protection.
    • Gloves: Worn by wicket-keepers, batsmen and some fielders.
    • Helmet: For protection of batsman’s head.
    • Stumps and bails: To mark the wicket.
  • The umpires officiate the match and make decisions using equipment like counters, light meters and stopwatch.

Cricket Rules : Gameplay Rules

The basic gameplay rules in cricket are:

  • A bowler delivers the ball to a batsman who tries to score runs by hitting the ball with his bat.
  • The fielding team tries to restrict runs and dismiss the batting team by fielding the ball and hitting the wickets.
  • An over consists of 6 legal deliveries bowled consecutively by one bowler from one end.
  • Innings are exchanges of turns between teams batting and fielding.
  • Batting team aims to score as many runs as possible while fielding team aims to bowl out batting team or restrict their scoring.
  • Ways runs can be scored are hitting boundary fours and sixes, running between wickets, extras like no balls, wides, byes etc.
  • Ways to get dismissed include bowled, caught, leg before wicket (LBW), run out, stumped etc.
  • A new batsman enters the field when the previous one gets out. Innings ends when 10 batsmen are dismissed.
  • After the first innings is complete, teams switch roles. The team with the higher aggregate runs wins.

Scoring and Match Procedures

  • Runs are scored when batsman hits the ball and runs to the other end or hits a boundary. Following are the common ways runs are scored:

    • Runs scored by running between wickets after hitting the ball. 1 run if cross once, 2 if twice and so on.
    • Boundary 4 – Ball crosses the boundary after hitting the ground.
    • Boundary 6 – Ball crosses boundary without bouncing.
    • No ball – Illegal delivery by bowler results in extra run. Free hit also allowed.
    • Byes – Runs scored if ball isn’t touched by bat or body but they run.
    • Leg byes – Runs scored if ball hits body but not bat and they run.
    • Penalty runs – Awarded by umpire for breach of  Cricket rules.
  • Ways batsmen get dismissed and have to leave field include:

    • Bowled – Ball hits stumps
    • Caught – Fielder catches ball before it drops
    • LBW – Ball hits pads before wicket, appeal granted
    • Stumped – Wicket-keeper removes bails when batsman out of crease
    • Run out – Fielding side hits wickets with ball before batsman makes ground
  • After a dismissal, next batsman enters to partner with remaining batsman.

  • An over consists of 6 legal deliveries by a bowler from one end. After an over is complete, a new over starts from the other end.

  • Innings ends when 10 batsmen are dismissed or team declares innings closed.

  • After first innings is over, teams switch roles between batting and bowling.

  • The match ends when both teams have completed their allocated innings. The team with more aggregate runs wins.

Advanced  Cricket Rules and Strategies

Beyond the basics, some key advanced cricket rules and strategies are:

  • Fielding positions and roles – Different fielding positions like slip, gully, covers, point etc with different roles. Captain sets the field.
  • Bowling techniques – Fast bowling, spin bowling, swing, seam etc require different techniques and skills.
  • Batting techniques – Different shots like drives, pulls, hooks, sweeps, reverse sweeps etc. Requires skills to play pace and spin.
  • Powerplays and fielding restrictions – In limited overs cricket, certain number of overs have fielding restrictions like 2 players outside the 30 yard circle to favor batting.
  • Managing overs and targets – Batting strategy based on overs left, run rate required and wickets in hand. Defensive or aggressive approaches.
  • Declarations – Captain can declare an innings closed before being all out to give their team enough time to bowl opposition out.
  • Follow-on – Option for fielding team to make opposition bat again if they don’t get close to their first innings total.
  • Managing new ball – New ball swings so pace bowlers use it well. Goes softer over time favoring spin bowlers later.
  • Managing run rate – Batting team manages run rate depending on situation and bowling team tries to restrict it.
  • Using reviews – Teams get a certain number of reviews per innings. Must use judiciously after careful consideration.
  • bowling changes – Captain rotates bowlers and makes changes to try to get breakthroughs and contain runs.
  • Sledging – Players sometimes use words to distract opponents but not overdo it to be penalized.


Cricket is a complex, tactical and skillful game with a rich history and tradition behind it. The basics involve batting, bowling and fielding skills but there are many deeper rules, techniques and strategies involved at higher levels. With three popular international formats, cricket has wide global appeal and a bright future. The passion for cricket, especially in Commonwealth countries is unmatched with any other sport. Even for casual fans, understanding the basics of how cricket is played allows one to better follow and enjoy this wonderful sport.

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