Introduction to Cricket


What is Cricket?

Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams, 11 players each, on a field which has a rectangular 22-yard-long pitch in the centre. The game is played by 120 million players world-wide making it the second most popular sport in the world. The purpose of the game is to score more runs than your opposing team. 

A Cricket match is divided into periods called innings. It is decided before the game begins, if both teams will have one or two innings. During the innings one team bats while the other fields. All 11 players on the fielding team are on the pitch at the same time however only two batsmen are the field at any one time. 

Team captains toss a coin to decide who should bat first. 

Cricket fields tend to be oval in shape.  The end which is marked off is called the boundary, with the rectangle “pitch” in the centre.  

At each end of the pitch are the wickets, 22 yards apart.  A bowling crease is in line with the wicket and the batting or popping crease is 4ft in front of the wicket.  

Jargon buster 

  • Batsman – individual who is batting. Attempting to bat away the ball with being made out. 
  • Bowler – an individual who is bowling, attempting to bowl out the batsman. 
  • Fielder – an individual attempting to catch the ball without it bouncing to dismiss the batsman, also to return the ball as quick as possible to prevent the batsman gaining runs. 
  • Run – when a batsman completes a run from one crease to another, without fielders knocking off stumps. 
  • Wickets/stumps –  3 vertical stumps, supporting 2 small horizontal stumps. 
  • Crease – a bowler cannot deliver the ball beyond the bowling crease. A batman’s must be inside the batting crease before a fielder knocks off his stumps. 
  • Wicket keeper (one of the fielding team) is positioned directly behind the wicket. 
  • LBW leg before wicket – when the batsman prevents the ball hitting the wicket with his leg. Umpire – 2 umpires regulate the match referee. One behind the wicket at the bowling end and the other at square leg. 
  • Square leg – 15-20 meters outside the on strike batsman. 
  • Run out – when the batsman is outside the wicket he owns, outside his crease when fielding team remove stump/s 
  • Over – 6 consecutive bowls from the bowler. 

What to expect  

The aim is for the fielding team to get out 10 batsmen’s in total and then when it is their turn to bat, to gain more runs in their innings.  

A batsman is out if at least one bail is dislodged by the ball or if the batman does it with his bat or part of his clothing or body. If a fielding player catches the ball off the batsman or his bat without it bouncing. If the batsman prevents the ball hitting the wicket with his leg, LBW leg before wicket, or a run out, if the batsman fails to get inside the batting crease before the fielder removes the bails. 

The batsmen stand at opposite wickets, the batsman who is receiving the ball from the bowler is the striking batsman, the other is known as the non-striking batsman. The batsmen are allowed to step forward of their creases, though at some risk as the wicket keeper (one of the fielding team) is positioned directly behind the wicket.  

The remaining 9 fielders are spread out around the pitch. The team captain usually tells the 9 fielders where to stand with the aim of anticipating where the batsman will hit the ball. 


A bowler stands a few yards behind the wicket, runs up and delivers the ball over hand, on or before the bowling crease. If he goes beyond this crease it is a no ball, also if he flexes his elbow too much this is a throw and again a no ball. The batting team will get a penalty or an extra run. If the ball is delivered out of the reach of the batsman, then this is wide, and again a penalty/extra run for the batting team. If the bowler hits the wicket and removes at least one stump the batsman is out. 

Types of bowls 


Some examples of types of bowls are; Yorker, if the ball lands on the pitch, exactly on the crease, or full toss, when the ball crosses the crease without bouncing. 


The batsman tries to prevent the ball hitting the wickets with his bat.  


If the batsman strikes the ball and it is not caught without bouncing, then the batman tries to score runs for their team. Both batsmen run the length of the pitch, exchanging positions. This is worth one run to the sticking batsman. A batsman is run out when the batsman is outside the wicket he owns, outside his crease when the fielding team remove stump/s.  


If the batsman clears the boundary without the ball bouncing he scores 6 runs, if the ball bounces then crosses the boundary he scores 4 runs. A batsman can retire not out; this is normally after large amount of runs have been obtained. A dismissed batsman is replaced by another batsman until 10 out of the 11 batsman are out. When a set number of overs have been delivered or a team declares.  


Types of shots  


The batsman’s repertoire includes strokes named in accordance to the style of swing and the direction aimed examples include cut, drive, hook and pull. 


Who is cricket for? 


Men, woman, children and seniors can play cricket. If you are looking for a place to start your child playing cricket, then Check fit will provide you with some information as a first point of contact.  


A lot of senior schools have after-school cricket clubs and there are many other ways to get you playing the game. 


If you are interested in playing women's or girls' cricket, then Check Fit will be able to provide information on potential clubs in your area. 


Benefits of playing cricket 


Cricket has a number of health benefits including co-ordination, balance and flexibility. Also running when batting and fielding, increases stamina through cardio therefore it is great for overall phy