An Explainer: The Rules of Cricket

Most Americans have heard of Cricket and know what it looks like when it is played, but few understand how the game is actually played. This guide will help teach you a little about cricket so that if you ever catch a clip of it on the internet or are stuck in an international airport and it’s the only thing on the TVs there,  you can follow along enough to not be completely confused.

The two most important positions:

Chances are if you have ever seen Cricket, you would have seen the two players in the center on the pitch. One of them throwing the ball in a motion mixed of a softball and baseball pitch and one attempting to hit the ball with a paddle. The player throwing the ball is called a bowler. The player hitting is called a batsman. In total there are 11 players on each team.

How a team scores:

During a teams offensive, they have two batsmen on the field standing at each of the wickets in the center of the pitch. The goal of the batsman is to hit the ball. When the ball lands, the two batsmen run to the wicket opposite of theirs and every time they reach the other wicket, they receive a point. If the batsman hits the ball out of play it is called a ‘sixer’ and equals scoring six points. If the batsman hits the ball to what is called ‘the boundary’ it equals four points.

How players get out:

There are several ways to get a batsman out, but here are three common ways:

  • If the batsman hits the ball and it is caught before the ball touches the ground, the batsman is out.
  • If the bowler knocks an object called a ‘bail’ off the wicket behind a batsman, the bowler only gets six throws before he has to be replaced by a teammate. This is called an ‘over’.
  • When a ball lands on the pitch and a fielder gets the ball and knocks the bails off the wicket before the batsman gets to that wicket, that batsman is out. Once ten of the team’s batsman have gotten out, the teams switch offense and defense.

How you win a Cricket match:

Cricket has multiple versions. The younger the version, the shorter the match time. The oldest version of Cricket could last up to five days! The newest and most commonly used version of the game limits matches to around three hours. In this version, each team is limited to 20 overs and whichever team has the most points at the end is the winner.