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Cricket

   
A cricket match in progress. The beige strip is the cricket pitch. The men wearing black trousers on the far right are the umpires.

Cricket is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players each. It is a bat-and-ball game played on a roughly elliptical grass field, in the centre of which is a hard, flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called the pitch.

At each end of the pitch stand a set of wooden poles called wickets (traditionally made from the wood of the ash tree). A player from one team (the bowler) propels a hard, fist-sized ball(made of cork which is then wrapped in leather.) from one wicket towards the other. A player from the opposing team (the batsman) attempts to defend the wicket from the ball with a wooden cricket bat, traditionally made of willow. Another batsman (the non-striker) stands in an inactive role near the bowler's wicket.

If the batsman hits the ball with his bat, he may run to the other wicket, exchanging places with the non-striker. This scores a run. The batting team attempts to score as many runs as it can, while members of the bowling team gather the ball and return it to either wicket. If the ball strikes a wicket while the nearest batsman is still running, the batsman is out. Batsmen can also be out by other means, such as failing to defend the bowled ball from hitting the wicket, or hitting a catch to a fielder.

Once out, a batsman is replaced by the next batsman in the team. As there must always be two batsmen on the field, if and when the tenth batsman is out, the team's turn to bat or innings (always with a terminal "s" in cricket usage) is over, and the other team may bat while the first team takes the field. Depending on the specific rules of the match, one or two innings may be played, possibly with a fixed number of legally-bowled balls defining the end of an innings rather than ten batsmen having been dismissed. At the end of the match, the winner is the team that has scored the most runs. However, the game may run out of time before it is finished, in which case it is a draw, even if one team is overwhelmingly winning at that point. This is sometimes surprising to those not familiar with the game, but it does add interest to one-sided games by giving the inferior team the incentive to try and achieve a draw even if they cannot win.

Cricket has been an established team sport for several centuries. It originated in its modern form in England, and is popular mainly in the countries of the Commonwealth. In some countries in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, cricket is by far the most popular sport. Cricket is also a major sport in England and Wales, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, which are known in cricketing parlance as the West Indies. It is also a prominent minor sport in countries as diverse as the Netherlands, Israel, Nepal, and Argentina (see also: International Cricket Council).

The length of the game — a match can last six or more hours a day for up to five days in one form of the game — the numerous intervals for lunch and tea, and the rich terminology are notable aspects which can often confuse those not familiar with the sport. For its fans, the sport and the intense rivalries between top cricketing nations provide passionate entertainment and outstanding sporting achievements. It has even occasionally given rise to diplomatic outrage, the most infamous being the Bodyline series played between England and Australia.

A cricket ball used in Test matches. The white stitching is known as the seam.
As One-Day games are often played under floodlights, a white ball is used to aid visibility. A Cricket bat, back and front sides Kids playing Cricket on a make-do Pitch in a park. It is common in many countries for people to play cricket in make do pitches as it is a highly popular sport.

Objective and summary

Cricket is a bat and ball sport. The objective of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team. A match is divided into innings[1] during which one team bats and the other bowls.

If, in a two-innings match, the first team to bat is dismissed in their second innings with a combined first- and second-innings score less than the first-innings score of their opponents (a relatively rare occurrence), the match is concluded and they are said to have lost by an innings and n runs, where n is the difference in score between the teams. If the team batting last is dismissed with the scores exactly equal, i.e. they are one run short of their target (an extremely rare occurrence) the match is a tie.

If the match has only a single innings per side, with a set number of deliveries, and the match is temporarily interrupted by bad weather, then a complex mathematical formula known as the Duckworth-Lewis method is often used to recalculate a new target score.

If such a match is abandoned without completion due to an impossibility of continuing the play, because of an extended period of bad weather, unruly crowd, or any such unlikely event or situation, the result is declared as No-Result if fewer than a previously agreed number of overs has been bowled by either team.

Laws of cricket

The game is played in accordance with 42 laws of cricket, which have been developed by the Marylebone Cricket Club in discussion with the main cricketing nations. Teams may agree to alter some of the rules for particular games. Other rules supplement the main laws and change them to deal with different circumstances. In particular, there are a number of modifications to the playing structure and fielding position rules that apply to one innings games that are restricted to a set number of fair deliveries.

Players and officials

Players

Each team consists of eleven players. Depending on his primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. A balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. One player of the team that is bowling and fielding takes up the role of a wicket-keeper, which is a highly specialised fielding position. A player who excels in both batting and bowling (or occasionally in batting and keeping wicket) is known as an all-rounder.

Umpires

Two on-field umpires preside over a match. One umpire will stand behind the wicket at the end from which the ball is bowled, and adjudicate on most decisions. The other will stand near the fielding position called square leg, which offers a side view of the batsman, and assist on decisions for which he has a better view. In some professional matches, they may refer a decision to an off-field 'third' umpire, who has the assistance of television replays. In international matches an off-field match referee ensures that play is within the laws of cricket and the spirit of the game.

Scorers

Two scorers are appointed, and most often one scorer is provided by each team. The laws of cricket specify that the official scorers are to record all runs scored, wickets taken and (where appropriate) overs bowled. They are to acknowledge signals from the umpire, and to check the accuracy of the score regularly both with each other and, at playing intervals, with the umpires. In practice scorers also keep track of other matters, such as bowlers' analyses, the rate at which the teams bowl their overs, and team statistics such as averages and records. In international and national cricket competitions the media often requires to be notified of records and statistics, so unofficial scorers often keep tally for the broadcast commentators and newspaper journalists. The official scorers occasionally make mistakes, but unlike umpires' mistakes these can be corrected after the event.

The playing field

The cricket field consists of a large circular or oval-shaped grassy ground. There are no fixed dimensions for the field but its diameter usually varies between 450 feet (137 m) to 500 feet (150 m). On most grounds, a rope demarcates the perimeter of the field and is known as the boundary.

The pitch

Most of the action takes place in the centre of this ground, on a rectangular clay strip usually with short grass called the pitch. The pitch measures 10 × 66 feet (3.05 × 20.12 m).

At each end of the pitch three upright wooden poles, called the stumps, are hammered into the ground. Two wooden crosspieces, known as the bails, sit in grooves atop the stumps, linking each to its neighbour. Each set of three stumps and two bails is collectively known as a wicket. One end of the pitch is designated the batting end where the batsman stands and the other is designated the bowling end where the bowler runs in to bowl. The area of the field on the side of the line joining the wickets where the batsman holds his bat (the right-hand side for a right-handed batsman, the left for a left-hander) is known as the off side, the other as the leg side or on side.

Lines drawn or painted on the pitch are known as creases. Creases are used to adjudicate the dismissals of batsmen and to determine whether a delivery is fair.

Parts of the field

For a one-innings match played over a set number of fair deliveries, there are two additional field markings. A painted oval is made by drawing a semicircle of 30 yards (27.4 m) radius from the centre of each wicket with respect to the breadth of the pitch and joining them with lines parallel, 30 yards (27.4 m) to the length of the pitch. This line, commonly known as the circle, divides the field into an infield and outfield. Two circles of radius 15 yards (13.7 m), centred on each wicket and often marked by dots, define the close-infield. The infield, outfield, and the close-infield are used to enforce fielding restrictions.

Placements of players

The team batting always has two batsmen on the field. One batsman, known as the striker, faces and plays the balls bowled by the bowler. His partner stands at the bowling end and is known as the non-striker.

The fielding team has all eleven of its players on the ground, and at any particular time, one of these will be the bowler. The player designated as bowler must change after every over. The wicket-keeper, who generally acts in that role for the whole match, stands or crouches behind the wicket at the batting end. The captain of the fielding team spreads his remaining nine players — the fielders — around the ground to cover most of the area. Their placement may vary dramatically depending on strategy. Each position on the field has a unique label.

Match structure

The toss

On the day of the match, the captains inspect the pitch to determine the type of bowlers whose bowling would be suited for the offered pitch surface and select their eleven players. The two opposing captains then toss a coin. The captain winning the toss may choose either to bat or bowl first.

Overs

Each innings is subdivided into overs. Each over consists of six consecutive legal (see "Extras" for details) deliveries bowled by the same bowler. No bowler is allowed to bowl consecutive overs. After the completion of an over, the bowler takes up a fielding position, while another player takes over the bowling.

After every over, the batting and bowling ends are swapped, and the field positions are adjusted. The umpires swap so the umpire at the bowler's end moves to square leg, and the umpire at square leg moves to the new bowler's end.

End of an innings

An innings is completed if:

  1. Ten out of eleven batsmen are 'out' (dismissed).
  2. A team chasing a given target number of runs to win manages to do so.
  3. The predetermined number of overs are bowled (in a one-day match only, usually 50 overs).
  4. A captain declares his innings closed (this does not apply to one-day limited over matches).
Playing time

Typically, two innings matches are played over three to five days with at least six hours of cricket being played each day. One innings matches are usually played over one day for six hours or more. There are formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea, and shorter breaks for drinks, where necessary. There is also a short interval between innings.

The game is only played in dry weather. Additionally, as in professional cricket it is common for balls to be bowled at over 90 mph (144 km/h), the game needs to be played in daylight that is good enough for a batsman to be able to see the ball. Play is therefore halted during rain (but not usually drizzle) and when there is bad light. Some one-day games are now played under floodlights, but, apart from few experimental games in Australia, floodlights are not used in longer games. Professional cricket is usually played outdoors. These requirements mean that in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe the game is usually played in the summer. In the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh games are played in the winter. In these countries the hurricane and cyclone season coincides with their summers.

Batting and scoring runs

See also: Scoring

Batting
The directions in which a right handed batsman intends to send the ball when playing various cricketing shots.

Batsmen stand waiting for the ball at the batting crease. The wooden bat that a batsman uses consists of a long handle and a flat surface on one side. If the batsman hits the ball with his bat, it is called a shot (or stroke). If the ball brushes the side of the bat it is called an edge or snick. Shots are named according to the style of swing and the direction in the field to which the batsman desires to hit the ball. Depending on the team's strategy, he may be required to bat defensively in an effort to not get out, or to bat aggressively to score runs quickly.

Batsmen come in to bat in a batting order, which is decided by the team captain. The first two positions, known as "openers", are generally a specialised position, as they face the most hostile bowling (the opposing team's fast bowlers are at their freshest and the ball is new). After that, the team typically bats in descending order of batting skill, the first five or six batsmen usually being the best in the team. After them the all-rounders follow and finally the bowlers (who are usually not known for their batting abilities). This order may be changed at any time during the course of the game for strategic reasons.

Run scoring

To score a run, a striker must hit the ball and run to the opposite end of the pitch, while his non-striking partner runs to his end. Both runners must touch the ground behind the popping crease with either his bat or his body to register a run. If the striker hits the ball well enough, the batsmen may double back to score two or more runs. This is known as running between wickets. But there is no tip and run rule, so the batsmen are not required to attempt a run when the ball is hit. If the batsmen score an odd number of runs, then they will have swapped ends and their roles as striker and non-striker will be reversed for the next ball, unless the most recent ball marks the end of an over.

If a fielder knocks the bails off the stumps with the ball while no batsman is grounded behind the nearest popping crease, the nearest batsman is run out. If the ball goes over the boundary, then four runs are scored, or six if the ball has not bounced.

Extras

Every run scored by the batsmen contributes to the team's total. A team's total also includes a number of runs which are unaccredited to any batsmen. These runs are known as extras, apart from in Australia where they are also called sundries. Extras consist of byes, leg byes, no balls, wides and penalty runs. The former two are runs that can be scored if the batsman misses making contact with bat and ball, and the latter two are types of fouls committed by the bowler. For serious infractions such as tampering with the ball, deliberate time-wasting, and damaging the pitch, the umpires may award penalty extras to the opposition; in each case five runs. Five penalty runs are also awarded if a fielder uses anything other than his body to field the ball, or if the ball hits a protective helmet left on the field by the fielding team. A team need not be batting in order to receive penalty extras.

Bowling and dismissals

Bowling
Darren Gough bowling

A bowler delivers the ball toward the batsmen, using what is known as a bowling action: the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out during the action. If the elbow straightens, it is an illegal throw and the delivery is called a no-ball. Under new cricketing law, after consultation with health experts, the bowler is allowed to sraighten his arm 15 degrees or less, if the bowler straightens his or her arm more than 15 degrees it is called a "no ball". This new law came in to prevent injury to bowlers. Usually, the bowler pitches the ball so that it bounces before reaching the batsman. Some part of the bowler's front foot in the delivery stride (that is, the stride when the ball is released) must be behind the popping crease to avoid a no-ball (although the bowler's front foot does not have to be grounded). The ball must also be delivered so it is within the batsman's reach, otherwise it is termed a wide. A wide cannot be called if the batsman hits the ball. A wide or no-ball results in a run to the batting team score, and the ball to be rebowled.

The bowler's primary goal is to take wickets; that is, to get a batsman out or dismissed. If a bowler can dismiss the more accomplished batsmen on the opposing team he reduces the opportunity for them to score, as it exposes the less skilful batsmen. Their next task is to limit the numbers of runs scored per over they bowl. This is known as the Economy rate. If a bowler gets a batsman out, he is credited for this achievement. There are two main kinds of bowlers : pace bowlers and spin bowlers.

Dismissal of a batsman

A batsman is allowed to bat as long as he does not get out (also known as being dismissed). There are ten ways of being dismissed, some of which are credited as wickets to the bowler, some of which are not credited to any player. If the batsman is dismissed, another player from the batting team replaces him until ten batsmen are out and the innings is over.

Many modes of dismissal require the wicket to be "put down". The wicket is put down if a bail is dislodged from the top of the stumps or a stump is struck out of the ground either with the ball, or by a fielder with the ball in his hand. Of the following ten modes of dismissal, the first six are common, while the last four are technicalities which rarely occur. Briefly, the ten modes are:

  • Caught — When a fielder catches the ball before the ball bounces and after the batsman has struck it with the bat or it has come into contact with the batsman's glove while it is in contact with the bat handle. The bowler and catcher are both credited. (Law 32)
  • Bowled — When a delivered ball hits the stumps at the batsman's end, and dislodges one or both of the bails. This happens regardless of whether the batsman has edged the ball onto the stumps or not. The bowler is credited with the dismissal. (Law 30)
  • Leg before wicket (LBW) — When a delivered ball misses the bat and strikes the batsman's leg or pad, and the umpire judges that the ball would otherwise have struck the stumps. The laws of cricket stipulate certain exceptions in favour of the batsman; for instance, a batsman should not be given out LBW if the place where the ball bounced on the pitch is to the leg-side of the area strictly between the two wickets. The bowler is credited with the dismissal.
  • Run out — When a fielder, bowler or wicket-keeper removes one or both of the bails with the ball by hitting the stumps whilst a batsman is still running between the two ends. The ball can either hit the stumps directly or the fielder's hand with the ball inside it can be used to dislodge the bails. Such a dismissal is not officially credited to any player, although the identities of the fielder or fielders involved is often noted in brackets on the scorecard.
  • Stumped — When the batsman leaves his crease in playing a delivery, voluntarily or involuntarily, but the ball goes to the wicket-keeper who uses it to remove one or both of the bails through hitting the bail(s) or the wicket before the batsman has remade his ground. The bowler and wicket-keeper are both credited. This generally requires the keeper to be standing within arm's length of the wicket, which is done mainly to spin bowling. (Law 39)
  • Hit wicket — When the batsman accidentally knocks the stumps with either the body or the bat, causing one or both of the bails to be dislodged, either in playing a shot or in taking off for the first run. The bowler is credited with the dismissal. (Law 35)
  • Handled the ball — When the batsman deliberately handles the ball without the permission of the fielding team. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 33)
  • Hit the ball twice — When the batsman deliberately strikes the ball a second time, except for the sole purpose of guarding his wicket. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 34)
  • Obstructing the field — When a batsman deliberately hinders a fielder from attempting to field the ball. No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 37)
  • Timed out — When a new batsman takes more than three minutes to take his position in the field to replace a dismissed batsman. (If the delay is even more protracted, the umpires may cause the match to be forfeited.) No player is credited with the dismissal. (Law 31)

Additionally, a batsman may leave the field undismissed. For instance, if he is ill or injured, this is known as retired hurt or retired ill. The batsman is not out; he may return to bat later in the same innings if sufficiently recovered. Also, an unimpaired batsman may retire, in which case he is treated as being dismissed retired out; no player is credited with the dismissal.

An individual cannot be out — 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', 'stumped', or 'hit wicket' off a no ball. He cannot be out — 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', or 'hit the ball twice' off a wide.

Some of these modes of dismissal can take place without the bowler bowling a delivery. The batsman who is not on strike may be run out by the bowler if he leaves his crease before the bowler bowls, and a batsman can be out obstructing the field or retired out at any time. Timed out by its nature is a dismissal without a delivery. With all other modes of dismissal, only one batsman can be dismissed per ball bowled. Obstructing the field, Handled the ball, Timed Out and Hit the ball twice dismissals are extremely rare.

Fielding and wicket-keeping

A pair of Wicket Keeping Gloves. The webbing which helps the 'keeper to catch the ball can be seen between the thumb and index fingers.

Fielders assist the bowlers to prevent batsmen from scoring too many runs. They do this in two ways: by taking catches to dismiss a batsman, and by intercepting hit balls and returning them to the pitch to attempt run-outs to restrict the scoring of runs.

The wicket-keeper is a specialist fielder who stands behind the batsman's wicket throughout the game. His primary job is to gather deliveries that the batsman fails to hit, to prevent them running into the outfield, which would enable batsmen to score byes. To this end, he wears special gloves (he is the only fielder allowed to do so) and pads to cover his lower legs. Due to his position directly behind the striker, the wicket-keeper has a good chance of getting a batsman out caught off a fine edge from the bat; thicker edges are typically handled by the "slips" fieldsmen. The wicket-keeper is also the only person who can get a batsman out stumped.

Other roles

Captain

The captain's acumen in deciding the strategy is crucial to the team's success. The captain makes a number of important decisions, including setting field positions, alternating the bowlers and taking the toss. The captain's job on the team is very important but can be rather stressful at times. Much blame is placed on a captain when his team loses. However, it is considered an honour to be in such a privileged position and much praise is given to the captain when his team wins. The burden of the captain's duties can interfere with his quality of play considerably, slightly, or not at all, depending on how well he deals with the stress of his position.

A runner

In the event of a batsman being fit to bat but too injured to run, he may ask the umpire and the fielding captain for a runner. The runner chosen must, if possible, be a player who has already been given out. After a batsman hits the ball, the runner's only task is to run between the wickets in place of the injured batsman.

Substitutes

In one-day international (ODI) cricket and some other limited overs competitions, a single substitution is allowed during the game. A player who is replaced cannot return to the game. This kind of substitute is known as Super Sub, and was introduced in 2005.

In all forms of cricket, if a player gets injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him; though he cannot bowl, bat, or act as a captain or wicket-keeper. Here the substitute is a temporary role and leaves the field once the injured player is fit to return.

History

A basic form of the sport can be traced back to the 13th century, but it may have existed even earlier than that. The game seems to have originated among shepherds and farm workers in the Weald between Kent and Sussex. Written evidence exists of a sport known as creag being played by Prince Edward, the son of Edward I (Longshanks), at Newenden, Kent in 1300.

In 1598, a court case referred to a sport called Creckett being played at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford around 1550. The Oxford English Dictionary gives this as the first recorded instance of cricket in the English language.

A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term cricket. The name may derive from a term for the cricket bat: old French criquet (meaning a kind of club) or Flemish krick(e) (meaning a stick) or in Old English crycc (meaning a crutch or staff). (The latter is problematic, since Old English 'cc' was palatal in pronunciation in the south and the west midlands, roughly ch, which is how crycc leads to crych and thence crutch; the 'k' sound would be possible in the north, however.) Alternatively, the French criquet apparently derives from the Flemish word krickstoel, which is a long low stool on which one kneels in church and which resembles the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket.

During the 17th century, numerous references indicate the growth of cricket in the south-east of England. By the end of the century, it had become an organised activity being played for high stakes and it is possible that the first professionals appeared about that time. We know that a great cricket match with eleven players a side was played for high stakes in Sussex in 1697 and this is the earliest reference we have to cricket in terms of such importance.

The game underwent major development in the 18th Century and had become the national sport of England by the end of the century. Betting played a major part in that development and rich patrons began forming their own "select XIs". Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. The Hambledon Club was founded sometime before 1750 and started playing first-class matches in 1756. For the next 30 years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord's in 1787, Hambledon was the game's greatest club and its focal point. MCC quickly became the sport's premier club and the custodian of the Laws of Cricket.

The 19th Century saw underarm replaced by first roundarm and then overarm bowling. Both developments were accompanied by major controversy. County clubs appeared from 1836 and ultimately formed a County Championship. In 1859, a team of England players went on the first overseas tour (to North America) and 18 years later another England team took part in the first-ever Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia.

Cricket appeared at one Olympic Games, at Paris in 1900. Olympic cricket lasted only two days and Great Britain is the current Olympic champion.

Cricket entered an epochal era in 1963, when English counties modified the rules to provide a variant match form that produced an expedited result: games with a restricted number of overs per side. This gained widespread popularity and resulted in the birth of one-day international (ODI) matches in 1971. The governing International Cricket Council quickly adopted the new form and held the first ODI Cricket World Cup in 1975. Since then, ODI matches have gained mass spectatorship, at the expense of the longer form of the game and to the consternation of fans who prefer the longer form of the game. As of the early 2000s, however, the longer form of cricket is experiencing a growing resurgence in popularity.

Forms of cricket

The first Test cricket match was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) situated in Yarra Park, Melbourne, Australia, in 1877.

Test cricket

Test cricket is a form of international cricket started in 1877 during the 1876/77 English cricket team's tour of Australia. The first Test match began on 15 March 1877 and had a timeless format with four balls per over. It ended on 19 March 1877 with Australia winning by 45 runs.

The Test Cricket Series between England and Australia is called The Ashes, with the trophy being a tiny fragile urn, reputed to hold the ashes of a bail or cricket ball used during the second Test series between the two countries, which was presented to the English Cricket Captain, Ivo Bligh, by a group of Melbourne women, following the Test Series win by the England Cricket Team, during the England Cricket Team's Tour of Australia in 1882/83.

Since then, over 1,700 Test matches have been played and the number of Test playing nations has increased to ten with Bangladesh, the most recent nation elevated to Test status, making its debut in 2000. Test matches are two innings games that must be finished within a five day time period. Tests that are not finished by five days are considered a draw and neither teams gets credit for a win.

One-day cricket

One-day matches, also known as limited overs or instant cricket, were introduced in English domestic cricket in the 1960s due to the growing demands for a shorter and more dramatic form of cricket to stem the decline in attendances. The idea was taken up in the international arena in 1971, during an England team tour of Australia, when a Test match was rained off, and the one-day game has since swollen to become a crowd-pleaser and TV-audience-generator across the globe. The inaugural World Cup in 1975 did much to hasten this. The abbreviations ODI or sometimes LOI (for Limited Overs International) are used for international matches of this type. In one-day cricket, each team bats for only one innings, and it is limited to a number of overs, usually 50 in international matches. Despite its name, a one-day match may go into a second day if play is interrupted by rain. Day and night matches are also played which extend into the night. Innovations such as coloured clothing, frequent tournaments and result oriented-games often resulting in nail-biting finishes have seen ODI cricket gain many supporters. Strategies such as quick scoring, gravity-defying fielding and accurate bowling make this form more invigorating as compared to the Test matches.

First-class matches

A first-class match is generally defined as a high-level international or domestic match that takes place over at least three days on natural (as opposed to artificial) turf. A significant feature of first-class cricket is that games must have two innings per side, in contrast with games where the teams have one innings each (including limited overs matches played by teams that are normally recognised as first-class).

The status of a match depends on the status of the teams contesting it. All Test-playing nations are allowed to play first-class matches, as are their regional, state, provincial or county teams. Matches of Kenya, one of the foremost non-Test-playing nations, with other first class teams are adjudged first class, but its domestic matches are not. As a benchmark, a match can be considered first-class only if both teams have first-class status. Thus, a match between two Test nations, between two domestic teams in full members of the ICC, or between a Test nation and another Test nation's domestic team, may be considered first class. A Test match is also considered to be a first-class match, but one-day internationals are not due to the two innings per side rule.

The point of origin of first-class cricket is an ongoing controversy that is described in the main article.

Other forms of cricket

At lower levels, club cricket is usually played over one to two days, either as a two innings or one innings limited overs match. The game of cricket has also spawned a set of matches with modified rules to attract more fans. The 'Twenty20' rule can be an example of cricket rule modification, since this particular modification enforces a limit of 20 overs per innings, which makes the game rather shorter in order to maximise the attention of the fans. These matches are not recognised by the ICC as official matches.

Other variants of the sport exist and are played in areas as diverse as on sandy beaches or on ice. Families and teenages may play backyard cricket in suburban yards or driveways, typically with an improvised set of rules. This is known as gully cricket in the subcontinent. Some popular rule variations are:

  • "Can not get out first ball". If out on the first ball, the batter may continue to bat. This rule is design to make sure all players spend some time batting.
  • "Six and out". If a batter hits the ball over the fence (scoring six runs) they are out and required to fetch the ball themselves by climbing into a neighbours yard.

Kwik cricket is a form of the sport where the bowler does not have to wait for the batsman to be ready before a delivery, leading to a faster, more exhausting game which is often used in school PE lessons. Indoor cricket is a variant of the game that can be played in a netted, indoor arena.

International structure

ICC member nations. Orange are Test playing nations; green are the associate member nations; and purple are the affiliate member nations.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body for cricket. It is headquartered in Dubai and includes representatives of each of the ten Test-playing nations, as well as an elected panel representing non-Test-playing nations.

Each nation has a national cricket board which regulates cricket matches played in their country. The cricket board also selects the national squad and organises home and away tours for the national team.

Nations playing cricket are separated into three tiers depending on the level of cricket infrastructure in that country. At the highest level are the Test-playing nations. They qualify automatically for the quadrennial World Cup matches. A rung lower are the Associate Member nations. The lowermost rung consists of the Affiliate Member nations.

See also: Non-Test teams to have played ODI matches.


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See also: Non-Test teams to have played ODI matches. Elena said it the best following her victory over Martina Hingis, winning her first Tier I title at Tokyo, "I have never had a 6-0 second set, only against me." (She defeated Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0). The lowermost rung consists of the Affiliate Member nations. Open, losing both times in straight sets. A rung lower are the Associate Member nations. In 2004, she reached the final at the French and U.S. They qualify automatically for the quadrennial World Cup matches. While she manages to consistently rank in the top 10 despite her weak serve, she rarely plays her best in a finals match.

At the highest level are the Test-playing nations. Her toughness is also up for debate. Nations playing cricket are separated into three tiers depending on the level of cricket infrastructure in that country. However, her glaring weakness is her weak serve for a top player. The cricket board also selects the national squad and organises home and away tours for the national team. She has one of the best groundstrokes in the WTA, able to punish with forehands as well as backhands. Each nation has a national cricket board which regulates cricket matches played in their country. Dementieva plays as an aggressive baseliner.

It is headquartered in Dubai and includes representatives of each of the ten Test-playing nations, as well as an elected panel representing non-Test-playing nations. She has won more prize money than any other female Russian tennis player in history and a has won more matches in Grand Slams than any Russian tennis player. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body for cricket. On February 5th, 2006, Elena finally won her first Tier I event, the Toray Pan Pacific Open, by soundly defeating a resurgent Martina Hingis 6-2, 6-0 in just over an hour. Indoor cricket is a variant of the game that can be played in a netted, indoor arena. On January 16, 2006, Dementieva lost her opening round match in the Australian Open 5-7, 2-6 to Julia Schruff. Kwik cricket is a form of the sport where the bowler does not have to wait for the batsman to be ready before a delivery, leading to a faster, more exhausting game which is often used in school PE lessons. At the 2005 WTA Tour Championships she lost all 3 round-robin matches against Amélie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce and Kim Clijsters with 3 times the same score: 6-2 and 6-3.

Some popular rule variations are:. All three pionts came from Demetieva: She avenged her lost to Mary Pierce, beat Amelie Mauresmo, then won the deciding doubles match with partner Dinara Safina. This is known as gully cricket in the subcontinent. Elena led Russia to repeat as Fed Cup champions, beating France 3-2. Families and teenages may play backyard cricket in suburban yards or driveways, typically with an improvised set of rules. Partnering Flavia Pennetta of Italy, she reached her second doubles final at the US Open. Other variants of the sport exist and are played in areas as diverse as on sandy beaches or on ice. She reached the semifinals of the 2005 US Open where she lost to French woman Mary Pierce 6-3 2-6 2-6.

These matches are not recognised by the ICC as official matches. 19-year-old countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Dementieva in straight sets in the final, becoming the third consecutive Russian woman first-time grand slam winner. The 'Twenty20' rule can be an example of cricket rule modification, since this particular modification enforces a limit of 20 overs per innings, which makes the game rather shorter in order to maximise the attention of the fans. Later that year, at the US Open, she reached her second Grand Slam final, defeating Jennifer Capriati and Amelie Mauresmo on the way. The game of cricket has also spawned a set of matches with modified rules to attract more fans. Incidentally, the last female Russian Grand Slam finalist was Dementieva's coach, Morozova at 1974 Roland Garros and Wimbledon. At lower levels, club cricket is usually played over one to two days, either as a two innings or one innings limited overs match. Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin watched the match.

The point of origin of first-class cricket is an ongoing controversy that is described in the main article. She lost to compatriot Anastasia Myskina in the first all-Russian Grand Slam final. A Test match is also considered to be a first-class match, but one-day internationals are not due to the two innings per side rule. 1 Lindsay Davenport in straight sets on the way. Thus, a match between two Test nations, between two domestic teams in full members of the ICC, or between a Test nation and another Test nation's domestic team, may be considered first class. In May, at Roland Garros, she reached her first Grand Slam final, defeating former world no. As a benchmark, a match can be considered first-class only if both teams have first-class status. 9 Nadia Petrova, it was the first time that three Russians appeared in the WTA top 10 simultaneously.

Matches of Kenya, one of the foremost non-Test-playing nations, with other first class teams are adjudged first class, but its domestic matches are not. 5 Myskina and no. All Test-playing nations are allowed to play first-class matches, as are their regional, state, provincial or county teams. With no. The status of a match depends on the status of the teams contesting it. On April 5, she reached her highest singles ranking at sixth in the world. A significant feature of first-class cricket is that games must have two innings per side, in contrast with games where the teams have one innings each (including limited overs matches played by teams that are normally recognised as first-class). Serena won the match.

A first-class match is generally defined as a high-level international or domestic match that takes place over at least three days on natural (as opposed to artificial) turf. 1, top seed and two-time defending Serena Williams. Strategies such as quick scoring, gravity-defying fielding and accurate bowling make this form more invigorating as compared to the Test matches. 1 Venus Williams, who was seeded second, in the semifinal, then faced former world no. Innovations such as coloured clothing, frequent tournaments and result oriented-games often resulting in nail-biting finishes have seen ODI cricket gain many supporters. At Miami, seeded 5th, she eliminated former world no. Day and night matches are also played which extend into the night. In 2004, Dementieva had a breakthrough year.

Despite its name, a one-day match may go into a second day if play is interrupted by rain. In addition, she reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon doubles with her friend and compatriot Lina Krasnoroutskaya, beating the Williams sisters on the way. In one-day cricket, each team bats for only one innings, and it is limited to a number of overs, usually 50 in international matches. She finished 2003 in the top 10. The abbreviations ODI or sometimes LOI (for Limited Overs International) are used for international matches of this type. In 2003, she also won back-to-back titles in Bali and Shanghai, defeating Chanda Rubin in the final in both events. The inaugural World Cup in 1975 did much to hasten this. She was the lowest seed (10th) to win the tournament in its 24-year history.

The idea was taken up in the international arena in 1971, during an England team tour of Australia, when a Test match was rained off, and the one-day game has since swollen to become a crowd-pleaser and TV-audience-generator across the globe. 2 Lindsay Davenport. One-day matches, also known as limited overs or instant cricket, were introduced in English domestic cricket in the 1960s due to the growing demands for a shorter and more dramatic form of cricket to stem the decline in attendances. 1 Justin Henin, and world no. Tests that are not finished by five days are considered a draw and neither teams gets credit for a win. At Amelia Island, she won her first WTA tour title, defeating Amanda Coetzer, Daniela Hantuchová, then world no. Test matches are two innings games that must be finished within a five day time period. In 2003, she played the most tournaments among top 10 players (27) and won approximately US $900,000 in prize money.

Since then, over 1,700 Test matches have been played and the number of Test playing nations has increased to ten with Bangladesh, the most recent nation elevated to Test status, making its debut in 2000. Partnering Janette Husarova of Slovakia, she reached her first Grand Slam final at the US Open and won the Year End Championships. The Test Cricket Series between England and Australia is called The Ashes, with the trophy being a tiny fragile urn, reputed to hold the ashes of a bail or cricket ball used during the second Test series between the two countries, which was presented to the English Cricket Captain, Ivo Bligh, by a group of Melbourne women, following the Test Series win by the England Cricket Team, during the England Cricket Team's Tour of Australia in 1882/83. 2002 was her best year in doubles. It ended on 19 March 1877 with Australia winning by 45 runs. 1 Russian tennis player, a position previously held by Anna Kournikova since December 1997. The first Test match began on 15 March 1877 and had a timeless format with four balls per over. she became the no.

Test cricket is a form of international cricket started in 1877 during the 1876/77 English cricket team's tour of Australia. During the year. As of the early 2000s, however, the longer form of cricket is experiencing a growing resurgence in popularity. 2001 was the second straight year in which she finished in the WTA's top 20. Since then, ODI matches have gained mass spectatorship, at the expense of the longer form of the game and to the consternation of fans who prefer the longer form of the game. In 2000, she was named the WTA tour's Most Improved Player. The governing International Cricket Council quickly adopted the new form and held the first ODI Cricket World Cup in 1975. At the 2000 Summer Olympics, Sydney, she won the silver medal, losing to Venus Williams in the final.

This gained widespread popularity and resulted in the birth of one-day international (ODI) matches in 1971. She reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, losing to Lindsay Davenport and becoming the first woman from Russia to reach a US Open semifinal. Cricket entered an epochal era in 1963, when English counties modified the rules to provide a variant match form that produced an expedited result: games with a restricted number of overs per side. In 2000, she entered the top 20 by winning more than 40 singles matches for the second straight year and earned more than US $600,000. Olympic cricket lasted only two days and Great Britain is the current Olympic champion. She managed to reach the second round at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, made a first round exit at Wimbledon, and managed to reach the third round of the US Open. Cricket appeared at one Olympic Games, at Paris in 1900. 1999 was also the year in which she played her first Grand Slam main draws qualifying for Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and getting a direct entry into the US Open.

In 1859, a team of England players went on the first overseas tour (to North America) and 18 years later another England team took part in the first-ever Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia. In 1999, she represented Russia in the Fed Cup final against the USA, scoring Russia's only point. County clubs appeared from 1836 and ultimately formed a County Championship. She turned professional in 1998 and went on to enter the top 100 in 1999. Both developments were accompanied by major controversy. In 1997, she entered the WTA top 500. The 19th Century saw underarm replaced by first roundarm and then overarm bowling. Dementieva played and won her first international tournament, Les Petits Aces, in France at the age of 13.

MCC quickly became the sport's premier club and the custodian of the Laws of Cricket. . For the next 30 years until the formation of MCC and the opening of Lord's in 1787, Hambledon was the game's greatest club and its focal point. With Amelie Mauresmo capturing the 2006 Australian Open, the title of Best Player to have never captured a Slam has generally been given to her. The Hambledon Club was founded sometime before 1750 and started playing first-class matches in 1756. Yelena Vyacheslavovna Dementyeva (Russian: Елена Вячеславовна Дементьева; born October 15, 1981, Moscow), better known as Elena Dementieva, is a professional tennis player from Russia. Cricket was prominent in London as early as 1707 and large crowds flocked to matches on the Artillery Ground in Finsbury. 2005: Los Angeles (with Flavia Pennetta).

Betting played a major part in that development and rich patrons began forming their own "select XIs". 2003: 's Hertogenbosch (with Lina Krasnoroutskaya). The game underwent major development in the 18th Century and had become the national sport of England by the end of the century. 2002: WTA Tour Championships (with Janette Husarova). We know that a great cricket match with eleven players a side was played for high stakes in Sussex in 1697 and this is the earliest reference we have to cricket in terms of such importance. 2002: Moscow (with Janette Husarova). By the end of the century, it had become an organised activity being played for high stakes and it is possible that the first professionals appeared about that time. 2002: San Diego (with Janette Husarova).

During the 17th century, numerous references indicate the growth of cricket in the south-east of England. 2002: Berlin (with Janette Husarova). (The latter is problematic, since Old English 'cc' was palatal in pronunciation in the south and the west midlands, roughly ch, which is how crycc leads to crych and thence crutch; the 'k' sound would be possible in the north, however.) Alternatively, the French criquet apparently derives from the Flemish word krickstoel, which is a long low stool on which one kneels in church and which resembles the long low wicket with two stumps used in early cricket. 2005: Philadelphia (lost to Amélie Mauresmo). The name may derive from a term for the cricket bat: old French criquet (meaning a kind of club) or Flemish krick(e) (meaning a stick) or in Old English crycc (meaning a crutch or staff). 2005: Charleston (lost to Justine Henin-Hardenne). A number of words are thought to be possible sources for the term cricket. 2004: Moscow (lost to Anastasia Myskina).

The Oxford English Dictionary gives this as the first recorded instance of cricket in the English language. Open (lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova). In 1598, a court case referred to a sport called Creckett being played at the Royal Grammar School, Guildford around 1550. 2004: U.S. Written evidence exists of a sport known as creag being played by Prince Edward, the son of Edward I (Longshanks), at Newenden, Kent in 1300. 2004: French Open (lost to Anastasia Myskina). The game seems to have originated among shepherds and farm workers in the Weald between Kent and Sussex. 2004: Miami (lost to Serena Williams).

A basic form of the sport can be traced back to the 13th century, but it may have existed even earlier than that. 2002: ’s-Hertogenbosch (lost to Eleni Daniilidou). Here the substitute is a temporary role and leaves the field once the injured player is fit to return. 2001: Moscow (lost to Jelena Dokic). In all forms of cricket, if a player gets injured or becomes ill during a match, a substitute is allowed to field instead of him; though he cannot bowl, bat, or act as a captain or wicket-keeper. 2001: Acapulco (lost to Amanda Coetzer). This kind of substitute is known as Super Sub, and was introduced in 2005. 2000: The Olympics-Sydney (lost to Venus Williams).

A player who is replaced cannot return to the game. In one-day international (ODI) cricket and some other limited overs competitions, a single substitution is allowed during the game. After a batsman hits the ball, the runner's only task is to run between the wickets in place of the injured batsman. The runner chosen must, if possible, be a player who has already been given out.

In the event of a batsman being fit to bat but too injured to run, he may ask the umpire and the fielding captain for a runner. The burden of the captain's duties can interfere with his quality of play considerably, slightly, or not at all, depending on how well he deals with the stress of his position. However, it is considered an honour to be in such a privileged position and much praise is given to the captain when his team wins. Much blame is placed on a captain when his team loses.

The captain's job on the team is very important but can be rather stressful at times. The captain makes a number of important decisions, including setting field positions, alternating the bowlers and taking the toss. The captain's acumen in deciding the strategy is crucial to the team's success. The wicket-keeper is also the only person who can get a batsman out stumped.

Due to his position directly behind the striker, the wicket-keeper has a good chance of getting a batsman out caught off a fine edge from the bat; thicker edges are typically handled by the "slips" fieldsmen. To this end, he wears special gloves (he is the only fielder allowed to do so) and pads to cover his lower legs. His primary job is to gather deliveries that the batsman fails to hit, to prevent them running into the outfield, which would enable batsmen to score byes. The wicket-keeper is a specialist fielder who stands behind the batsman's wicket throughout the game.

They do this in two ways: by taking catches to dismiss a batsman, and by intercepting hit balls and returning them to the pitch to attempt run-outs to restrict the scoring of runs. Fielders assist the bowlers to prevent batsmen from scoring too many runs. Obstructing the field, Handled the ball, Timed Out and Hit the ball twice dismissals are extremely rare. With all other modes of dismissal, only one batsman can be dismissed per ball bowled.

Timed out by its nature is a dismissal without a delivery. The batsman who is not on strike may be run out by the bowler if he leaves his crease before the bowler bowls, and a batsman can be out obstructing the field or retired out at any time. Some of these modes of dismissal can take place without the bowler bowling a delivery. He cannot be out — 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', or 'hit the ball twice' off a wide.

An individual cannot be out — 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', 'stumped', or 'hit wicket' off a no ball. Also, an unimpaired batsman may retire, in which case he is treated as being dismissed retired out; no player is credited with the dismissal. The batsman is not out; he may return to bat later in the same innings if sufficiently recovered. For instance, if he is ill or injured, this is known as retired hurt or retired ill.

Additionally, a batsman may leave the field undismissed. Briefly, the ten modes are:. Of the following ten modes of dismissal, the first six are common, while the last four are technicalities which rarely occur. The wicket is put down if a bail is dislodged from the top of the stumps or a stump is struck out of the ground either with the ball, or by a fielder with the ball in his hand.

Many modes of dismissal require the wicket to be "put down". If the batsman is dismissed, another player from the batting team replaces him until ten batsmen are out and the innings is over. There are ten ways of being dismissed, some of which are credited as wickets to the bowler, some of which are not credited to any player. A batsman is allowed to bat as long as he does not get out (also known as being dismissed).

There are two main kinds of bowlers : pace bowlers and spin bowlers. If a bowler gets a batsman out, he is credited for this achievement. This is known as the Economy rate. Their next task is to limit the numbers of runs scored per over they bowl.

If a bowler can dismiss the more accomplished batsmen on the opposing team he reduces the opportunity for them to score, as it exposes the less skilful batsmen. The bowler's primary goal is to take wickets; that is, to get a batsman out or dismissed. A wide or no-ball results in a run to the batting team score, and the ball to be rebowled. A wide cannot be called if the batsman hits the ball.

The ball must also be delivered so it is within the batsman's reach, otherwise it is termed a wide. Some part of the bowler's front foot in the delivery stride (that is, the stride when the ball is released) must be behind the popping crease to avoid a no-ball (although the bowler's front foot does not have to be grounded). Usually, the bowler pitches the ball so that it bounces before reaching the batsman. This new law came in to prevent injury to bowlers.

Under new cricketing law, after consultation with health experts, the bowler is allowed to sraighten his arm 15 degrees or less, if the bowler straightens his or her arm more than 15 degrees it is called a "no ball". If the elbow straightens, it is an illegal throw and the delivery is called a no-ball. A bowler delivers the ball toward the batsmen, using what is known as a bowling action: the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out during the action. A team need not be batting in order to receive penalty extras.

Five penalty runs are also awarded if a fielder uses anything other than his body to field the ball, or if the ball hits a protective helmet left on the field by the fielding team. For serious infractions such as tampering with the ball, deliberate time-wasting, and damaging the pitch, the umpires may award penalty extras to the opposition; in each case five runs. The former two are runs that can be scored if the batsman misses making contact with bat and ball, and the latter two are types of fouls committed by the bowler. Extras consist of byes, leg byes, no balls, wides and penalty runs.

These runs are known as extras, apart from in Australia where they are also called sundries. A team's total also includes a number of runs which are unaccredited to any batsmen. Every run scored by the batsmen contributes to the team's total. If the ball goes over the boundary, then four runs are scored, or six if the ball has not bounced.

If a fielder knocks the bails off the stumps with the ball while no batsman is grounded behind the nearest popping crease, the nearest batsman is run out. If the batsmen score an odd number of runs, then they will have swapped ends and their roles as striker and non-striker will be reversed for the next ball, unless the most recent ball marks the end of an over. But there is no tip and run rule, so the batsmen are not required to attempt a run when the ball is hit. This is known as running between wickets.

If the striker hits the ball well enough, the batsmen may double back to score two or more runs. Both runners must touch the ground behind the popping crease with either his bat or his body to register a run. To score a run, a striker must hit the ball and run to the opposite end of the pitch, while his non-striking partner runs to his end. This order may be changed at any time during the course of the game for strategic reasons.

After them the all-rounders follow and finally the bowlers (who are usually not known for their batting abilities). After that, the team typically bats in descending order of batting skill, the first five or six batsmen usually being the best in the team. The first two positions, known as "openers", are generally a specialised position, as they face the most hostile bowling (the opposing team's fast bowlers are at their freshest and the ball is new). Batsmen come in to bat in a batting order, which is decided by the team captain.

Depending on the team's strategy, he may be required to bat defensively in an effort to not get out, or to bat aggressively to score runs quickly. Shots are named according to the style of swing and the direction in the field to which the batsman desires to hit the ball. If the ball brushes the side of the bat it is called an edge or snick. If the batsman hits the ball with his bat, it is called a shot (or stroke).

The wooden bat that a batsman uses consists of a long handle and a flat surface on one side. Batsmen stand waiting for the ball at the batting crease. See also: Scoring. In these countries the hurricane and cyclone season coincides with their summers.

In the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh games are played in the winter. These requirements mean that in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe the game is usually played in the summer. Professional cricket is usually played outdoors. Some one-day games are now played under floodlights, but, apart from few experimental games in Australia, floodlights are not used in longer games.

Play is therefore halted during rain (but not usually drizzle) and when there is bad light. Additionally, as in professional cricket it is common for balls to be bowled at over 90 mph (144 km/h), the game needs to be played in daylight that is good enough for a batsman to be able to see the ball. The game is only played in dry weather. There is also a short interval between innings.

There are formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea, and shorter breaks for drinks, where necessary. One innings matches are usually played over one day for six hours or more. Typically, two innings matches are played over three to five days with at least six hours of cricket being played each day. An innings is completed if:.

The umpires swap so the umpire at the bowler's end moves to square leg, and the umpire at square leg moves to the new bowler's end. After every over, the batting and bowling ends are swapped, and the field positions are adjusted. After the completion of an over, the bowler takes up a fielding position, while another player takes over the bowling. No bowler is allowed to bowl consecutive overs.

Each over consists of six consecutive legal (see "Extras" for details) deliveries bowled by the same bowler. Each innings is subdivided into overs. The captain winning the toss may choose either to bat or bowl first. The two opposing captains then toss a coin.

On the day of the match, the captains inspect the pitch to determine the type of bowlers whose bowling would be suited for the offered pitch surface and select their eleven players. Each position on the field has a unique label. Their placement may vary dramatically depending on strategy. The captain of the fielding team spreads his remaining nine players — the fielders — around the ground to cover most of the area.

The wicket-keeper, who generally acts in that role for the whole match, stands or crouches behind the wicket at the batting end. The player designated as bowler must change after every over. The fielding team has all eleven of its players on the ground, and at any particular time, one of these will be the bowler. His partner stands at the bowling end and is known as the non-striker.

One batsman, known as the striker, faces and plays the balls bowled by the bowler. The team batting always has two batsmen on the field. The infield, outfield, and the close-infield are used to enforce fielding restrictions. Two circles of radius 15 yards (13.7 m), centred on each wicket and often marked by dots, define the close-infield.

This line, commonly known as the circle, divides the field into an infield and outfield. A painted oval is made by drawing a semicircle of 30 yards (27.4 m) radius from the centre of each wicket with respect to the breadth of the pitch and joining them with lines parallel, 30 yards (27.4 m) to the length of the pitch. For a one-innings match played over a set number of fair deliveries, there are two additional field markings. Creases are used to adjudicate the dismissals of batsmen and to determine whether a delivery is fair.

Lines drawn or painted on the pitch are known as creases. The area of the field on the side of the line joining the wickets where the batsman holds his bat (the right-hand side for a right-handed batsman, the left for a left-hander) is known as the off side, the other as the leg side or on side. One end of the pitch is designated the batting end where the batsman stands and the other is designated the bowling end where the bowler runs in to bowl. Each set of three stumps and two bails is collectively known as a wicket.

Two wooden crosspieces, known as the bails, sit in grooves atop the stumps, linking each to its neighbour. At each end of the pitch three upright wooden poles, called the stumps, are hammered into the ground. The pitch measures 10 × 66 feet (3.05 × 20.12 m). Most of the action takes place in the centre of this ground, on a rectangular clay strip usually with short grass called the pitch.

On most grounds, a rope demarcates the perimeter of the field and is known as the boundary. There are no fixed dimensions for the field but its diameter usually varies between 450 feet (137 m) to 500 feet (150 m). The cricket field consists of a large circular or oval-shaped grassy ground. The official scorers occasionally make mistakes, but unlike umpires' mistakes these can be corrected after the event.

In international and national cricket competitions the media often requires to be notified of records and statistics, so unofficial scorers often keep tally for the broadcast commentators and newspaper journalists. In practice scorers also keep track of other matters, such as bowlers' analyses, the rate at which the teams bowl their overs, and team statistics such as averages and records. They are to acknowledge signals from the umpire, and to check the accuracy of the score regularly both with each other and, at playing intervals, with the umpires. The laws of cricket specify that the official scorers are to record all runs scored, wickets taken and (where appropriate) overs bowled.

Two scorers are appointed, and most often one scorer is provided by each team. In international matches an off-field match referee ensures that play is within the laws of cricket and the spirit of the game. In some professional matches, they may refer a decision to an off-field 'third' umpire, who has the assistance of television replays. The other will stand near the fielding position called square leg, which offers a side view of the batsman, and assist on decisions for which he has a better view.

One umpire will stand behind the wicket at the end from which the ball is bowled, and adjudicate on most decisions. Two on-field umpires preside over a match. A player who excels in both batting and bowling (or occasionally in batting and keeping wicket) is known as an all-rounder. One player of the team that is bowling and fielding takes up the role of a wicket-keeper, which is a highly specialised fielding position.

A balanced team usually has five or six specialist batsmen and four or five specialist bowlers. Depending on his primary skills, a player may be classified as a specialist batsman or bowler. Each team consists of eleven players. In particular, there are a number of modifications to the playing structure and fielding position rules that apply to one innings games that are restricted to a set number of fair deliveries.

Other rules supplement the main laws and change them to deal with different circumstances. Teams may agree to alter some of the rules for particular games. The game is played in accordance with 42 laws of cricket, which have been developed by the Marylebone Cricket Club in discussion with the main cricketing nations. If such a match is abandoned without completion due to an impossibility of continuing the play, because of an extended period of bad weather, unruly crowd, or any such unlikely event or situation, the result is declared as No-Result if fewer than a previously agreed number of overs has been bowled by either team.

If the match has only a single innings per side, with a set number of deliveries, and the match is temporarily interrupted by bad weather, then a complex mathematical formula known as the Duckworth-Lewis method is often used to recalculate a new target score. they are one run short of their target (an extremely rare occurrence) the match is a tie. If the team batting last is dismissed with the scores exactly equal, i.e. If, in a two-innings match, the first team to bat is dismissed in their second innings with a combined first- and second-innings score less than the first-innings score of their opponents (a relatively rare occurrence), the match is concluded and they are said to have lost by an innings and n runs, where n is the difference in score between the teams.

A match is divided into innings[1] during which one team bats and the other bowls. The objective of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team. Cricket is a bat and ball sport. .

It has even occasionally given rise to diplomatic outrage, the most infamous being the Bodyline series played between England and Australia. For its fans, the sport and the intense rivalries between top cricketing nations provide passionate entertainment and outstanding sporting achievements. The length of the game — a match can last six or more hours a day for up to five days in one form of the game — the numerous intervals for lunch and tea, and the rich terminology are notable aspects which can often confuse those not familiar with the sport. It is also a prominent minor sport in countries as diverse as the Netherlands, Israel, Nepal, and Argentina (see also: International Cricket Council).

Cricket is also a major sport in England and Wales, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, which are known in cricketing parlance as the West Indies. In some countries in South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, cricket is by far the most popular sport. It originated in its modern form in England, and is popular mainly in the countries of the Commonwealth. Cricket has been an established team sport for several centuries.

This is sometimes surprising to those not familiar with the game, but it does add interest to one-sided games by giving the inferior team the incentive to try and achieve a draw even if they cannot win. However, the game may run out of time before it is finished, in which case it is a draw, even if one team is overwhelmingly winning at that point. At the end of the match, the winner is the team that has scored the most runs. Depending on the specific rules of the match, one or two innings may be played, possibly with a fixed number of legally-bowled balls defining the end of an innings rather than ten batsmen having been dismissed.

As there must always be two batsmen on the field, if and when the tenth batsman is out, the team's turn to bat or innings (always with a terminal "s" in cricket usage) is over, and the other team may bat while the first team takes the field. Once out, a batsman is replaced by the next batsman in the team. Batsmen can also be out by other means, such as failing to defend the bowled ball from hitting the wicket, or hitting a catch to a fielder. If the ball strikes a wicket while the nearest batsman is still running, the batsman is out.

The batting team attempts to score as many runs as it can, while members of the bowling team gather the ball and return it to either wicket. This scores a run. If the batsman hits the ball with his bat, he may run to the other wicket, exchanging places with the non-striker. Another batsman (the non-striker) stands in an inactive role near the bowler's wicket.

A player from the opposing team (the batsman) attempts to defend the wicket from the ball with a wooden cricket bat, traditionally made of willow. A player from one team (the bowler) propels a hard, fist-sized ball(made of cork which is then wrapped in leather.) from one wicket towards the other. At each end of the pitch stand a set of wooden poles called wickets (traditionally made from the wood of the ash tree). It is a bat-and-ball game played on a roughly elliptical grass field, in the centre of which is a hard, flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called the pitch.

Cricket is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players each. If a batter hits the ball over the fence (scoring six runs) they are out and required to fetch the ball themselves by climbing into a neighbours yard. "Six and out". This rule is design to make sure all players spend some time batting.

If out on the first ball, the batter may continue to bat. "Can not get out first ball". (Law 31). (If the delay is even more protracted, the umpires may cause the match to be forfeited.) No player is credited with the dismissal.

Timed out — When a new batsman takes more than three minutes to take his position in the field to replace a dismissed batsman. (Law 37). No player is credited with the dismissal. Obstructing the field — When a batsman deliberately hinders a fielder from attempting to field the ball.

(Law 34). No player is credited with the dismissal. Hit the ball twice — When the batsman deliberately strikes the ball a second time, except for the sole purpose of guarding his wicket. (Law 33).

No player is credited with the dismissal. Handled the ball — When the batsman deliberately handles the ball without the permission of the fielding team. (Law 35). The bowler is credited with the dismissal.

Hit wicket — When the batsman accidentally knocks the stumps with either the body or the bat, causing one or both of the bails to be dislodged, either in playing a shot or in taking off for the first run. (Law 39). This generally requires the keeper to be standing within arm's length of the wicket, which is done mainly to spin bowling. The bowler and wicket-keeper are both credited.

Stumped — When the batsman leaves his crease in playing a delivery, voluntarily or involuntarily, but the ball goes to the wicket-keeper who uses it to remove one or both of the bails through hitting the bail(s) or the wicket before the batsman has remade his ground. Such a dismissal is not officially credited to any player, although the identities of the fielder or fielders involved is often noted in brackets on the scorecard. The ball can either hit the stumps directly or the fielder's hand with the ball inside it can be used to dislodge the bails. Run out — When a fielder, bowler or wicket-keeper removes one or both of the bails with the ball by hitting the stumps whilst a batsman is still running between the two ends.

The bowler is credited with the dismissal. The laws of cricket stipulate certain exceptions in favour of the batsman; for instance, a batsman should not be given out LBW if the place where the ball bounced on the pitch is to the leg-side of the area strictly between the two wickets. Leg before wicket (LBW) — When a delivered ball misses the bat and strikes the batsman's leg or pad, and the umpire judges that the ball would otherwise have struck the stumps. (Law 30).

The bowler is credited with the dismissal. This happens regardless of whether the batsman has edged the ball onto the stumps or not. Bowled — When a delivered ball hits the stumps at the batsman's end, and dislodges one or both of the bails. (Law 32).

The bowler and catcher are both credited. Caught — When a fielder catches the ball before the ball bounces and after the batsman has struck it with the bat or it has come into contact with the batsman's glove while it is in contact with the bat handle. A captain declares his innings closed (this does not apply to one-day limited over matches). The predetermined number of overs are bowled (in a one-day match only, usually 50 overs).

A team chasing a given target number of runs to win manages to do so. Ten out of eleven batsmen are 'out' (dismissed).

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