Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped
field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats,
trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields,
trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the runs scored by the batting team.
A run is scored by the striking batsman hitting the ball with his bat, running to
the opposite end of the pitch and touching the crease there without being dismissed.
The teams switch between batting and fielding at the end of an innings.
In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs of six bowling
deliveries per side to Test cricket played over five days. The Laws of Cricket are
maintained by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket
Club (MCC) with additional Standard Playing Conditions for Test matches and One
Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of
the 18th century, it had developed into the national sport of England. The expansion
of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century
the first international matches were being held. The ICC, the game's governing body,
has ten full members.
Laws of Cricket
The Marylebone Cricket Club is the framer of the Laws of Cricket, the rules governing
play of the game. The Laws are intended to apply to all two innings matches; the
International Cricket Council has implemented "Standard Playing Conditions for Test
Matches" and "Standard Playing Conditions for One Day Internationals" to augment
the Laws of Cricket. Similarly, each cricketing country has implemented Playing
Conditions to govern domestic cricket. The Laws provide for One-day, or Limited
overs cricket (including Twenty20) by stipulating that the number of innings per
side may be one or two, and that each innings may be restricted to a maximum number
of overs, or a maximum period of time. The Laws retain the Imperial units as they
were originally specified, but now also include metric conversions. The Laws are
organised into a Preface, a Preamble, forty-two Laws, and four appendices. The Preface
relates to the Marylebone Cricket Club and the history of the Laws. The Preamble
is a new addition and is related to "the Spirit of the Game;" it was introduced
to discourage the increasing practices of ungentlemanly conduct. Eight amendments
were made to the laws which dealt with bad light, the toss, spirit of cricket, practice
sessions, fielding athleticism and rare dismissals on September 30, 2010 w.e.f October
1, 2010. These amendments can be read here The Laws themselves deal with the following:
Players and officials
In men's cricket the ball must weigh between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (155.9 and 163
g) and measure between 8 13/16 and 9 in (22.4 and 22.9 cm) in circumference. The
Cricket pitch dimensions A wicket consists of three stumps, upright wooden poles
that are hammered into the ground, topped with two wooden crosspieces, known as
the bails. The first four laws cover the players, the umpires and the scorers.
Law 1: The players. A cricket team consists of eleven players, including
a captain. Outside of official competitions, teams can agree to play more than eleven-a-side,
though no more than eleven players may field.
Law 2: Substitutes. In cricket, a substitute may be brought on for
an injured fielder. However, a substitute may not bat, bowl, keep wicket or act
as captain. The original player may return if he has recovered. A batsman who becomes
unable to run may have a runner, who completes the runs while the batsman continues
batting. Alternatively, a batsman may retire hurt or ill, and may return later to
resume his innings if he recovers.
Law 3: The umpires. There are two umpires, who apply the Laws, make
all necessary decisions, and relay the decisions to the scorers. While not required
under the laws of cricket, in higher level cricket a third umpire (located off the
ground and available to assist the on-field umpires) may be used under the specific
playing conditions of a particular match or tournament.
Law 4: The scorers. There are two scorers who respond to the umpires'
signals and keep the score.
Equipment and laying out the pitch
After dealing with the players, the laws move on to discuss equipment and pitch
specifications, except for specifications about the wicket-keeper's gloves, which
are dealt with in Law 40. These laws are supplemented by Appendices A and B.
Law 5: The ball. A cricket ball is between 8 13/16 and 9 inches (22.4
cm and 22.9 cm) in circumference, and weighs between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (155.9g
and 163g). Only one ball is used at a time, unless it is lost, when it is replaced
with a ball of similar wear. It is also replaced at the start of each innings, and
may, at the request of the fielding side, be replaced with a new ball, after a certain
number of overs have been bowled (80 in Test matches, 34 in ODIs). The gradual degradation
of the ball through the innings is an important aspect of the game.
Law 6: The bat. The bat is no more than 38 inches (97 cm) in length,
and no more than 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) wide. The hand or glove holding the bat is
considered part of the bat. Ever since the Heavy Metal incident, a highly publicized
marketing attempt by Dennis Lillee, who brought out an aluminium bat during an international
game, the laws have provided that the blade of the bat must be made of wood (and
in practice, they are made from White Willow wood).
Law 7: The pitch. The pitch is a rectangular area of the ground 22
yards (20 m) long and 10 ft (3.0 m) wide. The Ground Authority selects and prepares
the pitch, but once the game has started, the umpires control what happens to the
pitch. The umpires are also the arbiters of whether the pitch is fit for play, and
if they deem it unfit, with the consent of both captains can change the pitch. Professional
cricket is almost always played on a grass surface. However, in the event a non-turf
pitch is used, the artificial surface must have a minimum length of 58 ft (18 m)
and a minimum width of 6 ft (1.8 m).
Law 8: The wickets. The wicket consists of three wooden stumps that
are 28 inches (71 cm) tall. The stumps are placed along the batting crease with
equal distances between each stump. They are positioned so they are 9 inches (23
cm) wide. Two wooden bails are placed on top of the stumps. The bails must not project
more than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) above the stumps, and must, for men's cricket, be
45⁄16 inches (10.95 cm) long. There are also specified lengths for the barrel and
spigots of the bail. There are different specifications for the wickets and bails
for junior cricket. The umpires may dispense with the bails if conditions are unfit
(i.e. it is windy so they might fall off by themselves). Further details on the
specifications of the wickets are contained in Appendix A to the laws.
Law 9: Bowling, popping, and return creases. This law sets out the
dimensions and locations of the creases. The bowling crease, which is the line the
stumps are in the middle of, is drawn at each end of the pitch so that the three
stumps in the set of stumps at that end of the pitch fall on it (and consequently
it is perpendicular to the imaginary line joining the centres of both middle stumps).
Each bowling crease should be 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 m) in length, centred on the
middle stump at each end, and each bowling crease terminates at one of the return
creases. The popping crease, which determines whether a batsman is in his ground
or not, and which is used in determining front-foot no balls (see law 24), is drawn
at each end of the pitch in front of each of the two sets of stumps. The popping
crease must be 4 feet (1.2 m) in front of and parallel to the bowling crease. Although
it is considered to have unlimited length, the popping crease must be marked to
at least 6 feet (1.8 m) on either side of the imaginary line joining the centres
of the middle stumps. The return creases, which are the lines a bowler must be within
when making a delivery, are drawn on each side of each set of the stumps, along
each sides of the pitch (so there are four return creases in all, one on either
side of both sets of stumps). The return creases lie perpendicular to the popping
crease and the bowling crease, 4 feet 4 inches (1.32 m) either side of and parallel
to the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps. Each return
crease terminates at one end at the popping crease but the other end is considered
to be unlimited in length and must be marked to a minimum of 8 feet (2.4 m) from
the popping crease.
Law 10: Preparation and maintenance of the playing area. When a cricket
ball is bowled it almost always bounces on the pitch, and the behaviour of the ball
is greatly influenced by the condition of the pitch. As a consequence, detailed
rules on the management of the pitch are necessary. This law contains the rules
governing how pitches should be prepared, mown, rolled, and maintained.
Law 11: Covering the pitch. The pitch is said to be 'covered' when
the groundsmen have placed covers on it to protect it against rain or dew. The laws
stipulate that the regulations on covering the pitch shall be agreed by both captains
in advance. The decision concerning whether to cover the pitch greatly affects how
the ball will react to the pitch surface, as a ball bounces differently on wet ground
as compared to dry ground. The area beyond the pitch where a bowler runs so as to
deliver the ball (the 'run-up') should ideally be kept dry so as to avoid injury
through slipping and falling, and the Laws also require these to be covered wherever
possible when there is wet weather.
Structure of the game
Law 12 to 17 outline the structure of the game.
Law 12: Innings. Before the game, the teams agree whether it is to
be over one or two innings, and whether either or both innings are to be limited
by time or by overs. In practice, these decisions are likely to be laid down by
Competition Regulations, rather than pre-game agreement. In two-innings games, the
sides bat alternately unless the follow-on (law 13) is enforced. An innings is closed
once all batsmen are dismissed, no further batsmen are fit to play, the innings
is declared or forfeited by the batting captain, or any agreed time or over limit
is reached. The captain winning the toss of a coin decides whether to bat or to
Law 13: The follow-on. In a two innings match, if the side batting
second scores substantially fewer runs than the side batting first, the side that
batted first can force their opponents to bat again immediately. The side that enforced
the follow-on risks not getting to bat again and thus the chance of winning. For
a game of five or more days, the side batting first must be at least 200 runs ahead
to enforce the follow-on; for a three- or four-day game, 150 runs; for a two-day
game, 100 runs; for a one-day game, 75 runs. The length of the game is determined
by the number of scheduled days play left when the game actually begins.
Law 14: Declaration and forfeiture. The batting captain can declare
an innings closed at any time when the ball is dead. He may also forfeit his innings
before it has started.
Law 15: Intervals. There are intervals between each day's play, a ten-minute
interval between innings, and lunch, tea and drinks intervals. The timing and length
of the intervals must be agreed before the match begins. There are also provisions
for moving the intervals and interval lengths in certain situations, most notably
the provision that if nine wickets are down, the tea interval is delayed to the
earlier of the fall of the next wicket and 30 minutes elapsing.
Law 16: Start of play; cessation of play. Play after an interval commences
with the umpire's call of "Play", and at the end of a session by "Time". The last
hour of a match must contain at least 20 overs, being extended in time so as to
include 20 overs if necessary.
Law 17: Practice on the field. There may be no batting or bowling practice
on the pitch except before the day's play starts and after the day's play has ended.
Bowlers may only have trial run-ups if the umpires are of the view that it would
waste no time.
Scoring and winning
The laws then move on to discuss how runs can be scored and how one team can beat
Law 18: Scoring runs. Runs are scored when the two batsmen run to each
other's end of the pitch. Several runs can be scored from one ball.
Law 19: Boundaries. A boundary is marked round the edge of the field
of play. If the ball is hit into or past this boundary, four runs are scored, or
six runs if the ball didn't hit the ground before crossing the boundary.
Law 20: Lost ball. If a ball in play is lost or cannot be recovered,
the fielding side can call "lost ball". The batting side keeps any penalty runs
(such as no-balls and wides) and scores the higher of six runs and the number of
runs actually run.
Law 21: The result. The side which scores the most runs wins the match.
If both sides score the same number of runs, the match is tied. However, the match
may run out of time before the innings have all been completed. In this case, the
match is drawn.
Law 22: The over. An over consists of six balls bowled, excluding wides
and no balls. Consecutive overs are delivered from opposite ends of the pitch. A
bowler may not bowl two consecutive overs.
Law 23: Dead ball. The ball comes into play when the bowler begins
his run up, and becomes dead when all the action from that ball is over. Once the
ball is dead, no runs can be scored and no batsmen can be dismissed. The ball becomes
dead for a number of reasons, most commonly when a batsman is dismissed, when a
boundary is hit, or when the ball has finally settled with the bowler or wicketkeeper.
Law 24: No ball. A ball can be a no ball for several reasons: if the
bowler bowls from the wrong place; or if he straightens his elbow during the delivery;
or if the bowling is dangerous; or if the ball bounces more than twice or rolls
along the ground before reaching the batsman; or if the fielders are standing in
illegal places. A no ball adds one run to the batting team's score, in addition
to any other runs which are scored off it, and the batsman can't be dismissed off
a no ball except by being run out, or by handling the ball, hitting the ball twice,
or obstructing the field.
Law 25: Wide ball. An umpire calls a ball "wide" if, in his or her
opinion, the batsman did not have a reasonable opportunity to score off the ball.
A ball is called wide when the bowler bowls a bouncer that goes over the head of
the batsman. A wide adds one run to the batting team's score, in addition to any
other runs which are scored off it, and the batsman can't be dismissed off a wide
except by being run out or stumped, or by handling the ball, hitting his wicket,
or obstructing the field.
Law 26: Bye and Leg bye. If a ball that is not a no ball or wide passes
the striker and runs are scored, they are called byes. If a ball that is not a no
ball hits the striker but not the bat and runs are scored, they are called leg-byes.
However, leg-byes cannot be scored if the striker is neither attempting a stroke
nor trying to avoid being hit. Byes and leg-byes are credited to the team's but
not the batsman's total.
Mechanics of dismissal
Law 27 to 29 discuss the main mechanics of how a batsman may be dismissed.
Law 27: Appeals. If the fielders believe a batsman is out, they may
ask the umpire "How's That?", commonly shouted emphatically with arms raised, before
the next ball is bowled. The umpire then decides whether the batsman is out. Strictly
speaking, the fielding side must appeal for all dismissals, including obvious ones
such as bowled. However, a batsman who is obviously out will normally leave the
pitch without waiting for an appeal or a decision from the umpire.
Law 28: The wicket is down. Several methods of being out occur when
the wicket is put down. This means that the wicket is hit by the ball, or the batsman,
or the hand in which a fielder is holding the ball, and at least one bail is removed.
Law 29: Batsman out of his ground. The batsmen can be run out or stumped
if they are out of their ground. A batsman is in his ground if any part of him or
his bat is on the ground behind the popping crease. If both batsman are in the middle
of the pitch when a wicket is put down, the batsman closer to that end is out.
Ways to get out
Law 30 to 39 discuss the various ways a batsman may be dismissed. In
addition to these 10 methods, a batsman may retire out. That provision is in Law
2. Of these, caught is generally the commonest, followed by bowled, leg before wicket,
run out and stumped. The other forms of dismissal are very rare.
Law 30: Bowled. A batsman is out if his wicket is put down by a ball
delivered by the bowler. It is irrelevant whether the ball has touched the bat,
glove, or any part of the batsman before going on to put down the wicket, though
it may not touch another player or an umpire before doing so.
Law 31: Timed out. An incoming batsman must be ready to face a ball
(or be at the crease with his partner ready to face a ball) within 3 minutes of
the outgoing batsman being dismissed, otherwise the incoming batsman will be out.
Law 32: Caught. If a ball hits the bat or the hand holding the bat
and is then caught by the opposition within the field of play before the ball bounces,
then the batsman is out.
Law 33: Handled the ball. If a batsman willfully handles the ball with
a hand that is not touching the bat without the consent of the opposition, he is
Law 34: Hit the ball twice. If a batsman hits the ball twice, other
than for the sole purpose of protecting his wicket or with the consent of the opposition,
he is out.
Law 35: Hit wicket. If, after the bowler has entered his delivery stride
and while the ball is in play, a batsman puts his wicket down by his bat or his
body he is out. The striker is also out hit wicket if he puts his wicket down by
his bat or his body in setting off for a first run. "Body" includes the clothes
and equipment of the batsman.
Law 36: Leg before wicket (LBW). If the ball hits the batsman without
first hitting the bat, but would have hit the wicket if the batsman was not there,
and the ball does not pitch on the leg side of the wicket, the batsman will be out.
However, if the ball strikes the batsman outside the line of the off-stump, and
the batsman was attempting to play a stroke, he is not out.
Law 37: Obstructing the field. If a batsman willfully obstructs the
opposition by word or action, he is out.
Law 38: Run out. A batsman is out if at any time while the ball is
in play no part of his bat or person is grounded behind the popping crease and his
wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.
Law 39: Stumped. A batsman is out when the wicket-keeper (see Law 40)
puts down the wicket, while the batsman is out of his crease and not attempting
Law 40: The wicket-keeper. The keeper is a designated man from the
bowling side allowed to stand behind the stumps of the batsman. He is the only player
from his side allowed to wear gloves and external leg guards.
Law 41: The fielder. A fielder is any of the eleven cricketers from
the bowling side. Fielders are positioned to field the ball, to stop runs and boundaries,
and to get batsmen out by catching or running them out.
Fair and unfair play
Law 42: Fair
and unfair play.
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Laws of Circket or Cricket