As early as the 12th century in England, early forms of cricket were gaining popularity.
Today, it is one of the national sports in Great Britain. He also has his fans in Poland. What is it about? Although cricket is played primarily in the countries of the British Commonwealth, it is also popular in Afghanistan, many African countries, the Caribbean, and some European countries. There are only a dozen teams in Poland, but there is also a fairly wide amateur zone.
Taking all this into account, it is worth checking what cricket really is, what its rules are, and what is worth buying so that learning the secrets of this discipline turns out to be possible at all.
Cricket – rules of the game
It is worth noting that the rules of the game have been prepared by the famous Marylebone Cricket Club, which has been operating since 1787. For many years, it was the only organization that had the right to formulate regulations and manage their implementation. Importantly, the club also upholds the spirit of the game, according to which cricket is to be free from inappropriate behavior of players or various types of foul play.
For a better understanding of the rules, it is worth presenting them in points that will concern individual aspects of cricket.
It has an elliptical shape and is covered with grass. Although its length is not strictly defined, it is usually between 130 and 150 meters. In the middle, there is a strip measuring 3.05 x 20.12 m – this is the so-called pitch. It is the main area of the game where actions take place. At both ends of this strip, there are wickets, i.e., three stumps driven into the ground (posts, most often wooden), on which two unattached crossbars (bails) are placed. The bowler throws the ball towards the opponent’s goal in such a way that the batsman is unable to return it. The pitch is divided into two parts by the line that connects the gates.
The game is played by two teams of 11 players. They are divided into bowlers and batsmen. In addition, one player acts as the catcher.
However, this division does not solve the whole matter. During the throw, the task of the field players is to catch the batsman’s ball, thanks to which he will not be able to score another rune. The main catcher, who is directly behind the batsman, plays an extremely important role. He intercepts non-batted balls. The others must take such positions that it is possible to catch the ball. Finally, the captain decides on the formation of the team.
The batsman uses a large, flat stick. According to the adopted strategy, he hits the ball offensively (as far as possible into free areas) or defensively (downwards). After rebounding, he runs to get a rune. If the ball is kicked out of play, the team scores:
6 runs (when the ball does not touch the ground);
- 4 runs (when the ball goes out of bounds after bouncing off the ground).
- The order of the batsmen is determined by the captain.
The course of the match
Unlike many other sports, a match doesn’t have to start and end on the same day. Instead, there are both one-day and multi-day matches (these are usually first-class matches), which last from 3 to 5 days. Each day, the game lasts for a maximum of 6 hours.
Such a match is divided into two parts (innings). At the very beginning, the referee flips a coin to choose the team that starts the game as both the thrower and the batsman (they switch in the second round). Choosing the side of the coin is the captain’s first major task.
Both parts of the match consist of rounds (overs), the number of which is not specified. In each round, teams take 6 throws (if a throw is made incorrectly, it is retaken, but the batting team is credited with one extra run). First, the batsman tries to score a point, i.e., a run – after bouncing the ball, he must run to the other end of the pitch. Importantly, a second player is running in the opposite direction at the same time. The team scores a point if both touch the ground behind the marked line. After the over, the thrower goes to the field, and the pitch changes – the next player becomes the thrower.
It is the job of the throwers to eliminate the batsmen while losing as few points as possible. It is worth mentioning that during the throw, the elbow can be straightened to a maximum of 15 degrees. If the angle is higher, the throw is considered invalid. Another rule is that the ball thrown by the bowler should not be out of reach of the batsman.
How is a batsman eliminated? This can happen in many ways. Especially when the ball is caught before it bounces off the turf. The same applies to knocking down the strike of the stumps (goal sticks) or knocking down one or two bails, i.e., crossbars placed on the stumps. The same is true for hitting the batsman with the ball – the umpire must then consider that if not for the batsman, the ball would have hit the goal. Another way is to knock down the bail with the ball or the hand holding the ball as the players run to the ends of the pitch. The batsman may also be eliminated if he leaves the field and the ball is played to the catcher, who drops the bail. Finally, batsman can also accidentally drop bails himself – he is then eliminated.
The next ways are for batsman errors. This includes intentionally handballing the ball, hitting the ball twice with a stick, holding a position for more than 3 minutes in the event of an injury that prevents him from returning to the game, and also when he makes it difficult for the thrower to play. When the throwing team eliminates all 10 throwers, there is a change.
The game is won by the team that has scored more points at the end of the second innings.
There are two referees on the court during the game. One of them stands behind the goal, while the other is in the position from which he watches the batsman. Decisions are made primarily by the gate judge, and the other assists him. In addition, there may be a third judge analyzing TV replays and two resulting judges, marking points (overs) and keeping statistics.
Multi-day matches can be test matches (played between members of the International Cricket Council), first-class, friendlies, and junior matches. In addition, there are one-day matches (the number of throws is limited) and the so-called Twenty20, in which 20 overs are played.
Playing cricket does not require the use of too much equipment and accessories. The basic equipment is, of course, a cricket bat, which is distinguished by a long, flat surface for bouncing (maximum 96.5 x 10.8 cm), and a cricket ball – it is made of cork, which is then covered with white or red leather. Its diameter is 23 cm.
As for the outfit, you will need special shoes with spikes that will ensure proper grip, long pants, and a shirt (usually a polo shirt). Batsmen and catchers also wear shinguards, a helmet, and gloves. All this is to protect them from being hit by the ball. Of course, there are also goals.
Cricket for children is usually organized in junior sections – both in clubs and schools. The rules are usually slightly modified to shorten the game. There are also shorter sticks and lighter balls on the market.
The rules of cricket may seem complicated, but after a closer look, everything becomes clear. This is a very dynamic, interesting game that is certainly worth getting interested in.
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