2. Game play

Google AdSense

Before start

One player of the team is designated the captain and is assisted by a vice-captain during game play. On the day of the match, the captains of the two teams inspect the pitch to determine the type of bowlers whose bowling would be suited for the offered pitch surface. Based on the prevailing conditions, the captains select their playing eleven. For example, a smooth flat pitch would suit the batsmen more than bowlers, so the captain would choose accordingly. The captain also decides on the batting order, that is the order in which the team's batsmen bat. Usually, the team bats in descending order of batting skill; the top four or five batsmen usually being the best in the team. They are followed by the all-rounders follow and then the bowlers (who are not known for their batting skills). This order may be changed at any time during the course of the innings for tactical purposes.

The Toss

The two opposing captains then toss a coin before the umpires half an hour before play starts. The captain winning the toss may choose either to bat or bowl first. The team which bats first sends two batsmen in.

The coin toss determines who bats first
  • Video: The coin toss determines who bats first
  • Watch

One batsman takes up his position on the batting end of the pitch and is known the striker – as he faces and plays the deliveries bowled by the bowler. His partner stands at the bowling end and is known as the non-striker (The terms striker and batsman are used interchangeably in this article).

[Graphic: Cricket bat]
  • The cricket bat is made of willow

In an innings, all eleven players of the batting team are expected to bat. The wooden bat that a batsman uses consists of a long handle and a flat surface on one side.

The striker stands waiting for the ball at the batting crease. They will usually have some part of their leg inside the batting crease.

[Graphic: Cricket players]
  • Cricket players around the pitch. The batting team is in yellow, the bowling team is in blue, and umpire is wearing a white hat. The striker batsman is to the right and the non-striker is to the left. The bowler is to the left, and the wicket-keeper is behind the striker.

The striker takes his batting stance by facing the bowler sideways; his body facing his right if he is right-handed, and left if left-handed. He then takes 'guard' by aligning his bat in line with a stump behind him or between two stumps. Taking guard is done to face the angle in which the bowler bowls the ball.

Field Positioning

[Graphic: Field positions in cricket]
  • Names of the field positions in cricket

The bowler runs in to bowl from the bowling end; the wicket-keeper, a specialist fielder, stands behind the batsman's wicket throughout the game. The captain of the fielding team spreads his remaining nine players (including himself) – the fielders (also known as a fieldsman) – 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 (Terminology seen later). No fielder can stand on the pitch, other than the bowler, at the time of a delivery.

If a right-handed bowler runs in to bowl to the left of the umpire, it is called over the wicket – as his bowling hand is in close proximity to the wicket (The non-striker stands to the umpire's right in this case). Bowling on the other side of the wicket, that is, to the umpire's right is known as around the wicket. The terminology is reversed for left-handed bowlers.


[Graphic: Cricket ball]
  • The cricket ball

To impart some initial velocity to the ball, bowlers run a distance known as a bowling run-up before they release the ball (It has nothing to do with "runs"). When a bowler releases the ball, he must do so with his back foot wholly inside the area bounded by the popping and return creases. His front foot should also be inside this area, though a part of it can extend in front of the popping crease. Violation of this rule would get the bowler penalized by the umpire who calls it a no-ball (More on this later).

Each time a bowler bowls the ball to the batsman, it is called a 'ball' or 'delivery'. In this article, the word 'delivery' is used to avoid ambiguity.
[Graphic: Overarm bowling action]
  • Overarm bowling action sequence

A bowler delivers the ball toward the batsmen, in what is known as a bowling action, by swinging his arm from behind the body, to overhead – when he releases the ball, and continuing with the down swing. Before the release, his arm must not straighten during the delivery at the elbow. If he straightens his arm in any manner, it is an illegal throw and the delivery is called a "no-ball".

Different bowlers in action in cricket getting a batsman out - bowled
  • Video: Different bowlers in action in cricket getting a batsman out - bowled
  • Watch

A bowler has to try and bounce the ball (a single bounce only) before the batsman. Depending on the type of cricket played, the ball is allowed bounce up to shoulder or head height of the batsman. A bowler may also choose not to bounce the ball; this is limited to waist height.

Google AdSense