6. More stuff

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At the start of an innings, a new ball is issued. In ODI matches, the ball is changed after 35 overs. In a Test match it is changed after 90 overs. A ball may also be changed in the innings if it is lost or loses shape or colour. In that case the umpires replace it with a ball which has had wear comparable with that of the previous ball.

Dead Ball

A dead ball is the state of play in between deliveries, in which batsmen may not score runs or be given out. A ball is 'dead' when:

  • The ball is (or is about to be) bowled when the batsman is not yet ready.
  • A bowler aborts his run up without making a delivery.
  • The moment a dismissal is effected OR four or six runs are completed.

More info on dismissals

[Graphic: Umpire hand signals]
  • Hand signals by umpires give the scorers the result of the delivery

The umpire has a set of hand signals that he has to display with regards to an action. Alongside are the most common signals.

If a striker is caught, the new batsman becomes the striker. However, if the striker and the non-striker cross each other in running between the wickets, before the catch is taken, then the incoming batsman is stays in the non-striking end. A catch taken by the wicket-keeper is informally known as a caught behind. If the bowler takes the catch it is known as caught and bowled. (This has nothing to do with a the dismissal – bowled)

 If a bowler during his run-up, notices that the non-striker is standing outside his popping crease, he can warn the non-striker. If repeated again in the innings, the bowler may remove the bails of the wicket at the bowling end without delivering the ball. This would run-out the non-striker and is known as a run-cut out.

If the wicket is put down and a batsman has only his bat grounded inside the popping crease, then the batsman cannot be out. However, if his bat is not grounded before his body makes contact inside this area, then he is run-out. Once his body makes contact inside this area, then he cannot be out even if neither foot is grounded when the wicket is put down.

A striker 'plays on' to the stumps, if he inadvertently deflects a delivered ball onto the wicket thus dismissing him – bowled. If the delivered ball misses the bat or the body of the striker and puts the wicket down, it is known as clean bowled.

For an LBW decision, the umpires judge the decision based on three parameters.

  1. Did the ball pitch in line of the stumps (an imaginary line drawn between the two wickets)?
  2. Impact of the ball on the striker's leg.
  3. The trajectory of the ball, such that it would have crashed into the stumps, had the batsman's leg not been in the way.

The LBW decision is given in the following conditions:

LBW possibilities
Pitched Impact Hitting Stumps? Decision
In line with the stumps. Hit the batsman in line with the stumps Yes OUT
In line with the stumps Hit the batsman in line with the stumps Unclear Benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman. NOT OUT.
Just outside off-stump Hit the batsman in line with the stumps Yes OUT
Just outside off-stump. Hit the batsman but not in line with the stumps Yes NOT OUT
Outside leg stump Hit the batsman in line with the stumps Yes NOT OUT
Outside off stump, Batsman does NOT ATTEMPT to hit the ball. Hit the batsman but not in line with the stumps Yes OUT

If the impact of the ball on the batsman is a foot or so further from the crease, that is the striker is usually is given NOT OUT. Most commentators use the word 'plumb' if there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the striker is out.

Maiden over

A maiden over is an over bowled in which no runs are scored off it by the batsman. However, if any runs are scored off in the form of byes or leg-byes, the over still remains a maiden over. A maiden over in which a batsman is dismissed is called as a wicket maiden.


If a batsman who gets out for no (zero) runs, it is known as a duck.  If he is out to the first ball that he faces, it is called a Golden Duck. In Test cricket, if he is out for zero runs in both innings, it is called "a Pair" meaning – a pair of spectacles [0 0]. Getting out in both innings of a test match, off the very first ball is called a Golden Duck or King Pair.

Bump ball

A bump ball is a delivery that bounces very close to the batsman's foot, after he has played a shot, such that it appears to have come directly from the bat without ground contact.

Line and Length

Bowlers have to be accurate when they bowl. To describe such accuracy the terms line and length come into use.

Length refers to the particular region on the pitch where the ball must be bowled to make the ball bounce to a certain height. Line is the horizontal deviation on the pitch where the ball is bowled towards the batsman's off-side or leg-side. Illustrations later in bowling strategies)

The corridor of uncertainty is a notional narrow area on and just outside a batsman's off stump. If a delivery is in the corridor, it is difficult for a striker to decide whether to leave the ball, play defensively or play an attacking shot. This is the best line to bowl.

[Graphic: Length bowled in cricket]
  • The length blowled in cricket is of immense importance to restricting the batting side from scoring runs

A good length ball would be pitched such that it bounces around the batsman's waist. A delivery pitched further away from the batsman than a good length ball, so that it bounces above the striker's chest is called a short-pitched ball. If it bounces above the striker's shoulder it is called a bouncer. In one-day cricket only one bouncer is allowed per over and in test cricket, two bouncers are allowed. A delivery is called a wide if the ball bounces above the batsman's head if both his feet are grounded and a no-ball if he is not in his normal standing position.

If the delivery is pitched closer to a batsman than a good length, it is known as full pitched. In the event that the striker hits a full pitched ball before bouncing, it is known as a full-toss. The block hole is the term used if the ball is pitched in the area between his toes and where the batsman rests his bat to receive a delivery. It is the target area for a yorker. A half-volley is a delivery that bounces just short of the block hole.

[Graphic: Names used for different lengths]
  • Description of the names of various length deliveries

A delivery that is much too short to be a good length delivery, but without the sharp lift of a bouncer is known as a long-hop. Usually considered a bad delivery to bowl as the batsman has a lot of time to see the ball and play an attacking shot.

A beamer is a delivery that directly goes over the striker's shoulder. The umpire calls it a no-ball and warns the bowler. If this is repeated in the innings, the bowler is immediately relieved from bowling for the entire innings. Another bowler will have to complete the unfinished over.

Flight is the term used to describe the trajectory a delivery that a spinner bowls. Loop is the term used to describe the higher than usual trajectory (above the batsman's eye level) that the bowler imparts before the ball bounces thus making it difficult for him to assess where the ball will eventually pitch. Drift is the curved movement in the air that a spinner gets before the ball pitches. A floater is a delivery bowled by a spinner that travels in a highly arched path appearing to 'float' in the air.

Batting first or second?

If the team is uncertain about the nature of the pitch or simply wants to play safe, they bat first. If the opposition bowling is strong, batting first is a good option. Sometimes, the nature of the pitch deteriorates (i.e. makes batting difficult) as the game progresses, hence batting first is also a better option. Another advantage of batting first is that once you've have got a total on board; the other team still has to chase it, and anything could happen once they chase. Most of the weaker teams have upset fancied teams by batting first and bowling the opposition out – dismissing all ten batsmen.

The captain opts to chase, if he is confident that his team can successfully chase any total. You know your target, and you don't have to worry what total to set. All you have to do is to limit the opposition to a low score, and bat well to successfully chase the target. If the pitch does not deteriorate (that is conditions for batting gets more difficult as the game goes on) batting second, is a definitely a better option. Another advantage of batting second is during day-night games, played under lights. In tropical venues, the ball collects dew in the outfield. This results in a poor grip on the ball. Hence bowlers lose some control, as regards to the spinning and swing of the ball.

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