Cricket – a.k.a. The gentleman’s game – is a bat-and-ball game that is played by two teams, and each team consists of eleven players. There are three formats of Cricket, though each one follows the same basic principles. A cricket match can last for days or play out in just one afternoon. For instance, the traditional format of the game – known as Test Cricket – can be played out over five days, but the newer format of the game – i.e. Twenty-twenty or T20 Cricket – can be finished within hours.
The traditional Cricket game is played over two “innings”, and each team has the same opportunities: bat twice and bowl twice as well. Of course, it doesn’t have to follow this schedule all the time since the Cricket team that bats second can – in theory – bowl the opposing team out twice, having scored sufficient “runs” to win the tournament without necessarily batting again.
To play Cricket, you need to use some “tools”:
- A cricket bat – this is a flat wooden (willow) blade that 4.25 inches wide and 38 inches long. A handle is spliced into the top of the cricket bat.
- Cricket ball – it is made of hard cork and string construction and covered entirely with leather. The ball has one straight central seam, and its hardness and dimensions are similar to that of a baseball.
Cricket is played on an oval-shaped playing field that measures anywhere between 90 and 150 meters in diameter. The center will be the pitch which is a rectangular strip of hard-packed earth bordered with closely cropped grass surface 20 meters in length.
There are three vertical stumps made of wood – about 1 inch in diameter – and lodged into the ground at each end of the pitch. Two wooden cross-pieces known as “bails” are perched on top of the thigh-length stumps. The entire structure is known as the wicket.
It is the job of the batsman to score “runs” as well as protect the wicket while the bowler’s job is to dismiss the batsman via several means. The most common method to do this is to strike the wicket with the ball, thus dislodging the bails.
Before the match commences, the two cricket captains come together to toss a coin which will decide the order of play. The team that wins the toss will choose whether to field first or bat first.
The fielding team with its entire eleven players will be on the field while only two players from the batting team will be present on the field. The other members of the batting team are positioned off the field, awaiting their respective turn to bat.
The fielding side usually has one wicketkeeper, though they may have several bowlers, any of which can take a turn to bowl.
The bowler runs in and delivers the ball via an over-arm action down the pitch somewhere between 50 and 90 mph. The bowler aims to either hit the stumps or lure the batsman into taking a hit at the ball and into the hands of a fielder.
If the ball hits the wicket or a fielder catches the ball (without touching the ground at all), the batsman is “out,” i.e. he has been dismissed and will be replaced by the next batsman in the team.
Each bowler delivers six “overs” – i.e. a sequence of deliveries – before he rests while another bowler bowls another “over,” but from the other end of the pitch.
The batsman facing the bowler is “on strike” while the other batsman at the other end of the pitch is the “non-striker.”
The batsman scores a run by striking the ball as soon as it is delivered and runs between the wickets as many times as they can before the fielding team can collect the ball and deliver it back to the center.
The batting team’s target is to score as many “runs” as possible while the bowling team aims to dismiss the batsmen with a minimal concession of runs. Since the eleventh batsman cannot bat alone, the innings comes to an end when the tenth batsman is dismissed.
There is more to this game than it was covered in this article, but this is the game structure of Cricket.