Cricket is a very popular sport in Australia, not just for watching at the pub with your mates but also for playing at the beach.

I admit that I'm not a big sports fan in general but I can usually follow along with NFL or baseball pretty well.

Not at all the case with cricket.

This is one of the reasons I was delighted to discover Ninh Ly's site and his very detailed videos explaining sports from all over the world, one being cricket. But even after watching the video several times I felt that I still didn't quite have the rules down mainly because he talks really fast.

I decided to transcribe Ninh's video, not just for myself, but also to share here on SMG for other American expats that might need a quick lesson on the rules of cricket.

Watch though the video first then read through my transcription below. You can always pull up this post on your phone while watching a match too.


The Rules of Cricket

The object of the cricket is for your team to score more runs than the opposing team. Seems simple enough.

Teams are made up of 11 players with one substitute in case of injury.

At the beginning of the game a coin toss determines who bats first. The fielding team will put all 11 players on the field whilst the batting team will send out two batsmen.

Batsmen always work in pairs. A batsman cannot bat alone. The batsman’s job is to score runs and defend their wickets. These wickets are three wooden stumps with two wooden bails resting on top of them.

The batsmen try and hit the ball away from the wickets and run to their partners crease. If a batsman hits the ball and both men safely run to the opposite crease, they will score one run.

If the bowler bowls the ball high, wide or throws a no ball, an illegal ball, this automatically scores one run for the batsmen’s team. If the bowler's foot is over the crease, this equals no ball.

If the batsman hit the ball along the floor and it reaches the boundary, this scores four runs automatically without the batsman having to run. And, if the batsman hits the ball in the air and it goes over the boundary, this is an automatic six runs. This is the highest scoring play in cricket.

It’s the job of the fielding team to get the batsman out of the game.

The fielding team can designate a specific place to bowl the ball towards the batsman.

To bowl the ball, a ball must be bowled over arm and be within the channel of play.

In cricket there are 10 ways for a fielding team to get you out.

  1. Bowled out. If the bowler bowls the ball and hits the batsman’s wicket and knocks over the bails, he’s been bowled out.
  2. Caught out. If the batsman hits the ball in the air and it’s caught by a fielder, he’s been caught out.
  3. Run out. If the batsman runs for his partners crease and the ball is thrown into the wickets before the batsman gets there, he’s been run out.
  4. Leg Before Wicket. If the ball hits the batsman’s leg and the umpire thinks that the ball would have hit the wickets if his leg wasn’t in the way, he is ruled out by LBW, leg before wicket.
  5. Stumped out. If the batsman swings and misses the ball the wicketkeeper can catch the ball and push the ball into the wickets. If this happens before the batsman can return to the crease, he’s been stumped out.
  6. Hit wicket or accidental out. On the rarest of occasions a batsman can get himself out or his own partner out by accidentally hitting the wickets themselves.
  7. The other four ways to get out in cricket almost never happen in today’s game. These include hitting the ball twice in one stroke, handling the ball, obstructing a fielding player or taking too long to take to the field.

Once a batsman is out he’s replaced by the next batsman in the batting team’s line up. Once 10 players are out, the players switch sides so the batsmen are now the fielders and vice versa.

The highest run total after both sides have had their turn to bat wins.

That’s basically the game in a nutshell, but there are a few other things you’ll need to understand.

  • A bowler must deliver six legal bowls to a batsman. Six legal bowls is known as an “over”. Once an over is complete a new bowler will then try and get the other batsman out by bowling the ball from the other side.

  • Once both teams have finished batting this is known as an innings.

The amount of overs and innings vary depending on the format of cricket.

  • In 20/20 Cricket each team is given 20 overs for 1 innings. This game generally lasts about 3 hours.
  • In One Day Cricket each team is given 40 or 50 overs for 1 innings. As the name implies, the game generally lasts about a day.
  • In Test Cricket there are no limits for overs and the game theoretically ends when all batsmen are out and is usually played for 2 innings. This game can last anywhere up to 5 days and is the oldest and longest form of cricket.

If you’re new to cricket I highly recommend watching the highlights of any premier league just to start out with. If you’re watching cricket on TV they’ll conveniently tell you how many runs have been scored, how many batsmen are out and they’ll even tell you what the other team scored and how many runs are required to win the game.

Cricket may seem like a slow game, but if you watch or play it the rules will become clear.

If I've made a mistake or anything needs to be clarified, please let me know in the comments section below. Cheers.

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