Definitions

Batsman

Batsman

[bats-muhn]

A batsman in the sport of cricket is, depending on context:

  • Any player in the act of batting.
  • A player whose speciality in the game is batting.

The batting role

During the play of a cricket match, two members of the batting team are on the field, while their team-mates wait off the field. Those two players are the current batsmen. Each batsman stands near one of the two wickets at either end of the cricket pitch near the centre of the ground.

The two batsmen have different roles:

  • The striker stands in front of the wicket nearest him and attempts to defend it from balls bowled by the opposing bowler from the other wicket.
  • The non-striker stands inactive near the bowler's wicket.

While defending his wicket, the striker may also hit the ball into the field and attempt to run to the opposite wicket, exchanging places with the non-striker. This scores a run. The two batsmen may continue to exchange places, scoring additional runs, until members of the fielding team collect and return the ball to either wicket. See run (cricket) for further details.

While the striker's position is dictated by the necessity to defend the bowled ball from hitting his wicket, the non-striker typically takes a few steps away from his wicket as the bowler delivers the ball, in preparation to run.

Batting skills

The skills required to be a good batsman vary with the type of cricket game being played and the situation of the game. Generally a batsman is required to score runs as quickly as possible without taking unnecessary risks and losing his wicket. At other times a batsman may be required to simply occupy the crease (stay in) as long as possible so as to prevent the bowling team from winning the game before time runs out. Batting average and strike rate are standard statistical measures of a batsman's ability, although their objective values are a favoured subject of debate amongst fans.

Batsmen also have specialties within the skill. Some are opening batsmen (openers), meaning that they are the first players to bat in an innings. This specialty requires patience and fortitude to face the best opposition bowlers who are normally used first; typically these bowlers are fast bowlers, so an ability against fast pitched bowling is useful. In addition, a new cricket ball will keep its speed better when it bounces, which gives opening batsmen less time to play their shots. A new cricket ball will also have a tendency to move laterally when pitched as the seam is still prominent. However, an older ball may swing more or even reverse swing.

Following the opening batsmen are the middle-order batsmen (sometimes #3 is not considered middle-order). They are generally more free-scoring than the openers, partly because of their style and partly because the openers will have hopefully tired the bowlers and taken the shine and bounce from the new ball, so it should be easier to score runs.

After the recognised batsmen, the batting team's bowlers bat. Bowlers generally spend more time practising bowling, and so their batting is usually not as accomplished as the recognised batsmen. Particularly bad batsmen are known as rabbits. On occasion some truly woeful batsmen have been referred to as ferrets as 'they go in after the rabbits.'

Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman, "The Don", is universally accepted as the greatest exponent of the art of batting that the game has ever seen. His record is without peer.

Some players, known as all-rounders, are reasonably good at batting and bowling and may occupy any position in the batting lineup but few are opening batsmen and obviously none is a rabbit (or they wouldn't be all-rounders!).

The wicket-keeper also bats and is expected to be at least an adequate batsman: the choice of wicket-keepers for international teams is often influenced by their batting ability.

All of the above are generalisations and many exceptions can be found in the history of cricket.

Women's cricket

The term batsman is used in both men's and women's cricket, whether the cricketer is male or female.

Some noted batsmen by country

Bold used to indicate a current player

See also

Cricket Bat Brands

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