Hand cricket

Hand cricket

Hand Cricket is a team sport played mainly by school pupils and university students in the United Kingdom. Unlike cricket, it is played without a bat and a tennis ball is used instead of a traditional leather cricket ball. The aim of the game is to score more runs than the other team in a format identical to cricket. The batsmen (or more correctly handsmen) play shots using the back of their left hand as a bat, with the hands clasped together. Formerly the game was played with bare hands but recently the use of a traditional cricket batting glove has become popular as it gives the batsman greater power to his shots and removes the discomfort of laying against fast bowling.

Differences from traditional Cricket

The rules of hand cricket are very similar to the rules of traditional cricket. However there are various differences, not only style of 'batting' and equipment used. The game is usually played on a concrete or paved rather than grass wicket and often the pitch is not a symmetrical oval. Bowling in hand cricket is generally slower than in traditional cricket (although fast and fast medium bowlers are becoming increasingly common) and there is no requirement for the ball to be bowled with a straight arm. A handsman can be caught out 'one hand one bounce'. However, the exception to this is a 1.5x1.0 metre box surrounding the handsman. A shot becomes safe if it lands in this box and the handsman cannot then be out caught. The stumps in hand cricket are often one metre tall but there no standardized size.


Despite the fact that no bats are involved in the game the terminology from traditional cricket is often used for batting. Handsmen usually prefer to play shots on the leg side, which allows greater power than the off side. Commonly used attacking shots include the straight drive, the hook shot, the pull shot and the leg glance. The forward defensive is the most important shot for any handsman and it is considered good play to rely heavily on this shot.


Fast medium and leg spin are the most commonly used styles of bowling in hand cricket. The use of a concrete wicket allows fast bowlers to exploit the uneven surface and spin bowlers to achieve a great amount of turn. Because most runs are scored on the leg side, bowlers can prevent the handsmen from scoring by bowling outside of the off-stump. Spin bowlers often try to bowl out handsmen behind their legs or tempt the handsmen in rash 'slogs'.

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