Just the Basics: Cricket 101

Cricket 724616 960 720 Credit: shents/Pixabay

Cricket has been played for centuries. The sport can be traced back to southeast England beginning around 1611, according to the International Cricket Council. During the mid-1600s, village cricket became increasingly popular. Forming country teams became popular during the late 1600s. By the 18th century, cricket was London's leading sport. 

Are you curious about how the game is played? We've rounded up some of the basics like rules, terms, and scoring information to help you better understand the game of cricket.


How to Play

Similar to baseball, cricket is played with two teams. One is at bat. The other is in the field. Teams are made of 11 players. Each takes a turn batting and fielding. One member of the team in the field throws the ball at the player with the bat. Instead of being called pitchers, they're called bowlers. Batters are called batsman. The field team's goal is to limit the number of runs the other team gets. It's also to get the batsman out. The team at bat aims to score runs by running or hitting the ball into the crowd.

Scoring Runs

Two batsman get into position, one hits the ball while the other acts much like a baserunner. The bowler has to throw the ball using a straight arm and windmill action. The batsman's goal is to hit the cricket ball to any vacant area on the field. The two batsmen may run to one end of the field to the other. If they pass each other and make it to the other side of the field without getting out, they earn a run for the team.

Ways to Get Batsmen Out 

In cricket, like many other games of sport, the team with the most runs wins. Getting batsmen out is crucial for the fielding team to minimize the number of runs scored by the team at bat. There are many ways to get an out, including:

  • The fielder catches it
  • The ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails after pitching the ball
  • The fielder hits the stumps before the batsmen finish their run
  • The batsman hits or dislodges his stumps on purpose of by accident
  • If the pitch touches the legs, it's considered "leg before wicket" and earns an out
  • If the batsman touches the ball with a hand
  • If the batsman hits the ball more than once

What's an Over?

Overs are crickets answer to innings. Bowlers can only throw six balls at a time before another bowler takes over. Bowlers aren't allowed to bowl two consecutive overs. Instead, bowlers typically alternative overs, reassembling the fielding team between each session to take up the best positions for play. 

Scoring

When batsmen complete their run successfully, they earn one run. They can try for more than one run but must make it successfully to the other end of the field to earn it. If the ball bounces before going out of the play boundaries, the batting team earns four runs. If the ball flies over the play boundaries without bouncing, the batting team earns six runs.