The Rules of Cricket

Tournaments like the Ashes, IPL league and the crowd puller of all time, or the ICC world cup cricket, are the reason that the craze for cricket is ever growing. Get to know more about The Ashes here. Cricket is undoubted among the most popular sport around the world. In accordance, it is the most watched, most played, or is the most revenue generating sports worldwide.

Cricket is a game of two teams having eleven players on each side; one team will try to score by batting and score runs. On the other hand, the opponent will bowl and attempt to prevent the other team from scoring by fielding the ball and dismissing the batsmen. The objective is to score more runs than your opponent when at bat or dismissing the opposition’s batsman when in the field.


Although the origin of the game is debatable, there is speculation that it started as a children’s game. Adults adopted it, and later it became England’s national sport in the eighteenth century.

Betting among the aristocrats made the game popular, and it was in this context that new laws were drawn to help regulate the game. Similarly, “Noblemen and Gentlemen” who played on the artillery ground in 1774 drew codes or rules for cricket in London.

Some of the laws that govern the game today were written by certain noblemen and gentlemen, from Marylebone Cricket Club. Through the years, additional rules were added to improve the game and make it safer. Moreover, standardization of the weight of the ball, length and width of the bat plus the length of stumps were enhanced.

Although the rules of cricket differ slightly among the 50 over matches, the twenty20 cricket, and the Test cricket, we shall look at the rules of cricket for the Test cricket, which is a more traditional form of cricket.

The Rules of CricketThe Rules of cricket


In cricket, each team has eleven players and a reserve player called the “twelfth man.” He is a substitute in case a player is injured during a game. However, he is not allowed to bowl, bat, wicket-keep or even captain the team. His primary role is to act as a substitute fielder and in case the original player recovers, he is called off the field.

Two umpires are on the field to referee the game, and a third one is off the field in charge of video decisions. The third umpire is called upon to review the footage in the instance a call is too close for the field umpires. View more about rules of cricket at

Game structure

In Test cricket, a team needs to bowl out the opposing team twice while scoring more runs to win. Consequently, the game spans over two innings. Once the captain has won the coin toss done by an official, he chooses whether to bowl, the objective of the bowling team will be to bowl out ten players.

The batting team will try score runs and will be doing it in pairs. When all the batsmen are dismissed, an innings is closed. During a follow-on, the team that batted first can let the opposing team bat twice immediately, if or when they have scored less than 200 runs. It will enable the team that enforced the follow-on to win without batting again.

Scoring runs

To score one run, batsmen have to run to each other’s end. As well as running, they can score by hitting boundaries. A boundary score has four or six runs, a ‘four’ is when the ball hits the ground before the boundary, and a ‘six’ is the ball that passes the boundary without hitting the ground. Any runs after the four or six are canceled.

Below are some of the runs that can be scored and awarded to the team, but not the individual batter.

A no ball – The team can earn one run, and the batter can score a run off a no ball. However, for a no ball to occur three instances must be identified. First, the bowler has to bowl from a wrong place. Secondly, when the bowler straightens his elbow during delivery and bowls towards the body of the batsman it is declared dangerous. The third incidence is when any of the fielders are standing in illegal areas, or the ball bounces more than twice or even rolls before reaching the batsman.

A wide ball – When the ball bounces over the head of a batsman or he does not have an opportunity to score, an umpire can call the ball “wide”. A wide ball adds a run to the team, additionally, to any run scored by the batter. A wide delivery cannot dismiss a batsman unless he is stumped, run out, he knocks out his wicket or obstruct the field.

Bye and leg bye – Runs scored when a ball, which is neither a no ball nor a wide, passes the batsman it’s called a bye. A leg bye is a ball that hits the striker, but not his bat enabling him to still score a run. However, there is no score if the batsman did not try a stroke or avoid being hit.

Ways to get out

A bowler gets a wicket when he dismisses a batsman. A bowler for various reasons can give out a batsman, some of this reasons are listed below.

Bowled – During delivery when the ball hits any part of the batsman or bat, the batsman is given out. However, if the ball hits the umpire or another player, then the batsman is safe.

Caught – A ball caught by a fielder, bowler or wicket keeper before bouncing dismisses the batsman, as long as he touched the ball during delivery.

Leg before wicket (LBW) – During delivery, in a situation the ball hits the batsman and it would have hit the wicket if he were not there, but it was not pitched on the leg side of the wicket then the batsman is out. However, if the batsman was trying to strike the ball and he was hit outside the line on off the stump, then he is not out.

Stumped – The wicket keeper can dismiss the batsman by knocking down the wicket when he is out of his crease and not attempting to score a run.

Run out – While trying to run and no part of a batsman body or bat is inside his popping crease then the opposing team can somewhat put down his wicket.

Hit wicket – Cricket rules state that a batsman is out if he hits his wicket with his bat, body or while attempting his first run.

Handling the ball – A batsman is sent off if he handles the ball with the hand that is not holding the bat, this is without consent from the opposite team. The batsman is also out if he hits the ball twice other than purposefully trying to protect his wicket or with the approval of the opposing team.

Timed out – Once a batsman is given out, the incoming batsman must be at the non-striker’s end or ready to face the ball within three minutes; otherwise, he can be dismissed as well.

The twenty20 (T20) series has made the game more popular among the former colonies of Britain like India, Pakistan, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Caribbean making it essential to learn the rules. There are many rules of cricket; however, these basics will enable you to either play or watch the game better. Moreover, the important rules can be learned gradually.