Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a field at the centre of which is a 22-yard (20-metre) pitch with a wicket at each end. Each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps.

Cricket is a sport that has been tracked back to the early 16th century and has been a popular ever since. Having originated in south-east England, it became an established sport in the country in the 18th century and developed globally in the 19th and 20th centuries. International matches have been played since the 19th-century and formal Test cricket matches are considered to date from 1877. Cricket is the world’s second most popular spectator sport after association football. The pinnacle of the international game comes in the form of the Cricket World Cup. Other major events include the T20 World Cup, Test Series and One Day series.

Rules

Whether you’ve always wanted to play yourself, or just live where cricket is less common, if you are curious to learn more about it, read the steps below to learn the basics of playing cricket.

  • Each team is made up of 11 players.
  • The bowler must bowl 6 legal deliveries to constitute an over.
  • A game must have two umpires stood at either end of the wicket. The umpires then must count the number of balls in the over, make decisions on whether the batsmen is out after an appeal and also check that the bowler has bowled a legal delivery.
  • A batsmen can be given out by either being bowled ( the ball hitting their stumps), caught (fielder catches the ball without it bouncing), Leg Before Wicket (the ball hits the batsmen’s pads impeding its line into the stumps), stumped (the wicket keeper strikes the stumps with their gloves whilst the batsmen is outside of their crease with ball in hand), hit wicket (the batsmen hits their own wicket), Handled ball ( the batsmen handles the cricket ball on purpose), timed out (the player fails to reach the crease within 30 seconds of the previous batsmen leaving the field), hit ball twice (batsmen hits the cricket ball twice with their bat) and obstruction ( the batsmen purposely prevents the fielder from getting the ball).

Playing Environment

Cricket is a team sport and is played on a big ground. The pitch in the center and ground is prepared for any format of the match. Later, stumps are rooted along the breadth of the pitch and players are called on to the ground to start the play. The team fielding will have 11 players guarding the boundary and two batsmen from opposition will come to bat. There will be two umpires on the field to monitor the match proceedings.

The sport is played on presumably a circular leveled ground with pitch as the center. The pitch is 24-yards in length and 4-yards in breadth. A rope is placed around the ground at a distance of 80 yards from the pitch. This rope is observed as boundary. The stumps are rooted at both ends with distance of 22-yards between them. Two carved small pieces of wood are placed on stumps, called bails. White parallel lines are drawn on both ends of stumps, called batting/bowling crease. It is 1.2 meters from stumps. Another set of parallel lines are drawn perpendicular to batting crease, called return crease. This is at a distance of half-meter from the length of pitch.

Equipment

As cricket is a game of bat and ball, the players are subjected to wear protective gear from not getting hurt. In this chapter, we will discuss about all the important gear and equipment that the players use while playing the game.

  • Bat − Bat is a nicely carved equipment made out of special wood, with a handle on top to hold and play. These vary in weight and size with age and requirement of the batsman.
  • Ball − It is spherical object made out of cork and covered with leather. Two pieces of leather are stitched around the cork ball. The color of the ball for test matches is red and white for ODI and T20 matches.
  • Keeper Glove − These are worn on both hands to protect the fingers from injury. Cloth and leather are stitched together in the shape of fingers and palm to fit exactly. The inner-side of the glove has finger gaps with cork tips for more protection.
  • Batsman Glove − This gear is similar in shape but smaller and softer on the outer part when compared to keeper glove. It is used to hold the bat firmly. The finger part of glove has extra protection with hard sponge on the outer area.
  • Keeper/Batsman Pads − These are worn to protect the lower limbs of the batsman/keeper. They are made with cloth and leather. The front portion of the pads is very hard as there is hard plastic or wood sticks beneath. The rear portion is spongy and soft to soothe and comfort legs. Keeper pads are little shorter than batsman pads.
  • Helmet − A head gear for the batsman/keeper while batting or wicket-keeping behind the stumps. It is a mix of metal and hard plastic. It has a metallic grill in the front to protect the face.
  • Stumps − These are cylindrical and long in shape with shard end like spear. This end goes into the ground so that stumps stand erect in the ground.
  • Bails − Bails are the smallest equipment placed on stumps. It helps in giving easy decisions by umpires to dismiss the batsman when the wicket is broken.

Formats Of Cricket

There are three formats of cricket played at the international level – Test matches, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. These matches are played under the rules and regulations approved by the International Cricket Council, which also provides match officials for them.

  • Test Cricket

Test cricket is a format of cricket with the longest match duration and is considered the game’s highest standard. Test matches are played between national representative teams that have been granted Test status, as determined and conferred by the International Cricket Council (ICC). They are called Tests because the long, gruelling nature of matches makes them mentally and physically testing.

Two teams of 11 players each play a four-innings match, which may last up to five days (or more in the past – matches with no time limit were called Timeless Tests). It is generally considered the most complete examination of a team’s endurance and ability.

  • One Day Cricket (ODI’s)

One Day Internationals, also known as ODIs, are a pacier format which started in 1971 but gained in popularity from the 1980s. These are one-innings matches of 50 overs per side, in which teams with a blend of technique, speed and skill are expected to do well. The ICC’s pinnacle event, the ICC Cricket World Cup, is contested every four years in this format.

  • T20 Cricket

Twenty20 Internationals are the newest, shortest and fastest form of the game. This format of 20 overs per side has brought in new audiences since its advent in 2005 and also triggered new skill sets and innovations. A Twenty20 International match is usually competed in three hours and with huge hitting, skillful bowling and amazing fielding it has been hugely popular with fans right around the world.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)

The BCCI is the governing body for cricket in India. Its headquarters is situated at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

It is an autonomous organisation and does not come under National sports federation of India. The board was formed in December 1928 as a society, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. BCCI does not review any grants or fundings from Sports ministry of India. It is a consortium of state cricket associations, and the state associations select their representatives who in turn elect the BCCI president.

BCCI have three International Cricket teams which represent India in international cricket, that is India men’s national cricket team and India women’s national cricket team and India national under-19 cricket team. Also it manage India A team. The board organise matches and do scheduling for these teams.

BCCI is the richest cricket board in the world and is part of ‘Big three’ of international cricket along with Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board.

The BCCI organises the following domestic cricket competitions:

Men’s domestic cricket:

  • Ranji Trophy
  • Vijay Hazare Trophy
  • Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
  • Duleep Trophy
  • Irani Cup
  • Deodhar Trophy
  • Indian Premier League (IPL)
  • BCCI Corporate Trophy

Women’s domestic cricket:

  • Women’s Senior One Day Trophy
  • Senior Women’s Challenger Trophy
  • Senior Women’s T20 League
  • Senior Women’s T20 Challenger Cup
  • Women’s T20 Challenge

Indian Premier League(IPL)

The IPL is contested by ten teams based out of seven Indian cities and three Indian states. The league was founded by the BCCI in 2007. It is usually held between March and May of every year .

The IPL is the most-attended cricket league in the world and in 2014 was ranked sixth by average attendance among all sports leagues. In 2010, the IPL became the first sporting event in the world to be broadcast live on YouTube.

Currently with ten teams. After the league stage, the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs. The top two teams from the league phase will play against each other in the first Qualifying match, with the winner going straight to the IPL final and the loser getting another chance to qualify for the IPL final by playing the second Qualifying match. Meanwhile, the third and fourth place teams from the league phase play against each other in an eliminator match and the winner from that match will play the loser from the first Qualifying match. The winner of the second Qualifying match will move onto the final to play the winner of the first Qualifying match in the IPL Final match, where the winner will be crowned the Indian Premier League champions.

There have been fifteen seasons of the IPL tournament. The current IPL title holder franchise is Gujarat Titans.