Cricket is a team sport that is played between two sides, and we have both men’s and women’s cricket. It can be played between two different nations/countries as a bilateral series, a multi-nation tournament, between sides of the same country (either domestic or franchise), or even club cricket (divisional).
The teams will always consist of 11 players each, and there should be 13 players on the field — 2 from the batting team and the remaining 11 from the fielding side. The match is officiated by 2 on-field umpires and a match referee to foresee the proceedings.
Who is a Batter, Bowler, and Fielder in Cricket?
Before coming to that, we will look at the different aspects of a cricket game. There are 3 major departments of the game, namely batting, bowling, and fielding. They are all integral to the team’s cause and contribute to their win or loss.
Batting, Bowling, and Fielding
Batting is the art of scoring runs. And batters play for a longer time by thwarting the various attempts by the bowler to get them out. They can either defend or attack, depending on the format and situation of the game.
As mentioned, 2 batters will be out there in the middle at any given time. And once a batter gets dismissed, a new batter enters the crease. This goes on till all 10 wickets of a batting team are down, or the quota of overs gets completed as in limited overs, or a team declares (in a Test match), or the team wins by chasing successfully.
Likewise, bowling is an attempt made by bowlers to get batters out or restrict the flow of runs by bowling tight lines and lengths. All 11 players of a team can bowl in an inning, but that is very rare.
Fielding is the third department, and unlike the other two, it is not a specialist role. All the team members have to field and make their best efforts to take a catch, perform a runout, or be agile while saving runs.
Batter, Bowler, and Fielder
A batter (a common term nowadays for a batsman) is someone who bats for any period of time and faces the bowlers. In cricket, the batters will wear protective gear such as the bat, helmet, gloves, and guards, among others. He will look to defend his wicket by not getting out while scoring runs by playing shots and other techniques.
Likewise, the bowler is a player who bowls at a batter in a bid to get the latter out. Bowlers get to bowl a maximum of 6 balls per over from either side of the pitch. And in a T20 game, they can bowl up to a maximum of 4 overs, while the limit is extended to 10 overs for a 50-over per side game.
On the other hand, there are no such restrictions for Test matches, as a particular bowler can bowl ‘n’ number of overs in an inning. Once a bowler completes an over from one end, the next bowler should continue the next from the other end. The fields also vary depending on this.
A fielder is someone who helps the bowlers get the batters out by taking catches at various positions, making runouts, and, most importantly, stopping the flow of runs with their fielding. A total of 9 fielders can be present at a time on the field.
The wicketkeeper is one of the most important and constant figures in the game of cricket. He is also a fielder, but unlike them, a keeper is someone who is designated for that role, and his position is constant throughout the game.
Must Read: The Cricket Fielding Positions – Explained
Different Formats of the Game
Often called the gentleman’s game, cricket is widely played at the international level across 3 different formats of the game, namely – Tests, T20Is, and ODIs.
Test Match: The longest format of the game that could last up to 5 days, with each day constituting a maximum of 90 overs. While at the international level it is called Test cricket, at the domestic level it is known as First Class cricket. The teams play 2 innings each, meaning they go through their batting line-up twice. So there will be a total of 4 innings in this type of match.
One-Day Internationals (ODI): This type of match, on most occasions, lasts a day where each team plays a maximum of 50 overs. So a maximum of 100 overs constitutes an ODI game. Only 2 innings will be played in this format of the game.
T20 Internationals (T20I): This is the shortest format of the game. And a T20 match usually lasts for about 3 hours. As the name suggests, each team will play a maximum of 20 overs. This is the fast-moving format in international cricket.
Apart from this, there are other versions of cricket, like the T10 format, which is played at the franchise level. But at present, there are only 3 formats that are played at the international level.
Some Basic Terms Related to Cricket for a Better Understanding of This Beautiful Game:
- Run: Any given statistics in cricket is measured with respect to run and it is the basic unit of scoring. The batter can accumulate them by either running between the wickets or smashing it to the boundary.
- Pitch: The 22 yards in which the bowler and the batter get involved in a tussle is called the pitch. It is a hard surface while the rest of the field is covered usually with grass.
- Wicket: It is the name given to the 3 stumps on either side of the pitch. A batter’s main job is to protect the stumps from getting dismantled by the bowler or avoid getting leg before adjacent to the stumps.
- Innings: It refers to the duration of the completion of a batting essay by a team. While in Test matches, we can’t predict the number of overs a team can bat, but in the T20I and ODI format, the number of maximum overs to complete an innings is fixed at 20 overs and 50 overs respectively.
Also Read: Innings Break in Test Cricket – Explained
- Dismissal: Dismissal in cricket means the end of a batting knock, or, as we say, when a batter gets out. There are various forms of dismissal in cricket — bowled, LBW, caught and bowled, caught, stumped, and runout. And one of the primary goals of the fielding team is to get a batter dismissed by either of these means.
So far, we have seen the different formats of the game and other major aspects of a cricket game. But how are runs scored?
Modes of Scoring in Cricket
- Single: This is a common mode of run-scoring in cricket wherein the batters run across the pitch after the completion of a shot. This is usually a stroke played by the batter within the 30-yard circle and the batters scamper through or a fielder cuts it down to keep to a single.
- Double and Triple: Similarly the batters can take two or three runs after playing a shot and the fielder manages to chase it down before it reaches the boundary rope.
- Boundary: It refers to the maximum score that can be scored off a ball. It can be either a six where the ball goes over the ropes or a four where it reaches the ropes on the bounce or along the ground. In rare cases, a batter can complete 4 runs by running.
- Extras: Lapses in concentration on the part of the bowling side result in giving away runs to the batting side without them scoring runs. These are called extras and can come from wides, no-balls, leg byes, or byes.
Basic Forms of Dismissal in Cricket
- Bowled: It is a dismissal any bowler would crave and it is by far the most satisfying dismissal a bowler could ever ask for. This means dislodging the stumps after sneaking through the defence of a batter.
- Caught: A common mode of dismissal where the batsman is caught by the fielders, or by the keeper behind the wickets, or by the bowler himself.
- Leg Before Wicket (LBW): LBW means a striker getting out when the ball hits pads or any part of his body that is not in contact with the bat and is adjacent to the wicket.
- Runout: This form of wicket happens when the batter is short of his crease at the time of running and the wickets are disturbed before the batter makes it in.
- Stumped: It happens when the batter is out of the crease while attempting a shot and the keeper dislodges the wickets. MS Dhoni, former India captain and wicketkeeper, is a master of lightning-fast stumping.