In the captivating world of cricket, the duties of umpires are of paramount importance, ensuring the fair and smooth conduct of the game. Umpires stand as the guardians of the laws, meticulously upholding the rules and adjudicating on-field decisions that can sway the course of a match.

From determining dismissals to monitoring fair play and handling player appeals, their duties encompass a myriad of responsibilities.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of the umpire’s duties in cricket, shedding light on their crucial tasks before the start of the match, during the match, during the interval, and after the completion of the match.

Duties Before the Match/Toss

1. Preparation 

  • Acknowledge your appointment
  • Plan your travel — reservations, tickets, etc
  • Read the playing conditions for that match
  • Brush through the Laws of Cricket

2. Check

  • Personal kit: trousers, sweaters, shirts, a cap, and clean shoes
  • Umpiring kit: minimum
  • It is recommended to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the scheduled start time

3. Consultation with the captains

  • Exchange pleasantries 
  • Determine the balls to be used during the match
  • Inform special conditions of play (short-pitched balls, overs, etc.)
  • Hours of play and timing for intervals 
  • Watch to be followed with a stand-by watch
  • The boundary of the field and allowances
  • The use of covers
  • Any other points, if any?

4. Meet the scorer

  • Ascertain their seating 
  • Synchronise watches 
  • Agree on signals and their acknowledgement
  • Check the hours of play
  • Inform them of the agreements made with the captains

5. Other duties before the match

  • Check the match balls — new and old
  • Check the crease markings, pitching of the wickets, and boundary markings
  • Check the placement of sight screens
  • Check the implements of the game (ball, bat, stumps, and bails)
  • Ensure wicketkeeper gloves conform to the laws
  • Pre-decide the end you are taking
  • Walk in together 5 minutes before the start with the match ball
  • Check the alignment of the stumps

6. Bowler

  • Receive the cap or the sweater, if any
  • Ascertain the mode of delivery to inform the batter — over or round and left or right arm

7. Batter

  • Give guard — one leg, two legs, middle stump or off stump
  • Inform the mode of delivery — better with action from the same side and the same hand
  • Ensure the readiness of colleagues, scorers, batsmen, and fielders
  • Position yourself at the bowler’s end — in line with the stumps, at 6-8 feet behind the stumps
  • At the appropriate time, call “Play” loudly so that it is heard by all on the field after signalling to the scorer and partner

Duties During the Match | At the Bowler’s End

  • Count the balls and call clearly and loudly “over” after 6 valid or legitimate deliveries
  • Call and signal no ball, wide ball, dead ball, short runs at your end, etc. loudly and clearly as and when they occur or are required. Make the final signal of short runs to the scorer, if any
  • Answer appeals for bowled, caught, hit the ball twice, LBW, obstructing the field, runout at your end, and timed out

Also Read: 10 Types of Dismissals in Cricket: A Guide

  • Take possession of the match ball during interruptions and intervals
  • Inspect the ball regularly but at irregular intervals
  • Make sure that the game is played in strict accordance with the rules
  • Intervene for unfair play after calling and signalling a dead ball, if required
  • Call “Time” at the appropriate time

Also Read: What Happens After an Over is Completed in Cricket?

Duties During the Match | At the Striker’s End

  • Position at the striker’s end with your left foot (for the right-handed batter) in line with the popping crease on the leg side at 22-25 yards
  • Count the balls as assistance for your partner

Also Read: 7 Interesting Devices Used by Cricket Umpires

  • Be ready to assist your partner in case of need
  • Answer appeals for stumped, hit wicket, and runout at your end
  • Call and signal no ball when necessary

Also Read: 15+ Types of No Ball in Cricket that You Should Know!

  • Call and signal dead ball when necessary
  • Assist your partner in cases of short-pitched deliveries and waist-high non-pitching deliveries
  • It is not necessary that you should always stand on the leg side. You can move to the offside by informing the batsmen, fielding captain, and your colleague while doing so

Duties During the Interval

  • Take possession of the match ball at the start of an interval
  • The match ball should be in the custody of the umpire, from whose end the game is to start
  • Note down the time of the close of play, the number of balls to be bowled, if any, the bowler to bowl or not to bowl, the batter to face (to take the strike), and the end from which the match is to start 
  • Walk in 5 minutes before the start with the match ball

Duties at the End of the Match

  • Check the correctness of the score and announce the result
  • Validate the match summary and score sheets
  • Say thanks to all
  • Honest self-assessment


From the pre-match preparations, including consultation with captains and syncing watches, to the duties during the match, such as making critical decisions, counting balls, and answering appeals, this comprehensive guide covers every aspect of an umpire’s role.

Whether it’s determining the mode of delivery or inspecting the match ball, understanding the duties during intervals, or validating the match summary at the end, this guide equips umpires with the knowledge and skills needed to master the art of umpiring in cricket.


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