It’s crucial to comprehend the no ball regulations when playing cricket. A no ball is awarded when a bowler steps outside of the bowling crease or when the ball is bowled too high for the batter to strike.

However, these are not the only circumstances in which this rule applies! A delivery may be deemed unlawful and a no ball in a number of different situations. The front foot law is the most prevalent of them.

What is a No Ball in Cricket?

A no ball is an unlawful delivery bowled by the bowler. When a no ball is called, the majority of dismissal strategies—including the top three—bowled, LBW, and caught—do not apply.

The delivery must be bowled again, after which one run will be added to the score of the batting side. A no ball can be called in a variety of situations. The umpire’s duties also include calling and signalling a free hit with regard to the subsequent delivery if they think it’s necessary. The batter can strike the ball with a free hit, and again, in most cases, he cannot be dismissed.

Also Read: Understanding the Free Hit in Cricket: Rules, Usage, and Impact

How Many No Balls are there in Cricket?

Cricket has 17 different varieties of no balls. A bowling team may be deemed to have bowled a no ball in a number of ways aside from the bowler stepping over the popping crease.

Let’s examine each category of no ball in cricket.

1. Front Foot No Ball – Bowler Overstepping

The most typical kind of no ball that occurs during a cricket match is a front foot no ball. This occurs when a bowler delivers the ball while unintentionally stepping over the bowling crease. Fast bowlers are more likely to bowl this kind of no ball because they use greater force when doing so. 

Fast bowlers run up with long strides, and this, combined with their momentum, can result in a front foot no ball. To avoid being ruled a no ball, the bowler’s front foot must land with some portion of the foot behind the crease, whether it is grounded or lifted.  

The frequency of this kind of offense is also seen among spin bowlers, but it is less common than it is among fast bowlers.

2. No Ball if Ball Bounces Over Batter’s Head 

This is an additional frequent instance of a no ball during a cricket match. In cricket, throwing a bouncer or a short-pitched delivery is a typical tactic for getting a batter out.

However, there are situations when the ball simply bounces a little too much and passes above the batter’s head. Such deliveries are regarded as no ball.

3. If the Bowler Throws a Beamer

When a bowler accidentally bowls a beamer at the batter, that is another instance of a no ball.

In cricket, a beamer is a specific kind of delivery that hits the batter directly, without bouncing off the ground, and at least above the height of the batter’s waist.

No matter what the circumstances, a beamer is not regarded as a genuine delivery, whether it was done so intentionally or not.  The umpire will therefore declare a no ball if you bowl a beamer.

4. No Ball for Chucking (Arm Flexion)

This is another instance of a no ball when the bowler is tossing the ball. 

Chucking is the phrase used to describe a bowler’s illegal bowling motion in cricket. Such a bowling motion frequently gives the bowler an unfair edge.

Throwing is another name for chucking. To ascertain whether a bowler is chucking when bowling, use the 15-degree rule. The umpire indicates “no ball” if a bowler is tossing the ball or otherwise making an illegal delivery.

The leg umpire is typically responsible for judging whether the bowling action was fair. The umpire at the bowling end can, however, also make the same call for a no ball.

It’s interesting to observe that the umpire just declares a no ball and issues a warning to the bowler when the bowler is called out for chucking for the first time. However, the bowler might be immediately barred from bowling again for the remainder of the innings if they are discovered to be tossing once more.

A no ball call will also be made for the second delivery.

5. Back Foot No Ball

The bowler must maintain control over where he lands his back foot, much like he does with his front foot.

When the bowler’s back foot touches the return crease throughout their bowling motion, a back foot no ball is awarded. Such a delivery does not count towards the over total, and the bowling team is assessed a run penalty.

According to the rules, the bowler’s back foot must land during his mode of delivery inside but not touch the return crease. If such a circumstance occurs, the umpire may declare the delivery a no ball.

6. No Ball for Dangerous Short-pitched Deliveries

The no ball rule that applies when the ball rebounds above the batter’s head is analogous to this one. There is a slight difference, though.

The umpire has the authority to give a no ball if they believe the bowler is bowling short deliveries that are risky for the batter, regardless of whether or not the batter is wearing protective equipment. 

It’s important to notice that in this situation, the delivery may not have needed to bounce over the batter’s head. A delivery can be deemed a no ball if it has the potential to harm the batter or is unjust.

The umpire must first give the bowler the first and last warning for such a delivery before declaring it a no ball. The ball shall again be deemed a no ball, and the umpire may instantly suspend the bowler if he or she continues to bowl risky or unfairly short-pitched deliveries.

7. No Ball for Failure to Notify the Mode of Delivery

Since this regulation is considered fundamental, witnessing this type of no ball during an international match is quite rare.

The umpire is required to be aware of whether the bowler plans to bowl right-handed or left-handed under Law 21 of the Laws of Cricket, which is referred to as “Mode of Delivery.”

In addition, the umpire must know whether the bowler will bowl over or around the wicket. The umpire must then inform the on-strike batter of the same.

When the bowler switches the mode of delivery without telling the umpire, it is regarded as unfair. The umpire will then signal no ball.

8. Underarm No Ball

At one point, the practice of underarm bowling generated a lot of discussion and controversy.

It’s interesting to note that, for the longest time, underarm bowling was not prohibited. The regulations were altered nonetheless, only following the 1981 Trevor Chappel scandal.

Today, if a bowler delivers underarm, not only will this undoubtedly spark another debate, but it will also be called out and indicated as a no ball.

It is worth noting that this rule comes with a catch. If a specific agreement was made before the game between the two captains of the opposing teams, the underarm bowling will not be regarded as a no ball.

9. If the Wicketkeeper is in Front of the Stumps

It is significant to remember that, per cricket law, a wicketkeeper is subject to certain limitations.

One such limitation is that the wicketkeeper cannot move forward of the stumps or even remain parallel to them from the time the ball enters play until one of the following events occurs.

  • The batter’s body, bat, or other equipment are all touched by the ball.
  • At the striker’s end, the ball has passed the wickets.
  • Alternately, the batter at the striker’s end tries to take a run.

10. If a Bowler Touches a Wicket While Delivering

The ICC imposed this regulation on international cricket in 2013. A situation like this would have been considered a dead ball until 2013. The International Cricket Council (ICC) revised this in 2013 and included it in the no ball rule.

According to Law 21.6, “Either umpire is entitled to call and signal a no ball if the bowler breaks the wickets after the ball enters play but before completing the bowling stride such that the non-striker is not dismissed.”

This means that a delivery will be flagged as a no ball if a bowler disrupts the wickets at the non-striker’s end during his delivery stride or the run-up.

However, it’s crucial to remember that a delivery of this type will only result in a no ball declaration if the batter at the non-striker’s end is not run out as a consequence.

The term “unfair play” is highlighted in Law 41 of the Cricket Laws. This rule allows for the dismissal of a batter at the non-striker’s end if they leave the crease before the bowler releases the ball. The term “Mankading” refers to this kind of dismissal and derives its name from the renowned Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad.

11. If the Ball Bounces More than Twice

Previously if the ball bounced more than once, the umpires had the right to call the delivery a no ball.

According to the cricket rules, “The umpires shall call and signal a no ball if the ball bounces more than once or rolls along the ground before reaching the popping crease of the batsman at the striker’s end.” Such deliveries are uncommon on a global scale.

The regulations underwent modifications in the middle of the 2000s. Before that, if the ball bounced more than twice, it was a no ball. This rule, however, was altered to ball-bouncing more than once.

12. If a Bowler Throws the Ball Before Delivery

Another instance of a no ball is when the bowler throws the ball in the direction of the batter while in the delivery stride but before the ball has been delivered.

This regulation should not be confused with the one that prohibits throwing or hurling the ball because it affects the bowler’s motion. If the bowler throws the ball in the direction of the batter before completing the delivery, the umpire will rule it as a no ball.

13. If a Ball Bounces Off the Pitch

Another one of those no balls, which are incredibly uncommon in international cricket matches, is this one.

If the bowler delivers the delivery but the ball pitches outside the cricket pitch either partially or entirely before it reaches the striker’s wickets, the umpires can label it as a no ball.

Also Read: How Long is a Cricket Pitch?

14. If a Fielder Intercepts a Delivery

A fielder intercepting a delivery after it has been thrown by a bowler may seem counterintuitive.

If a member of the fielding team is able to intercept or stop the ball after the bowler has delivered it but before it reaches the batter, the umpires will call and signal “no ball.”

Why any player would try to intercept a delivery while it is being bowled is tough to understand. There haven’t been any instances of this kind that have been documented to serve as examples.

15. If the Ball Stops Before it Reaches the batter

When the ball never even reaches the batter at the striker’s end, the umpires might award a no ball.

Some of us might mistake this for a dead ball. But it’s crucial to remember that if a delivery misses the batter, the umpire will first give a no ball signal, and then the ball will be considered dead right away.

Under Law 21.8 of the Laws of Cricket, “the umpires shall call and signal a no ball and immediately also call and signal a dead ball if a bowl delivered by the bowler comes to rest in front of the line of the striker’s wicket without it having previously touched the bat or the batsman.”

16. If the On-side Rule is Violated

It’s fascinating to see a no ball of this kind. Few people are aware that if the bowler or the bowling team violates the on-side rule, the umpire may call a no ball.

So what exactly is the cricket on-side rule? According to the on-side rule, only a certain number of fielders may be positioned behind the popping crease of the batter on the on-side or leg side. On the leg side behind a batter’s crease, no more than two fielders may be positioned.

Law 28 of “The Fielder” covers topics related to the on-side rule.

According to regulation 28.4, there cannot be more than two fielders, excluding the wicketkeeper, behind the popping crease of the on-side batter at the time of the bowler’s delivery.

The leg umpire or the umpire at the striker’s end can indicate “no ball” if any fielder violates this rule.

Also Read: The Cricket Fielding Positions – Explained

17. If Fielders are Encroaching on the Pitch

This kind of no ball is another uncommon variety.

According to Law 21, “the ball delivered by the bowler can be called a no ball if it makes contact with any part of the fielder before it makes contact with any part of the bat or the batsman, or before it passes the wicket of the batsman.”

If such an incident occurs during a game, the umpires must first call and signal a no ball before calling and signalling a “dead ball” right away.


There are a variety of deliveries that the umpire can flag as “no ball”, as we have seen. There are different varieties of no balls, some of which are extremely common and others of which are rather uncommon. However, there is one interesting fact — Graeme Swann currently owns the record of never bowling a no ball, with nearly 15,000 test deliveries without a no ball.

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