Cricket is believed to be the only game that has the most extended and most complicated set of rules in the world. Compiled and established by MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), the rules of the gentleman’s game ensure standardization as well as fairness in the game.
However, learning all the rules of Cricket is daunting; you can’t know them all, especially if you’re playing the game just for fun. But if you want to take it to the next level by playing Cricket professionally, then it is crucial for you to know as many of its laws as you can.
There are several formats of Cricket, and they are Twenty20 Cricket, 50 over matches, Test Cricket, etc. so the rules that govern one form of Cricket may differ slightly from the other.
The Cricket rules stated here mostly apply to Test Cricket which is the traditional form of the game, though there will be a few rules from the other formats as well.
Here are some of the most important rules of Cricket:
The “Twelfth man”
Cricket is played with two teams comprising eleven players each. Each side must have a player in reserve – referred to as the “twelfth man” – who will take the place of any regular player who is injured and cannot continue the game.
The “twelfth man” can only be part a substitute fielder and cannot bat, bowl, captain or wicket-keep the Cricket team.
If the original player that was substituted as a result of an injury recovers and wants to return to the field of play, he is free to do so.
One side of the teams on a Cricket pitch take a turn to bat a ball and then score runs while the opposing team bowls and fields the ball to prevent their opponents from scoring.
Every Cricket match comprises periods that are referred to as “innings”. The number of innings that either team has is usually ascertained before the game commences. During an inning, one team bats the ball while the other fields it. Both sides will take turns by alternating between fielding and batting.
Two umpires preside over a Cricket game on the field to ensure the rules are sustained throughout the game. However, a third umpire is somewhere off the sports ground and is in control of video decisions.
When the two umpires on the playing field find that a call is too close, they refer the final decision to the off-field umpire who takes his time to review the replays in slow motion to reach a decision.
They are responsible for making decisions and communicating them to the scorers.
The purpose or aim of batsmen is to score as many runs as they can. One of the primary rules in Cricket states that batsmen can only score runs if they run to each other’s end of the pitch, i.e. from one end to the other.
When a batsman does this, one run is scored. Cricket rules allow batsmen to run several times per shot. They can also score runs when they hit boundaries.
A boundary can score the batsmen two ways: 4 or 6 runs. Hitting the ball past the boundary after it hits the ground means a batsman has scored a four. A six is scored when the ball is hit past the boundary before it hits the ground, i.e. on the full.
Cricket rules also indicate that runs that are physically scored by batsmen are invalid once a 4 or 6 have been scored.
There are so many Cricket rules that must be adhered to by cricketers. However, these are the basics and the most important in the game.