What is cricket?
Even though it may look complicated and confusing at first sight, cricket is an immensely interesting and enjoyable sport. It is often compared to baseball, and while there are some similarities, there also are significant differences in the rules of the two sports and the techniques involved in playing them.
A cricket field consists of a large circular or oval-shaped grassy ground whose diameter usually ranges from 450 feet (137 m) to 500 feet (150 m).
The game is played between two teams of 11 players each. At any one time there are all 11 players from the fielding team and two batsmen from the batting team on the field. These two batsmen stand on the opposite ends of the pitch, which is the central rectangular part of the field made of hardened turf or concrete covered with a synthetic mat. A wicket, usually made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch and used as a target for the bowler.
The main aims of each team
The fielding team consists of one bowler, one wicket-keeper, and nine fielders positioned strategically throughout the field. The bowler must deliver the ball to the batsman like a pitcher in baseball, except with a straight arm. The fielders’ job is to catch the ball if it comes to them in the air or gather the ball if it comes to them along the ground.
The goal of the fielding team is to dismiss the batsman, which can be achieved in several different ways, the most common being: bowled, caught, LBW, run-out, and stumped. The fielders also want to prevent the batting team from scoring.
The main goal of the batsman is to hit the ball delivered to him by the bowler in a way that none of the opposition players can catch it. He then runs to the opposite end of the pitch, changing places with his teammate. One such exchange is called a “run.” Runs are the equivalent of points in cricket, and it’s possible for a batsman to score several runs from the one hit.
If the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the field, he is automatically awarded four runs. If the ball clears the boundary on the full without touching the ground, the batsman gets six runs.
Each team has its own batting innings, the period of play in which it gets to bat and scores runs. Once the Team A completes its batting innings, the teams swap roles, so that now Team B is batting and Team A is fielding. Now it’s Team B’s goal to score more runs than Team A scored during its batting innings.
Each innings consists of a certain number of overs (an over is a set of six deliveries bowled by one bowler). Each innings can last 20, 30, 40, 45, or 50 overs, depending on the rules of the competition. In a match lasting 20 overs (120 deliveries), Team A would try to score as many runs as possible to make it more difficult for Team B to chase down the score and win.
Typically, around six or seven players in a team are specialist batsmen, while four or five are specialist bowlers. It’s also common for teams to have one or two “all-rounders” – players who are adept at both skills. Nevertheless, all players are allowed to bowl and bat, with the exception of wicket-keeper who is not allowed to bowl.