The rules of cricket easily explained

Hi everyone Some fifty years ago, a Norwegian radio correspondent called Richard Herman lived and reported from London. He also did write some books about his life in England. In one of these he said: “All foreign correspondents would love to understand cricket, but no-one really does it”. However, he still tried to explain the rules. With the world championship well over and the IPL just started, I think it is my turn to try to explain the same.

In the game of cricket, each team has to have 11 players. So if you live in India, which off course is much more crowded then England, you go to your brothers, and get them to join. Then you ask your brother’s wife’s brothers to join, and if you are not already 11 you ask some copy-vallas and tea-vallas also to join. Then you find someone to challenge, and ask that person also to find 10 compatriots.

When you have two teams you have to find a large open place to play. You have to set down three sticks at in almost the center, and then you put down three other sticks some 20 meters away from the first one. On the top of theses stick you put some other sticks. This is called the wickets, and is a very important part of cricket. Then you have to mark your full playing area, for example by putting together some ropes, or draw a line in the sand. This will be your cricket court.

Then you have to toss a coin to decide which team will bat first. According to the TV-reporters this is the most important time of the game! The team that wins the toss will most probably win the game! The area where you play (the wicket) will typically change during the match, so it is important who start to bat.

After the toss is done, the team that is batting first has to find their two most brave men. These two poor guys will be strapped with a lot of protection gear and have to defend their wickets. The rest of the team will try to find some shelter for the sun and just watch. The other team will choose one person who should throw the ball to the poor batsmen. Except that in cricket you are not allowed to throw the ball, you have to “deliver” it, which means that you have to kind of throw it with a straight arm. The rest of the team will then be distributed around the court. The person who throws, sorry deliver, the balls is called a bowler. Hi’s job is to try to tear down the wicket behind the poor batsman, to hit the batsman, or to throw, sorry deliver, the ball in such a way that when the batsman hits it, it will just go up in the air and one of the players at the bowlers team can pick it up before it lands. If he successfully does this it is called a wicket, and the batsman is taken of his duty and have to leave the field.

The batsman should try to hit the ball in such a way that no-one manages to catch it in the air. If he successfully does this, he and his batting partner run over to the other batsman’s wicket. This is called one run, and the whole idea in cricket is to score as many runs as possible before being bowled out. Because cricketers in general are quite lazy, there are some special rules that are made so that they don’t have to run so much. If the ball hits the ground, than rolls over the boundaries the team will automatically got four runs. If the ball goes directly from the batsman, over the boundary and into the crowd, his team is awarded six points. There are many stories about good batsmen’s who have tried to hit someone in the crowd that they don’t like, for example their banker or their lawyer or the sales person from Reliance who don’t deliver modems that you have ordered and paid for.

There are different formats of cricket that take different amount of time. The traditional one is the test matches, where one match could last for days. Due to TV and other commercialization of the game it is now more normal to play what is called 50-overs (like in the world cup) or 20-oversl (like in IPL). One over is simply speaking that the bowler throws, sorry, delivers, the ball 6 times. So in a 50-overs match each team will deliver the ball maximum 300 times. You will often see on the TV screen that it says 5.3 or 13.2, and that says something about how many balls that have been delivered. At 5.3 it has been delivered 5 * 6 + 3, which should be something like 33 balls. If one team is very good at bowling, they can manage to get the whole other team “out” before the actual number of overs. This is off course quite disastrous for the team that has been bowled out, as they will not have more balls to try to score for. During the world cup, I think Pakistan managed to bowl out the West Indies after just 30 overs or so. As the West Indies batted first, the Pakistani players didn’t have to take much risk. They knew that as long as they didn’t get out, they would easily manage to score the required number of runs after 50 overs.

The team that has scored most runs wins the match. The number of wickets you lose does not affect the score. If one team manages to score 100 runs, and still have all batsmen left at the end of their inning, they will still lose if the last batsman at the other team manages to get run 101. Most teams have about 5-6 batting specialists, and the same number of bowling specialists. Usually the best batsmen bat first, and if they go out early it give more pressure on the maybe not so good batsmen. This happened to India in the final, where the first two batsmen were out after taking only 18 runs or so. But luckily MS Dhoni himself decided to take charge and won the match for them.

Hope this explains it all? I just bought a book, where the rules are explained a little bit different; You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not-outs, that’s the end of the game!

It can be said just that simple…

Talk to you soon!


3 thoughts on “The rules of cricket easily explained

  1. Karsten you’ve explained cricket very well. I loved reading the views of someone who has not been brought up watching cricket however I’m curious; how do you rate is verus other sports?

    Also I need to add that in my opinion test matches still remains the ultimate form of cricket but I do have to admit explaining that a game that lasts 5 days and that quite often ends in a draw does sound a little dull.

    • Hi Konrad

      Thanks a lot for your comment! It’s quite interesting what you say about the test matches as being the perfect way of cricket. I think it is very much the same for most people who are born with cricket. I have just seen Pune trash Punjab in just 13 overs, and think that is a fantastic way of cricket!

      To me, 5 days, or even 8 hours is a bit too much. Well, except if it is a world cup final and you see it with a bunch of crazy Indians 🙂 But the IPL format very fine to me. Hope I will say the same next Sunday also, after having seen my first IPL match live.


  2. The most interesting question I have been asked .. Do the players sleep in the 5 days cricket match or does it go on continously …. heehe


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