Summer time is coming and all over England, men in white start appearing on greens and commons to play cricket.

To an outsider, cricket seems really complicated so here is a beginner’s guide to help you understand the basic rules of the game.

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Cricket is played on an oval. A large expanse of green  grass usually surrounded by a white picket fence. In the centre of the oval is the cricket pitch which is a  strip of paler grass with wickets on each end.

 

 

Cricket is played in teams of 11 players. The team which scores the most runs and gets the other team out wins. You score points by running between the wickets, two sets of three wooden sticks or by hitting the ball all the way to the boundaries of the oval.

The bowler must hit the wicket causing the bar at the top to fall. He has to “throw” the ball at the batsmen, in a straight line with his arm going over head, in order for it to be counted. If he crosses that line It’s counted as a “NO BALL” and the umpire gives the opposite team another ball plus a run.

If the ball is bowled to far to the left or right, it’s a WIDE, and the opposite team is given a run. A run equals one point.

The batsmen, from the opposite team, work in pairs to defend the wicket by striking the ball away with their bat. When a batsman manages to hit the ball away from the wicket, batsmen run between the wickets.

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The team can also score 4 to 6 runs if the batsman hits the ball  to the boundaries. This is a fast and efficient way to score runs.

 

 

Each run brings one point. While the batsmen are running, the fielders, who are in the same team as the bowler, try to catch the ball and hit the wicket before a batsman gets to them. There must always be 2 batsmen to play so when the 10th batsman is out, the inning is finished.

The game is played in overs. An over consists of six balls thrown by the bowler. There are hundreds of overs during a match. Each team bats for 50 overs each with a short break in the middle. 50 overs is called an inning.

A cricket match can take a long time to play. In fact, a test cricket match is usually played over a 5 day period with each team having 2 innings.

Photo courtesy of Prescott Pym  https://www.flickr.com/photos/ppym1/87330394/

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