December 9, 2022

Cricket: Play of the game

Field of play, equipment, and dress

The primary playing space at Lord’s in London is 5.5 acres (2.2 hectares) in size, while the Melbourne Cricket Ground is even bigger. Other cricket grounds are as tiny as village greens and meadows. The best surface would be level turf with a fine texture, but in the absence of this, any artificial covered surface, such coir (fibre) matting or artificial turf on a firm basis, may be utilized. The playing area’s boundaries are typically delineated by a fence or boundary line.

A wicket is made up of three stakes, also known as stumps, that are placed apart enough so that the ball cannot travel between them and are each identical in height and thickness (about 1.25 inches in diameter) and 28 inches (71.1 cm) in height. Each bail is 4.37 inches (11.1 cm) long and rests in a groove on the top of the stumps. The bails do not protrude more than half an inch above the stumps or beyond them. The width of the wicket as a whole is 9 inches (22.86 cm). There are two of these wickets, one at each end of the pitch, about in the middle of the field, which a bowler assaults and a batsman defends.

The creases at each wicket are marked by lines of whitewash. The bowling crease is a line drawn through the base of the stumps and extending 4.33 feet (1.32 meters) on either side of the center stump (cricket betting). The return crease is a line at each end and at right angles to the bowling crease, extending behind the wicket. The popping crease, which is 62 feet (18.9 meters) from the opposing bowling crease, demarcates the batsman’s ground. The bowling and return creases designate the region inside which the bowler’s rear foot must be anchored in order to throw the ball.

A batsman would frequently place only the tip of the bat above the line of the crease before starting to run for the opposite wicket since the crease indicates the region in which he is “safe” (in baseball jargon) and just a cricketer’s bat has to be in the crease.

The willow blade of the paddle-shaped bat must not be wider than 4.25 inches (10.8 cm). The bat’s total length, including the handle, cannot be longer than 38 inches (96.5 cm). Although polished red leather was historically used to cover the ball, which contains a cork core that is built up with thread, white is now widely utilized, especially during night games. The ball’s halves are connected by a raised seam (the seam being like the equator on a globe, not like the curved seam of a baseball or tennis ball). It must be a little harder, heavier, and smaller than a baseball, weighing between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (156 and 163 grams), and having a circumference between 8.8 and 9 inches (22.4 and 22.9 cm).

Since it was normal practice in the early days of cricket to use the same ball throughout the whole game, pitches may swerve and shift more as the game progressed. Even today, a cricket ball may be in play for the entirety of a match. As the ball is used more often, it becomes harder to hit.

Men’s fashion has developed with cricket clothing. Cricket players in the 18th century dressed in tricorne caps, knee breeches, silk stockings, and buckled shoes. Only in the late 19th century did the uniform traditionally associated with cricket appear: white flannel pants with a white shirt and V-necked sweater, the sweater sometimes decorated with club colors. More colorful clothing was typical on the field in the 18th century. Throughout history, players have sported a variety of headgear, like as top hats and straw hats, but in the 1880s, colored caps started to predominate. In the 1880s, white buckskin shoes also became fashionable for men, and cricketers soon adopted the white shoes (also known as boots), which are typically worn with flannels. To distinguish between teams on the field, players started donning vibrantly colored uniforms in the late 20th century, breaking with tradition.

By the 21st century, loose-fitting polo shirts (either short- or long-sleeved) with matching bottoms and spiked cleats for traction became the standard cricket attire.

Fast bowling caused cricketers to start wearing protective gear. A batter can also wear helmets and other forms of protection in addition to white pads (leg guards), an abdomen protector, and batting gloves to protect the fingers. Additionally, the wicketkeeper dons strengthened gauntlets and pads (the other fielders do not wear gloves).

Rules of the game

On each squad, a player serves as captain. Two umpires oversee the match in accordance with the rules, one behind the bowler’s wicket and the other at square leg, which is 15 yards from the batsman’s popping crease (see the diagram). Two scorers also keep track of the game’s progress. One team must score more runs than the other in order to win the game.

The captain of the team that wins the coin toss at the beginning of a game chooses whether his team or the opposing team will bat first. This means that both teams will send batsmen to the wicket sequentially, the first two as a pair, and attempt to score as many runs as they can against the other team’s bowling and fielding. An innings can be finished in one of three ways: (1) when all ten batsmen have been dismissed (the last batsman, who lacks a partner, is deemed “not out”); (2) when the captain of the batting side declares his innings closed before all ten men have been dismissed (a captain may choose to declare if his team has a large lead in runs and he fears the innings will last too long and the opposing team won’t have time to get in their full innings and the game. Results are calculated based on the difference in runs or, if the team batting last surpasses the opposing team’s total before all of their batters have been removed, the number of wickets (i.e., remaining batsmen) that are still in play.

In most one-day matches, the amount of runs scored in each inning or the total number of runs scored by both sides in two innings determines the winner. The majority of club, school, and village matches last one day, whereas tests last five days (30 playing hours), other first-class matches take three to four days, and other matches last one day.

The side that is not batting assumes places on the field. Nine men are placed wherever the captain or bowler instructs, with one guy serving as the bowler (akin to a pitcher in baseball) and another serving as the wicketkeeper (see the figure). The striker, who is the first batsman, protects his wicket by keeping at least one foot below the popping crease. At the bowler’s end, his partner (the nonstriker) is waiting behind the popping crease. The bowler makes attempts to hit the batsman’s wicket or otherwise get rid of him.

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