What is Follow-On?
If the side batting first in a two-innings match, whether a Test match or a
first-class match, dismisses their opponents to retain a lead of 200 runs
in a five-day match, 150 in a three- or four-day match, 100 in a two-day
match and 75 in a one-day match, they have the option of enforcing a
follow-on. This requires the second team to follow their second innings
immediately as the first one is over. The rule can be best explained by an
example. Imagine that in a five-day Test match, Team A batted first and
got 450 runs in their first innings. When Team B bats in their first
innings, their first target is to get within 200 runs of Team A's score, that
is, 251. Otherwise, Team A will have the option of enforcing a follow-on.
If Team B are all out for 250 or less (having a deficit of 200 or more), and
are asked to follow on, they will have to bat again immediately. The idea
is to give the side having the requisite lead the option of dismissing their
opponents and finishing the game without themselves having to bat
again. If they are successful, they are said to have won by an innings.
What are the fielding
restrictions in one-day cricket?
In one-day cricket, special fielding restrictions come into
play in the first 15 overs of each innings. During this
time, the fielding side must have at least two fielders in
close-in catching positions, that is, within 15 yards of the
stumps at the batting end. Also, a maximum of two
players are allowed to field outside the 30-yard circle.
From the 16th over these restrictions are lifted and the
fielding side may take out the close-in fielders if they
wish. However, at least four fielders must remain inside
the 30-yard circle at all times. Another fielding
restriction, of course, is that each bowler is allowed only a
restricted number of overs. For example, in a 50-over one-
day match a bowler can have a maximum of 10 overs.
What is the 30-yard circle and
the 15-yard circle?
In one-day cricket, to demarcate the fielding area for the
fielding restrictions, the 30-yard circle and 15-yard circle
are taken as markers. The 15-yard limit is marked at both
ends of the pitch, having a radius of 15 yards from either
set of wickets. It is not mandatory to mark this circle.
Sometimes just guide marks are made on the field to
indicate to fielders where the 15-yard limit is. If not, it
remains to the discretion of the umpires and players.
There is one 30-yard circle that encompasses the 15-yard
circles/areas and the pitch. It is at a distance of 30-yards
from the nearest wickets. All one-day games require this
area to be demarcated.
Are there any fielding
restrictions in Test cricket?
Yes, there are, though there are no 15-yard or
30-yard demarcations in Test cricket. Only two
fielders are allowed behind the batsmen on the
leg-side. This rule is a legacy of the Bodyline
series of 1932-33, when English fast bowlers
under the captaincy of Douglas Jardine were
directed to bowl short at the batsmen's body.
The leg-side would then be packed with fielders,
waiting for the catches that came from batsmen
fending the ball away. (This rule is also
applicable to one-day cricket.)
What is the size of a cricket
This might sound strange, but there are no
regulations for the size of a cricket field! The
laws of cricket make no mention of the
distance of the boundary from the centre
apart from stating that both captains and
umpires must agree on the boundary line
before the toss. Also, it says, if possible, the
boundary should be marked with a white line
or a rope.
What is the size of a cricket
The cricket pitch measures 22 yards or 20.12
metres in length and 5 feet or 1.52 metres in
width. The length is measured between the
middle stumps of each set of wickets at each
What is a crease?
There is in fact the bowling crease, the popping crease and the
return crease marked on a cricket pitch at both ends. The bowling
crease is marked in line with the three stumps at both ends. It is 8
feet 8 inches in length (or 2.64m), and the stumps are in the
centre. The popping crease is parallel to and in front of the
bowling crease, at a distance of 4 feet from it. The marking of the
popping crease has to be at least 6 feet (1.22m) in length on
either side of the wicket. However, it is considered to be unlimited
in length on either side of the wicket. This is the line on which the
batsman takes guard. During run outs and stumpings this is the
crease that comes into play, with the batsman said to have made
his or her ground only if they are behind the line of the popping
crease. Also, some part of the bowler's front foot must be behind
the line of the popping crease during delivery, otherwise a no-ball
is called. The return crease is marked at each edge of the bowling
crease, perpendicular to it. It extends at least 4 feet (1.22m)
behind the bowling crease, and a forward extension up to the
popping crease is usually marked as well. The return crease is also
considered unlimited in length. A bowler's back foot needs to be
inside the return crease, not touching it, while delivering a ball.
Otherwise, it is a no-ball.
What is the height of the
stumps? How far apart are they?
There are two sets of wickets on each end of the cricket
pitch, exactly 22 yards apart, each made up three wooden
stumps and two wooden bails. The stump that is towards
the off side is the off stump, the one in the middle is the
middle stump and the one towards the leg side the leg
stump. All three stumps are of equal size and 28 inches
(71.1cm) in height. The bails are 4 3/8 inches (11.1cm) in
length and must not project from the top of the stumps
by more than 1/2 inch (1.3cm). Each set of wickets is 9
inches (22.86cm) wide, while the stumps are of sufficient
thickness not to allow the ball to pass between them.
How many umpires and other
officials for a game of cricket?
Cricket can basically be played with just two field
umpires. However, these days in international
games, both one-day and Tests, apart from the field
umpires, a television umpire, a reserve fourth umpire
and a match referee is also required. The field
umpires are responsible for taking decisions on the
field. If they want, they can refer to the TV umpire for
help. The fourth umpire is, of course, on standby in
case one of the others is indisposed. The match
referee is responsible for keeping an eye on the play
and seeing that the game is played in a fair manner.
What is the difference between
on-side, leg-side and off-side?
Consider the entire cricket field divided into two
halves by an imaginary line drawn through both sets
of stumps along the pitch. The side of the field that is
behind the batsman when he or she is facing the
bowler is the on-side or the leg-side. The side that is
in front of the batsman when he or she takes guard
is, therefore, the off-side. This also explains certain
fielding positions, such as mid-on, mid- off, long-on
and long-off. Obviously, this means that a right-
handed batsman's on-side is a left-hander's leg-side.
Another way of explaining this is that a right-hand
batsman standing in front of his or her stumps facing
the bowler's end will have the off-side on the right
and the on-side on the left. For a left- hander it is the
other way round
What is the difference between
leg-spin and off-spin?
A right-hand batsman facing a right-arm leg-
spin bowler will have the ball pitching and
then spinning away from him. Such a delivery
is called leg-spin as it spins from the leg-side
to the off- side. Off-spin, on the other hand,
spins from the off-side to the leg-side for a
What is a googly?
The leg-spinner's 'wrong one' is called the
googly. Instead of making the ball turn from
the leg-side to the off-side, the bowler makes
it go the other way, thus confusing the
What is the difference between
seam and swing bowling?
Seam bowling is when a bowler makes use of the seam of
the cricket ball to get movement off the pitch. If the ball is
delivered to hit the pitch at a certain angle, various
deviations may be caused. Highly skilled seam bowlers can
control these deviations. Swing bowling, on the other hand,
is when a bowler is able to move the ball in the air. It is
called in-swing if it swings inwards and out- swing if it goes
the other way. Swing can be controlled by keeping one side
of the ball well polished and shining and allowing the other
side to scruff up naturally in the course of the game. This
causes increased turbulence on the scruffed up side as
compared to the smooth side, dragging the ball to one side
while it is travelling. Again, controlled swing bowling
requires a high level of skill.
What is chucking? Why is it
Chucking or throwing is an illegal delivery in cricket. A
bowler is said to be chucking if there is a full or partial
straightening of the arm during the delivery of the ball
just before the ball leaves the hand. It is illegal because it
gives the bowler an unfair advantage in imparting extra
speed or spin to the ball. One of the first victims of this
law was Australian Ian Meckiff. He was called for throwing
even though his arm was naturally bent, and ultimately
gave up cricket. Of course, today throwing is a major
simmering controversy in cricket. If the same parameters
that applied to Meckiff were taken into consideration,
bowlers like Sri Lankan Muralitharan or Pakistani Shoaib
Akhtar would not be allowed to bowl.
In how many ways can a
batsman be out?
A batsman can be out in 10 different ways.
These are: bowled, caught, stumped, run
out, leg before wicket, hit wicket, hit the ball
twice, obstructing the field, handled the ball
and timed out.
What is the 'danger area' of the
The 'danger area' is an imaginary 4 feet by 2
feet area on both sides of the pitch just in
front of the stumps that must be protected
from damage by the bowlers and fielders.
This is 4 feet (1.22m) from the popping
crease, and within 1 foot (30.48m) from
either side of the middle stump.
What are the Ashes?
The Ashes are the oldest cricketing competition in the
world, played annually between traditional rivals Australia
and England. Tired of getting beaten by Australia, an
English newspaper, The Sporting Times, in 1882 published
an 'obituary' of English cricket, saying that it 'died at the
Oval on 29 August 1882' and was 'deeply lamented by a
large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances'. It
ended by saying that the body would be cremated and
the ashes taken to Australia. Thus, the Ashes were born.
The trophy is a small urn containing the 'ashes' of English
cricket. There is a little controversy as to its contents
though. Some people say that it contains the ashes of a
burnt bail, while some say that is was a burnt veil.
However, much to the displeasure of many
Australians, the Ashes urn is not allowed to be moved out
What is Bodyline?
The Ashes series of 1932-33 is referred to as the
Bodyline series. This is so because the English side
touring Australia under Douglas Jardine used what
they called the 'leg theory' to keep Australian
batsmen, mainly one Donald Bradman, under wraps.
It involved their fast bowlers sending down
fast, short-pitched deliveries aimed at the batsman's
body, with the leg side packed with fielders. The
batsman had little choice but to fend off the ball
straight to the waiting fielders behind him, or to get
hit very painfully. This was probably cricket's first
scandal. It very nearly broke cricketing relations
between Australia and England. England were
successful in winning back the Ashes and Don
Bradman 'failed', scoring at a measly rate of 56.67.
What is underarm bowling? Is it
Underarm bowling means that a ball must be delivered with the
hand below the level of the elbow. Believe it or not, this was
originally how cricket was played. It was only in the early 1800s
that a man called John Willes tried out an over-arm or round-arm
action that shocked everyone. His inspiration was his sister who
used to bowl to him, but because of her skirt she found it hard to
underarm. However, this new method was declared 'dangerous'
and 'unfair'! In 1835 the rule was finally changed, with bowlers
now allowed to raise their arms, but only to shoulder level. It was
only in 1864 that MCC allowed the bowlers' arms to be raised to
any level. Today underarm bowling is allowed only in blind cricket.
A bowler bowling underarm in any other competition is no-balled.
This was a result of an unsavoury incident involving Australian
Trevor Chappell, who was instructed to bowl underarm by his
skipper and brother Ian in a one-day match against New Zealand
in 1980-81. The Kiwis needed six runs to tie, but the underarm
delivery meant that it was impossible for the batsman to hit it for