Types of Cricket
Cricket is also played by children and adults in informal situations. There are countless variations.
Indoor cricket is a modified form of the sport played in an indoor "court". The court is rectangular, 28 to 30 metres long,
10.5 to 12 metres wide, and roofed by flat netting at a height between 4 and 4.5 metres. The walls are also of flexible
netting. The court contains a cricket pitch of standard dimensions, covered with artificial turf, with the striker's end
close to one end of the court. An additional line is marked across the middle of the pitch, 11 metres from the striker's
popping crease, and forms the non-striker's crease, behind which he is safe from being run out - the batsmen run only
11 metres to score runs instead of the full length of the pitch. Indoor cricket uses a softer ball than a regulation
The game is played between sides of 8 players each, each batting one innings of 16 overs. Each player on the fielding side
must bowl two overs. Each player on the batting side bats with a partner for exactly four overs - if they get out they do
not leave the field, rather they lose 5 runs. It is possible for players (and sides) to have a negative score. When one
pair of batsmen has batted their four overs, they retire and the next pair bat.
Batsmen score runs in the usual way, by hitting the ball and taking runs without being run out. They also score additional
"bonus" runs by hitting the ball into the netting surrounding the court:
Indoor cricket is played in organised amateur competitions and as a casual sport amongst groups of friends.
- Into the side netting in the striker's half of the court: 1 run.
- Into the side netting in the bowler's half of the court: 2 runs.
- Into the front netting behind the bowler, on the bounce: 4 runs.
- Into the front netting behind the bowler, on the full: 6 runs.
Street cricket is a form of cricket played informally, generally by children. A street (or school playground, or park)
forms the pitch and playing area. Children generally play with a tennis ball instead of a cricket ball, and often use
garbage bins or milk crates as wickets. Older children or adults may play with a tennis ball covered in plastic tape,
to make it a bit harder, or even half-covered with tape, allowing the ball to swing.
Rather than play organised matches, the goal of street cricket is for everyone to be in on the action. Thus, two players
will bat, while everyone else (any number of players!) fields. One player often bowls several balls in a row until someone
else decides they want a bowl and the first bowler relinquishes control of the ball. Batsmen score runs in the usual way,
with generally agreed areas counting as the boundary for fours and sixes, but only count their own individual scores rather
than playing for any team. When one batsman gets out, the next player in a predetermined sequence takes his place from
the field, and the out batsman begins fielding.
Several specific rules peculiar to this sort of informal cricket have developed:
- Six And Out: Often, there are dangerous zones into which the ball might be hit - over fences, into angry neighbour's
yards, through windows, etc. Any batsman hitting the ball into such a designated area scores six runs and is out. He also
usually has to fetch the ball.
- No LBW: In the absence of neutral umpires, the simplest way to deal with LBW is to ban it.
- Wicket Taker Bats Next: As an alternative to batting in a specific order, the fielder who takes a catch, or runs
out a batsman, or the bowler who takes a wicket any other way replaces the out batsman. This also guarantees everyone
wants to bowl next.
- Tip And Run: If the batsman hits the ball with the bat, he must run at least one run. This is to discourage
players from playing defensively and to encourage faster turnover of wickets so other players can bat.
- Can't Get Out First Ball: Since this is just about the worst thing that can happen to a batsman, anyone getting
out to the first ball of their innings may be given a "life" and allowed to bat on, especially if a younger player.
Backyard cricket is an even more informal form of cricket, usually played by adults during the early stages of a
barbecue when the fire is just warming up. Many of the same rules of street cricket may apply, as well as some
- Magic Wicket-Keeper: The striker's wicket is usually placed against a fence or wall. Any ball edged into the fence
or wall is considered to have been caught by the wicket-keeper or a slips fielder, resulting in the batsman being out.
- One Handed Catch: Any ball that bounces off a roof, building, car, or other object (sometimes including the
ground) may be caught one-handed to dismiss the batsman. Especially useful for fielders holding a beer in the other hand.
- Dog Fielder: If available, a dog may field, and can dismiss batsmen by catching the ball in its mouth. The dog is also
useful for retrieving balls hit under the house.
Beach cricket is essentially either street cricket or backyard cricket with the additional feature of a playing surface
ideal for spectacular diving catches. Fielding in the surf is a coveted position on hot days.
Several forms of modified cricket have been developed to allow children to develop sporting skills.
There are several forms of continuous cricket, all characterised by the rule that batsmen may not be run out, but the
bowler may bowl the ball as soon as he is ready, without waiting for the batsmen to be ready, or even to have completed
a run. It is also usual to have a "tip and run" rule, such that batsmen must run if the ball hits the bat at all. Also,
if a batsman is out, the bowler does not need to wait for the new batsman to take his place - he may bowl as soon as
he gets the ball back. This sort of cricket is usually played in a mad frenzy as children run around all over the place.
French cricket is played with just a single cricket bat and a tennis ball. There is no pitch and no wickets. The batsman
must stand with his feet planted together on the ground and not move them - if the feet move or he falls over he is out.
The aim of the fielders is to hit the batsman's legs - doing so results in him being out. The batsman uses his bat to
defend his legs from being hit. The batsman can also be caught out. The fielders may bowl the ball (usually underam)
from wherever they manage to field it, and the batsman can hit the ball in any direction. This often results in the ball
being bowled from an inconvenient angle or even from directly behind the batsman - who must not move his feet to turn
into a better position.
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Last updated: Thursday, 16 February, 2006; 01:22:04 PST.
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