Playing Cricket - Rules and Regulations in Cricket

Like every other game, Cricket has rules and regulations that one must follow to play the gentleman's game in the spirit of Cricket. Cricket's popularity as a sport has increased over the years and many new countries like China, USA are actively preparing their teams to venture as a cricket playing nation. Viewership of matches on television and on the stadiums is increasing and advertisers are willing to invest large amount of money in cricket.

Many people play cricket just for fun and many think to become professional cricket players. Whatever your reason is, knowing all the rules and regulations of playing cricket will help and make you a better player. This page will give you complete details about the various rules and regulations of playing cricket.

ICC (International Cricket Council) recognizes three forms of cricket viz. Test cricket, One Day Internationals (ODI), and Twenty-Twenty (T20 cricket). Generally the rules apply to all the formats of the game with one or two exception-additions to the different formats. Like some rules are only meant for one day international, while some apply only to test cricket and some other may only apply to T20 internationals.

Basically the game of cricket involves two teams which is required to score runs and the team with the most runs is the winner.

Team Composition


International cricket matches have eleven players playing from each team in a match. The selection committee of the respective countries select fifteen players in a team in which they select the playing eleven on the match-day.

Cricket can also be played with fewer players, say about six players in each team with prior agreement with both the playing teams.

Captain and Vice-Captain


The playing eleven will include a captain and a vice-captain in the team. The captain of the team is responsible for taking all the decisions that take place on the field with the team. As a backup to the captain a vice-captain is also appointed in the wake of the captain getting injured or is not fit to play at the last moment.



Every cricket match will have two on-field umpires, one TV umpire and a fourth umpire. All the decisions and the conduct of the match is done by the two on-field umpires and the TV umpire sets in when the field umpire is not able properly judge an appeal.

A fourth umpire is a reserve umpire kept in case one of the field umpires gets injured. Players are not allowed to argue the decisions that are made by the umpires. ICC usually bans and/or fines' the players who argue the decisions made by the umpires.



The toss decides which team will bat or ball first. A coin is tossed in the presence of the match referee and one of the umpires by one of the captain and the captain winning the toss will notify his counterpart about the decision whether his team will bat or field first.

  • Innings

A cricket match will at least have two innings. The innings is completed when the team is all out or the overs in the innings are finished. In test cricket, each team will have to play two innings. Also, in test matches a captain can declare his team if he believes that the situation of the match is in his teams favor.



The cricket pitch is the surface or the place where the game of cricket is played. A cricket pitch is of 22 yards (20.12 m) long and 3 meters wide. The middle of the pitch is a protected area which the bowler must avoid running. This is because running in the protected area will damage the pitch area where the ball bounces, making it difficult to bat. A bowler is warned at the most two times after which the bowler is refrained from bowling any further in the innings.



The batting team will send two of it's batsmen to score runs. Losing a wicket will have to send another batsmen until the team is all out.



On the other hand the bowling team will have to bowl and field. The team bowling will have the objective of containing the team batting to as less score as possible. In one day internationals a bowler is allowed to bowl only ten overs. In Twenty-20 format, the bowler is allowed at the most four overs. There is no limit in test cricket. A bowler cannot bowl two consecutive overs at a time.



Fielding is another aspect which the bowling team has to take care. Fielding basically means to contain the batting team scores.

  • Overs

An over is a set of six bowls bowled by a bowler. In a test match, usually a team is required but not mandated to complete 90 overs in a day's play. In one day internationals and T20 format each team has to bowl 50 overs and 20 overs respectively.

  • Runs

Run is the basic unit of scoring in cricket. Runs can be single (one run), two-runs, three runs, four, and six. If not overthrows a maximum of six runs can be scored in a ball. More on overthrows below.

  • Four (Boundary)

Four runs is the awarded to the batting team if the ball touches or passes the boundary rope of the ground.

  • Six

Six runs is awarded to the batting team if the ball without bouncing directly passes the boundary rope of the ground.

  • Overthrows

Overthrows is an extra run(s) scored by a batsman in lieu of the ball not being collected by a fielder at the pitch. Overthrow run(s) are credited to the batsman. Any runs already scored are also being counted.

  • Short Runs

A run is called short by the umpire if the batsmen running does not complete the run. If a batsmen is found of being deliberately attempting to run short then a 5-run penalty is imposed. Also if either of the batsmen is not in possession of their bat the run is called short. The bat must be in the hands of the player or else the run is called short.

No Ball


No ball is a kind of illegal delivery bowled by the bowler. The umpire calls the no ball by holding one arm out horizontally. A no ball is called when the bowler bowls without some part of front foot behind the crease. To compensate the illegal delivery the bowler has to bowl one another delivery as the ball does not count in the over and one extra run is also added in the batting team's score.

The batsmen cannot be given out on a no ball except in the form of a run out. There are many other reasons for which a ball can be called a no-ball, but the front foot no ball is mostly occurred. In one day internationals and T20 cricket, a free hit is also awarded, in the immediate next ball in which the batsmen cannot be given out except for a run out.

Wide Ball


If the bowler bowls the ball too wide from the batsmen then the ball is called as a wide ball. The umpire signals a wide ball by stretching both hands out horizontally. The ball is not counted as a legitimate delivery and an extra run is awarded to the batting team.

  • Leg Byes

Leg byes are awarded when the batsman has not hit the ball from his bat, but the batsman's body or protective gear has been touched by the ball and the batsman has completed a run. The runs are added up to the teams total but not in the batsman's total. Umpires signal a leg bye with a hand touching their raised knee.

  • Byes

Similarly, a bye is a run scored by the batsman when the ball has not been touched by any of the batsman's body part and the batsman has completed a run.

There are two other conditions for byes and how the runs are calculated.

If the ball was a no ball and any byes are scored, they are recorded in the scorecard as no balls, not byes.

If the ball was a wide and any byes are scored, they are recorded in the scorecard as wides, not byes.

The umpire signals byes by raising his arm into a vertical position, the palm of his hand open to differentiate between the signal for byes and out.

  • Mandatory Field Restrictions

This point applies to all forms of cricket - Only two fielders are allowed between the position of square leg and long stop.

For One Day Internationals - For the first ten overs only a maximum of 2 fielders are allowed to field outside the 30 yard circle (30 yards are measured from the center of the pitch and the area outside the 30 yard circle is known as outfield and the area inside the circle is known as infield). After 10 overs the concept of powerplay comes into play.

For Twenty-20 internationals - Fielding restrictions of maximum of two fielders outside the 30 yard circle applies for the first six overs.

In all forms of cricket, a maximum of five fielders can field in the rest of the innings.

  • Powerplay

Powerplay, the concept synonymous with field restrictions is applied in the one day form of cricket.

Powerplay one - For the first ten overs only two players are being allowed to field outside the 30 yard circle.

Powerplay two and three - These are chunks of 5 overs that the fielding restrictions apply. The decision to take the powerplay is at the prerogative of both the teams, one to each team. This means in an inning one powerplay will be called by the bowling team and the other will be called by the batting team. In powerplay 2 and 3 only three fielders are allowed to field outside the 30 yard circle.

If any of the team doesn't call for the powerplay then it will become mandatory in the final overs.

  • Appeal

Appeal becomes important part of cricket since it is the way the fielding team appeals to the umpire for a wicket. Unless the team appeals the umpire cannot give his decision. Appeal is generally called in the form of 'How's That'.

Bowled Out


If a bowlers delivery hits the stumps and dislodges the bails completely then the batsmen is bowled out. At least one of the bails should be dislodged completely.

  • Caught Out

If the ball hits the bat or the glove (glove only if the bat is in contact with the bat) and the ball is caught by any fielder on the ground then the batsman is given caught out.

  • Run Out

If the bails on the stumps is dislodged by the fielding team while the batsmen are completing a run then it is called as run out.

  • Timed Out

Though very rare, if the next batsman in the line does not gets ready to face the delivery within the next 3 minutes of the previous batsman who was out, then the batsman is given timed out. In international cricket there has never been a situation when a batsman has been given timed out.

  • Stumped

A batsman is given stumped out if he goes to play the ball stepping out of his crease and the wicketkeeper dislodges the bails.

  • Leg Before Wicket or LBW

If the batsman's any part of the body (usually the leg) and the umpire adjudges that the ball would go on to hit the stumps then the batsman is given out leg before wicket. One thing to keep in mind here is that the ball should not pitch outside the line of leg stump.

  • Hit Wicket

If the batsman dislodges his stumps with his bat or body then the batsman is given out hit wicket.



If a team exceeds the runs made by the other team, then the team exceeding the runs wins the game.

  • Tie

After the last ball of the game is delivered and the runs made by both teams are equal then game is tied.

  • Draw

Draw which only applies to test cricket when the match is in situation where neither of the teams are in a position to win the game.

Though there are many more rules in the game of cricket, but these are the most important to keep in mind.

© 2011 Kannan Reddy

More by this Author

Comments 13 comments

vivek 21 months ago

cricket is my favraite game

AJIT KUMAR 2 years ago

can extra feilder do keeping or not

madu 4 years ago

folw the rules n win the match !

sandeep shammi 4 years ago

imposible game of possible person

rahi patel 4 years ago

if you win any worldcup or series where this price gon..........plese quck reply........i am waiting.....

kannanwrites profile image

kannanwrites 4 years ago from Mumbai Author

@qmfaisal In some instances the boundary rope is pulled in so that it's a high-scoring game.

qmfaisal profile image

qmfaisal 4 years ago from Dhaka

I'm just curious if there is difference in the field size for T20s and ODI/Tests. Because in IPL or Big Bash, it just seems that the grounds are a bit smaller.

ibrabashar 5 years ago

just too simple and explanatory

Dileep 5 years ago

In how many days one can learn cricket

kannanwrites profile image

kannanwrites 5 years ago from Mumbai Author

@Ruchira Thank for your comment. I did read your article when you published it in reply for WTI. Must say you covered it so nicely.

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Good write up kanan.

Btw I addressed the same sport but giving details for children above 5 to play.

Voted up!

Abhishek trivedi 5 years ago

You have make a very good arrangements of cricket information

AnkushKohli profile image

AnkushKohli 5 years ago from India

Wow! you almost summed up everything about cricket for a newbie. Cricket rules are very vast and takes a long time to understand and best to be learned while playing or watching it.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    kannanwrites profile image

    Kannan Reddy (kannanwrites)227 Followers
    84 Articles

    Kannan has grown up playing the most popular game in India : Cricket. He loves to watch cricket games waking up in the middle of the night.

    Click to Rate This Article