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How to Play Cricket - Guide For Beginners

Updated on January 23, 2018
kannanwrites profile image

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.

Let's Play Cricket

As a youngster growing up in India I know cricket is the only outdoor game that many of us played. It is only and only cricket in India. Despite hockey being the national game of India, cricket is more like the de facto national game. I have played cricket all through my childhood days and still like to play on the weekends. Playing this sport is like having a complete body workout without going to the gym.

In this article, I'll explain all about how to play cricket, equipment used, rules and regulations. So that by the end of this page you'll be ready for your first game.

Things You'll Need To Play Cricket

  • Cricket Bat

Bat is nothing but a stick used to hit the ball to score runs. According to rules, a bat can be no longer than 38 inches in height and 4.5 inches in width. It can weigh anywhere between 1 kg to even 2.5 kg.

For a beginner:

It is recommended to use a lighter weight bat to get used to it and then go for a heavier bat. Most players use a bat that weighs around 1 to 1.8 kg. Some prefer lighter bat whereas some prefer heavier bats, the choice is often left to the player.

A cricket bat
A cricket bat | Source
  • Cricket Ball

The cricket ball is round in shape and commonly is in red or white color and made of leather. The red color ball is used in day matches or longer games (such as a five-day match). Whereas the white ball is used in shorter format matches or in day-night matches.

For a beginner:

It is okay even if you use a tennis ball to play your first match as the traditional cricket ball is heavier. Playing with heavier one for the first time is not recommended.

As a fact, many in India and I'm sure in many other countries people play with a tennis ball or rubber balls. If you want to play just for fun go for the normal tennis ball. Consider the leather ball once you get comfortable with the game and want to go to the next level.

This type of ball used in test matches.
This type of ball used in test matches. | Source
This type of ball is used in one day and day-night matches.
This type of ball is used in one day and day-night matches. | Source
  • Stumps

Stumps are wooden sticks beaten on the ground with two bails at the top. This form is known as wickets; they are placed on either side of the pitch. Don't know about pitch, more about that in the next point. The stumps should no longer be 28 inches in height and 9 inches wide.

For a Beginner:

If you can't afford to buy stumps. At this point, you can arrange some other substitute which can go in as stumps.

Three stumps, two bails make a complete set known as a wicket.
Three stumps, two bails make a complete set known as a wicket. | Source
  • Ground and Pitch

The ground for cricket is spherical in shape and the part on which the batsman plays the game is known as pitch. In international cricket, the pitch is in a rectangular shape of 20 meters long and 3 meters wide. Pitch is one of the most important elements to playing cricket as the bounciness of the ball and how to bat on the surface depends on it. Some pitches are dry and hard which will help fast bowlers whereas some may be extremely favorable for batting. And some other may favor spin bowling.

The pitch is marked at various places to accompany different aspects of the game. Wickets are placed at both ends. At the bowler's side, there is bowling crease marked of 8 feet 8 inches. Bowler's popping crease which is the area from inside the bowler should bowl the ball is 4 feet.

For a Beginner:

As a newbie, you could find the nearest ground from your place. No need for any markings and all that at this point in time. Stumps and bowling crease would be enough.

A cricket pitch
A cricket pitch | Source
You don't need a ground like Melbourne Cricket Ground just to start playing cricket
You don't need a ground like Melbourne Cricket Ground just to start playing cricket | Source

Important Aspects for Playing Cricket

  • Teams

Cricket is a team sport. A match is played between two teams with an equal number of players on either side. At the start of the game, a coin is tossed and the team winning the toss has the opportunity to choose to bat or to bowl.

For a Beginner:

International matches consist of 11 players on either side. If you don't have that many on each side then you can play with an equal number of players in both teams.

Look how a toss is done.
Look how a toss is done. | Source
  • Batting

Batting means to score runs. Score as many runs as you can that the opposite team can't get past your score. First two batters will open and as one gets out the other follows until no one is left to bat or the overs are finished.

For a Beginner:

The basic idea is to hit the ball as far as you can and get runs. But hitting every ball will not be helpful because that approach can get you out caught or get you bowled. There are many techniques that you can use to make you a better player. Some of the tips and basic cricketing shots are explained in the below video.

Batting Basics

  • Bowling

The bowling team will bowl the overs and try to restrict the batting team to score as less as they can. In international cricket, there are 90 overs that should be bowled in a day for a five-day match. One day match has 50 overs per inning and 20-20 match 20 overs.

An over is simply a collection of deliveries that a bowler simultaneously bowls. Over is completed when a bowler bowls 6 legal deliveries. If a bowler bowls a wide or a no ball then it counts as an extra and it has to be re-bowled.

As a bowler you'll have to get wickets, this means that you should be able to out the opposite team batsman. There are several ways a batsman can be out (More on that later on this page).

For a Beginner:

You don't have to play a match of 40-50 overs. Make that less, even a 7-over a side match is a good beginning and you can finish the match within 30 minutes.

With this strategy, you can play more games and each player of the team will get adequate time to experience various aspects i.e batting, bowling etc.

Bowling Basics

Ways a Batsman Can Get Out

Getting Out
Batsman hits the ball with the bat and a fielder catches it without touching the ground.
If the bowler's delivery hits the stumps and the bails are dislodged then it is out bowled.
Run Out
If a fielder hits the stumps with the ball and the batsman is not able to complete the run then it is run out.
This can be compared to run out, only that the wicketkeeper removes the bails when a batsman moves forward to hit the ball and misses it.
Leg Before Wicket / LBW
If the bowl touches any part of the legs then it is LBW. Also the ball should pitch in line and within the height of stumps to be adjudged as LBW.
Obstructing the field
Though very rare but if a batsman is obstructing the field (by action or words) the it can be ruled as out.
Hit Wicket
This comes in effect when a batsman dislodges his own stumps knowingly or unknowingly.
Hitting the Ball Twice
Yes, if a batsman hits the ball twice then that is also out.
Handled the Ball
As a batsman if you handle the bowl then that also can be out.
Retired Hurt
If a batsman gets injured in the process of his play then it is retired out. Though a batsman can resume the innings if he feels better but only with the consent of the other team's captain.
Timed Out
A batsman should arrive at the crease within 3 minutes after the departure of his partner otherwise it is timed out.

Video Presentation on Ways to Get Out

  • Fielding

The side bowling is also responsible to field the ground to prevent the runs getting scored. Fielding is another important aspect here. Most successful teams will have excellent fielders. For example, the South African international team is great as a fielding unit.

For a Beginner:

Spread the field on all sides and don't stand at the position which is near to the batsman. Standing near without any helmets can be extremely dangerous. Also, don't try to fly and catch the ball, this won't help either, rather will injure you. Try to judge the ball and then field it. Keep your eyes on the ball always to become a great fielder.

Fielding Basics

Different Fielding Terms

  • Umpire

They are also very necessary to conduct the game properly. The umpire becomes important because they are the ones who make decisions on the field. Such as giving a batsman out, imposing a penalty, or altogether dismissing the game if it rains.

For a Beginner:

If you don't have a specific person for umpiring then anybody from within your or the other team can become an umpire. You know, cricket is a gentleman's game. So respect the decision of the umpire and play in the spirit of the game. And as they say, umpire's decision is the final decision.

Video on How an Umpire signals various decisions?

Expanation of Umpire signals

Umpire's Decision
Umpire raises his index finger to indicate that the batsman is out and should leave the field.
By waving hands from the left to right in front of the chest four runs are indicated.
Raising both index fingers above head six runs are indicated.
By raising one hand with palm opened above the head.
Leg Bye
The umpire raises one knee and touches it.
One Short
If a batsman runs a short run then it is signaled by tapping the shoulder with fingers.
Wide Ball
By stretching both hands horizontally.
Dead Ball
By crossing and uncrossing both hands below the waist.
No Ball
By stretching single hand horizontally.
This is signaled when a batsman is not ready and the ball is bowled. It is shown by crossing both hands to touch the shoulder.
New Ball
There are often times situation when the ball is changed. New ball is suggested by holding the ball with raised hand and showing it to the players.
Penalty Runs
If a team or a player indulges in any misconduct then penalty runs are awarded. This is done by touching the shoulder with a hand to give penalty runs to the bowling side, and if the hand is tapped the runs are awarded to the batting side.

Umpire Signals in Cricket

  • Captain and the Team

Unlike other team sports, in cricket, it is such that a captain plays a very important role in the game. He/she is the one responsible for all that is happening with his team on the ground. The coach can only plan outside the ground, on the field, it's the captain who decides.

How to Play Your First Cricket Game : Simple and Easy Steps

So you are about to play cricket for the first time. Here is a quick guide to help you make an informed decision and enjoy your first match.

  1. You have already completed the first step by reading this page.
  2. Buy or arrange for the necessary equipment that you'll need to play.
  3. Gather your friends and make two teams out of it.
  4. It's toss time now.
  5. Decide if you want to bat or bowl. Most of the time when I win the toss I choose to bat. Batting is the most enjoyable part of this game. I may be biased on this one but that's how I feel.
  6. Make as much as runs you and your team can.
  7. Bowl and restrict the opposite team to the score lesser than yours.
  8. Hurray, you have won the match.
  9. How about playing one more!

A Recap Video to Learn Cricket

Will you play cricket?

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© 2012 Kannan Reddy


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    • profile image

      Rajan 2 years ago

      Simply step into Indian Guli Cricket you will learn faster...

    • profile image

      Hisham 3 years ago

      I am an begginer and I am an spin baller and fast bowler,I want to be an all-rounder Thus this site helped me with it ! Thanks for the tips

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 6 years ago from Mumbai

      @dinkan53 Thanks for stopping by.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 6 years ago from India

      good work, this is an excellent hub for beginners and your way of explanation is perfect. Marked as useful.

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 6 years ago from Mumbai

      @Shake Shah Great that you liked it. Thanks.

    • Shake Shah profile image

      Shake Shah 6 years ago from Manjeri

      nice work kannanwrites. voted up!!