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How to Play Cricket: Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Updated on June 25, 2015
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.

As a youngster growing up in India I know cricket is the only game that many Indians would have 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.

Firstly let me tell you that cricket is the second most watched sport in world and as opposed to the seventies it is now played in many countries all over the world. This game is very famous in the Indian subcontinent, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, and England. They form the chunk of the international matches played in world.

To me the reason cricket wasn't as famous as it is today because the game had very longer versions such as Test Cricket (takes 5 days to complete), One Day (takes a whole day to complete). But now to make it famous the international cricket authority has brought many changes that make the sport viewer friendly and exciting. Like they have introduced the shorter version, 20-20 over match, which gets finished in less that three hours.

In this hub, I'll explain all about how to play cricket, about the equipment used, about the rules and regulations, and how you can start to play cricket for the first time.

If you don't know anything about cricket then my recommendation would be to read this hub first at a stretch and read one more time to completely know about each and every word that you may find difficult.

Things You'll Need To Play Cricket

  • Cricket Bat

Bat is nothing but a stick use 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 quickly 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. The red color ball is mainly used in day matches or longer games (such as 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 and playing with heavier one for the first time may harm you. As a fact, many in India and I'm sure in many other countries people play with tennis ball or rubber balls. If you want to play just for fun go for the normal tennis ball. Consider the tennis ball once you get comfortable with the game and want to go to the next level.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This type of ball used in test matches.This type of ball is used in one day and day-night matches.
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 that are beated in the ground with two bails at the top. These forms what is known as wickets; they are place 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 Begineer : 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

Simple the ground for cricket in 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 rectangular shape of 20 meter long and 3 meter wide. Pitch is one of important element to play cricket as the bounciness of the ball and how to bat on the surface depends on the pitch. Some pitches are dry and hard which will help fast bowlers whereas some may be extremely favorable for batting or some other may favor spin bowling.

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

For a Begineer : As a newbie you could find the nearest ground from your place and assemble a pitch by making the surface plain and then mark the necessary markers and play cricket.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A cricket pitchYou don't need a ground like Melbourne Cricket Ground just to start playing cricket
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
  • Rules and Regulations of Playing Cricket

Before diving further I want you to read about the rules of the game. I've written a hub focusing on the rules which is found her. Read that hub and comeback here to read further. Knowing about the rules will help you in getting to know the game more clearly.

There are many rules that one should follow in playing cricket but the highly relevant and mostly used ones are listed in the below article.

Important Aspects for Playing Cricket

  • Teams

Cricket is a team sport. A match is played between two teams with 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 are played with 11 players on either side but if don't have that many on each side then also you can play with equal number of players in both teams.

Look how a toss is done. Yes, no need of a ground, cricket can also be played inside your building compound. Just take care of the neighbourhood's glasses.
Look how a toss is done. Yes, no need of a ground, cricket can also be played inside your building compound. Just take care of the neighbourhood's glasses. | Source

Batting Basics

  • Batting

Batting means to score runs. Score as many runs as you can that the opposite team can't get pass 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 the bowler will be able to blow your stumps. There are many techniques that you can employ to make you a better player. Some of the tips and basic cricketing shots are explained in the below video.

Bowling Basics

Video Presentation on Ways to Get Out

  • 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, 50 in one day matches, and 20 in twenty-twenty internationals.

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 in this hub).

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. So, with this strategy you can play more games and each of the team and player will get adequate time to experience each aspect of the game i.e batting, bowling etc.

Ways a Batsman Can Get Out

Getting Out
Batsman hits the ball with the bat and a fielder catches the ball without touching the ground
If the bowler's delivery hits the stumps and the bails are dislogdged then it 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 as 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 a bowl touches any part of the batsman other than the glove or the bat then it is LBW. Also the ball should pitch in line to be adjudjed 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.
Ritered Hurt
If a batsman gets injured in the process of his play then it is retired out. Though a batsman can come to 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.
  • Fielding

The side bowling is also responsible to field the ground to prevent the runs being scored. Fielding is another most important aspect here. Most successful teams will have excellent fielders which make it hard for the other team to score runs. If I can give you a real world example then the South African or the Australian international team are great as a fielding unit.

For a Beginner : Spread the field in 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 game always to become a great fielder.

Fielding Basics

  • Umpire

They are also very necessary to conduct the game properly. The umpire becomes extremely important because they are the ones who will decide various things such as giving a batsman out, imposing penalty, or altogether dismissing the game if it rains in the middle or before starting the match.

For a Beginner : If you don't have a specific person to umpire for a game 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?

Umpire Signals in Cricket


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 a 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.
  • 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 strategize outside the ground, on the field it's the captain who decides. He is the one who wil be responsible for placing the field properly, to organize and select who should bowl or bat next or decide when declare an inning (last one only applies for test cricket).

How to Play Your First Cricket Game : Simple and Easy to Follow 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 hub.
  2. Gather more information about cricket.
  3. Buy or arrange for the necessary equipment that you'll need to play.
  4. Gather your friends and make two teams out of it.
  5. It's toss time now.
  6. 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 in this game. I may be biased on this one but that's how I feel.
  7. Make as much as runs.
  8. Bowl properly and restrict the opposite team to the score lesser than yours.
  9. Hurray you have won the match.
  10. How about playing one more!

A Recap Video to Learn Cricket

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    • profile image

      Rajan 22 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Hisham 2 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 5 years ago from Mumbai

      @dinkan53 Thanks for stopping by.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 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 5 years ago from Mumbai

      @Shake Shah Great that you liked it. Thanks.

    • Shake Shah profile image

      Shake Shah 5 years ago from Manjeri

      nice work kannanwrites. voted up!!