A Complete Guide to Cricket

IPL fever grips the nation every year, the World cup is what keeps everyone on the edge, and cricketers are an idol for every aspiring cricketer! Cricket is synonymous with India, and if this riveting sport is what keeps you going, then this blog is nothing less than Pandora ’s Box full of interesting facts regarding the game!

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 What is Cricket?

 Cricket is a popular bat-and-ball sport governed by the International Cricket Council globally and BCCI in India. It is played by ten recognized test playing nations. The three formats are: Test Matches, 50-over and Twenty20.  The game is played in an oval ground. A side scores runs – the other side has to score one more to win the match. Twenty20 and 50-over matches are spread over two innings while Test matches can be played up to 4 innings. Legends of the game include Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev, Virender Sehwag and more.

 In a nutshell

Cricket is a game that is played between two sides using a bat and ball. By definition, a turn is called innings and a team scores runs; the other team scores one more in order to win. Test cricket is played by ten test playing nations. The three formats include Test Matches, 50-over and Twenty20.  The cricket world cup is the most popular tournament played every 4 years. Domestically, the Indian Premier League is the most watched Twenty20 tournament. Cricket is governed by the laws set by MCC and the matches are governed by the International Cricket Council. In India, the BCCI is the body that regulates domestic tournaments including the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy. Cricket is a sport that has many legends including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and more.

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 A Brief History

  • Cricket is a bat-and-ball game that is played between two teams of 11 players each. The primary modus operandi is batting and putting up a score that the other team then chases. In order to win, the second team has to score one more run than the first team, else the latter wins the match. The match is played on a 22-yard pitch.
  • Cricket is played in three formats: Test matches, 50-over match and Twenty20. The ten test playing nations recognized by the ICC are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa and the West Indies.
  • The game of cricket was first reportedly played in the 16th century in England and then spread through English colonialism in the 18th 

When it comes to rules 

  • The two turns in Cricket are called innings. In Test matches, two innings are allotted per side. In 50-over match and Twenty20, one innings each is allotted to each team, respectively of 50 overs and 20 overs. A toss of coin decides which team would bat or field first. At the two ends of the pitch, stumps (comprising three wickets) are planted. A crease, usually drawn with white lines is drawn at the two ends. The bowler has to bowl from behind the crease. The batsman has to cross the crease at the other end when taking a run.
  • The run is scored is when a batsman hits the ball and the two batsmen run to the other end. The batsman can run as many runs as he can. The fielder can run out the batsman if he fails to make it to the crease.
  • When the batsman hits the ball to the boundary before hitting the ground he scores four runs. When the ball goes directly over the boundary without touching the ground, the batsman scores six runs, which is the maximum he can score off one ball.

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The bowler can get the batsman out in multiple ways.

– If he fails to strike the ball with the bat, and the ball hits the stumps

– if the ball is caught by the fielder without hitting the ground.

– if the ball hits the batsman’s body when in line of the stumps, often called LBW

– if the batsman fails to make it to the crease and the fielder hits the stumps.

– if the batsman hits the stumps with his body while batting, called it wicket

–though rare, if the batsman obstructs the field

– if the batsman handles the ball without using the bat

  • The batting team also gets runs in extras. When a bowler fails to bowl from behind the crease, it is called a no ball. In case of a no ball, the batting sided is awarded one run. The bowler has to re-bowl that ball. If the bowler bowls a ball that is out of reach of a batsman to strike the ball, the ball is called a wide.
  • The batting side is again awarded a run. In cases of both wide and no ball, the bowler has to re-bowl the ball. Sometimes, the batsman runs a run(s) if the ball hits a part of his body and not the bat. In such a case leg bye is awarded. If the ball beats everybody then it is given a bye.
  • The batsman when given out is replaced by the next batsman to take the strike. The last batsman cannot bat by himself. In 50-over and Twenty20 match, the innings is over when all the batsmen from a side are out or the overs are completed. In Test matches, a side may choose to declare the innings.
  • An over consists of 6 balls. A bowler is replaced by another bowler once he has bowled an over from the other end. In Test matches, a bowler can bowl as many overs as he chooses. In a 50-over match, a bowler can bowl a maximum of 10 overs. In Twenty20 matches, a bowler can bowl a maximum of 4 overs.
  • There is a fast bowler who bowls from a run-up at a fast speed of around 90 kms per hour. A spinner (of various kinds) spins the bowl and typically bowls slower through the air. A medium pacer, bowling at a speed between a pacer and a spinner, bowls at about 120 kms per hour.
  • Each side has a wicketkeeper as well whose job is to keep the wickets. He stands behind the wickets collecting the ball that a batsman chooses to leave or edges behind. It is a specialist job.
  • A Test match is spread over 5 days unless the match gets over earlier. Each day has three sessions of 30 overs each. Two breaks namely lunch break and tea are undertaken, of 45 minutes or 20 minutes respectively. In 50-over and Twenty20 matches, a break is taken between the two innings.
  • The match ends when the innings are completed. The umpires have the right to call off a match when the weather is bad. The winning side wins either by runs margin or by wickets. In case the two teams score same number of runs, the match is a tie. A test match can also end in a draw in case the number of innings fail to finish.

The match is regulated by two umpires. One stands at the non-striker’s end and the other at square leg. A match referee oversees the match. A third umpire, who sits in a cabin, is consulted for match decisions like run outs and catches.

Specifications that one must know about 

The bat is made of willow wood, measuring not more than 4.25 inches in width and 38 inches in length. The ball is made of leather with seams, with a circumference of 9 inches. Typically, a red ball is used in Test matches, and white ball in limited over matches.

Who are the governing bodies for Cricket?

The game of cricket is globally governed by International Cricket Council or simply ICC. The ICC governs the international matches. Notably, the cricket World Cup and Champions Trophy are held under the auspices of the ICC.

  • As in February 2016, the Dubai-based council has 104 members, 10 full members, 34 associate members and 60 affiliate members.
  • As in February 2016, N.Srinivasan is the chairman of the board. Zaheer Abbas of Pakistan is the president, while Dave Richardson is CEO.

The laws of the game however are governed by the England-based Marylebone Cricket Club.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the governing body of cricket in India. The BCCI is the richest sports body of India and the richest cricketing body in the world. As of February 2016, Shankar Manohar was the chairman of the BCCI. 

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Important Championships 

On an International Level: 

ICC Cricket World Cup: The ICC Cricket world cup happens every four years. The first edition was held in 1975 in the England, won by the West Indies. Australia holds the record for winning the maximum titles of 5, followed by the West Indies and India who each hold 2 titles. The last edition, held in 2015, was won by the hosts Australia when they defeated New Zealand in the final. The 2019 world cup is scheduled in England.

ICC World T20: The ICC World T20 is held in a gap of 2 years although the editions after 2016 are scheduled at a gap of 4 years. The first edition was held in 2007 in South Africa won by India who defeated Pakistan in the final. The five winners till 2015 have been India, Pakistan, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka. 

ICC Champions Trophy:  The ICC Champions Trophy is a one-day tournament held every two years. South Africa won the first edition in 1988 defeating the West Indies. India won the 2013 edition in England.

The Ashes: Though not an ICC event, the Ashes is most fiercely fought test series in the history of cricket. Played between traditional rivals England and Australia, the series has its origins in the 1882-83 series. Since then, the two teams play for the urn.  England won the Ashes in 2015 by a margin of 3-2. 

In India

Ranji Trophy: Ranji Trophy is a premiere championship in India, with 27 state teams competing every year. The tournament is named in the honor of Ranjitsinhji, the first Indian to play for England and Sussex. The first edition of the tournament happened in 1934-35. It was won by Bombay who have till 2015 won the maximum number of championships.

Duleep Trophy: Duleep Trophy is played between various zones of India under the auspices of the BCCI. The tournament is named after former Indian great Duleepsinhji. The tournament is played between five geographical zones, namely North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone. The first edition was played in 1961-62. Till 2015, North Zone and West Zone have won the maximum championships with 18 each. 

BCCI Corporate Trophy: The BCCI Corporate trophy is an inter-corporate tournament with 50-over side matches between 12 sides. In this competition, top Indian cricketers play alongside academy cricketers.

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Also known as Ranji One Day Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy is played between all Ranji teams who vie for the coveted trophy in a 50-over format. The first edition was played in the season 2002-2003, won by Tamil Nadu. The tournament is named after former Indian batsmen Vijay Hazare. 

Deodhar Trophy: The Deodhar Trophy is a 50-over tournament that is played between zonal teams. It is named after DB Deodhar, the Grand Old Man of Indian Cricket. The first edition was played in 1973-74, won by South Zone.

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Named after Syed Mushtaq Ali, the tournament is a Twenty20 competition played by Ranji teams. The first edition was held in 2009-10, with Maharashtra taking the title by defeating Hyderabad.

Indian Premier League: Undoubtedly the most popular of BCCI tournaments, the IPL is a Twenty20 cricket league that takes place each year in April and May. The tournament is competed by franchisees owned by private owners. The IPL is the most watched Twenty20 league in the world, with an estimated brand value of USD 7.2 billion. The inaugural edition in 2008 was won by the Rajasthan Royals.

Till 2015, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings had won the trophy twice. Foreign players are also allowed to compete in the tournament, though no side can play more than 4 foreign players in the starting XI. 

Famous Cricketers

For a game, that has a rich history of more than 100 years, it is replete with legends. Some of the legendary players are as mentioned:

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Sachin Tendulkar:  Unarguably the greatest Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar rose from prodigious heights to become the most popular and loved Indian sportsman. He holds a myriad records, including the most hundreds in Tests and ODIs, and most runs in both Tests and ODIs. He made his debut at the age of 16 against Pakistan in 1989, and retired in 2013 with a bagful of records and fans from all over the world. Sachin Tendulkar was a part of the 2011 world-cup winning team.

Kapil Dev: Kapil Dev is a legendary Indian all-rounder revered by critics all around the world. A fast bowler with a record 432 wickets in his time, played 131 Tests for India bowling with an average of 29.64 and scoring over 5000 runs. Kapil Dev captained the Indian team that won the 3rd edition of World Cup in 1983. He was also announced by Wisden as Indian cricketer of the century.

Sunil Gavaskar: At his peak, Sunil Gavaskar held the two most cherished records as a Test batsman – highest number of runs and most Test centuries. He was known for his textbook defense and shotmaking all around the wicket. Till Sachin Tendulkar arrived on the scene, he was unarguably the best Test batsman India had produced. He was part of the 1983 world cup winning team.

Anil Kumble: Anil Kumble is a name that cannot be left out of this list of Indian cricket legends. Statistically, he is the highest wicket taker for India at 619 though his cricketing persona goes beyond just numbers. During the 90s and 2000s, Kumble was the cornerstone of Indian spin bowling, both at home and abroad. Known for his tenacity, Kumble once bowled with a broken jaw against the West Indies. He also played 271 ODIs for India bagging 337 wickets.

Rahul Dravid: Rightly known with the moniker of the Wall, Rahul Dravid was the most solid of Indian batsmen with a tendency to play long and selfless innings. He made a sensational debut against England making 95, and never looked back. One of the most prolific batsmen of his age, he played 164 tests for India, scoring mammoth 13,288 runs at a healthy average of 52.31. He also played 344 ODIs for India, scoring 10,899 runs at an average of 39.16. 

Virender Sehwag: No one really needs an introduction to Virender Sehwag. He was easily the most destructive batsman India has ever produced. There have been Tendulkars and Dravids but nobody could take the match away like Sehwag. Despite his ability to score fast, he could bat for long that is testified in his record for highest score by an Indian in Test matches – 319. In 104 Tests that he played for India he scored 8586 runs at an average of 49.34 and an unbelievable strike rate of 82.23. In ODIs Sehwag piled 8273 runs at an average of 35.05 

If your child exhibits supreme skill in either bowling or batting, and if there is a budding Cricketer in the making, then Yoachiever can help achieve that dream and much more! Get in touch with us, and enable your kid to be the next world champion in Cricket!



Varsha Singh is associated with Yoachievers as a Content Writer.