what are the rules of cricket

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Often it is important before playing any game you have the knowledge of the game, if not at least the basic rules of the game so that there is no dispute while playing the game and there is fun while playing the game.

As per wiki..

The Rules of cricket are a set by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) which describe the Rules of cricket worldwide, to ensure uniformity and fairness. There are currently 42 laws, which outline all aspects of how the game is played to how a team wins a game, how a batsman is dismissed, through to specifications on how the pitch is to be prepared and maintained. The MCC is a private club based in London in England and is no longer the game's official governing body; however the MCC retains the copyright in the laws of the game and only the MCC may change the laws, although nowadays this would usually only be done after discussions with the game's global governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC). Cricket is one of the few sports for which the governing principles are referred to as 'Laws' rather than as 'Rules' or 'Regulations'. However regulations to supplement and/or vary the laws may be agreed for particular competitions. Those applying for international matches (referred to as "playing conditions") can be found on the ICC's website’.

Below we shall cover all the cricket rules one by one..

Laws covering the players, officials.

Rule 1: The players rule. A cricket team consists of eleven players, including a captain. Outside of official competitions, teams can agree to play more than eleven-a-side, though no more than eleven players may field.

Rule 2: Substitutes. In cricket, a substitute may be brought on for an injured fielder. However, a substitute may not bat, bowl, keep wicket or act as captain. The original player may return if he has recovered. A batsman who becomes unable to run may have a runner, who completes the runs while the batsman continues batting. Alternatively, a batsman may retire hurt or ill, and may return later to resume his innings if he recovers.

Rule 3: The umpires. There are two umpires, who apply the Laws and make all necessary decisions, and relay the decisions to the scorers. While not required under the laws of cricket, in higher level cricket a third umpire (located off the ground and available to assist the on-field umpires) may be used under the specific playing conditions of a particular match or tournament.

Rule 4: The scorers. There are two scorers who respond to the umpires' signals and keep the score.

Equipment and laying out the pitch

After dealing with the players, the laws move on to discuss equipment and pitch specifications, except for specifications about the wicket-keeper's gloves, which are dealt with in Law 40. These laws are supplemented by Appendices A and B (see below).

Rule 5: The ball. A cricket ball is between 8 13/16 and 9 inches (22.4 cm and 22.9 cm) in circumference, and weighs between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (155.9g and 163g). Only one ball is used at a time, unless it is lost, when it is replaced with a ball of similar wear. It is also replaced at the start of each innings, and may, at the request of the fielding side, be replaced with a new ball, after a minimum number of overs have been bowled as prescribed by the regulations under which the match is taking place (currently 80 in Test matches). The gradual degradation of the ball through the innings is an important aspect of the game.

Rule 6: The bat. The bat is no more than 38 inches (97 cm) in length, and no more than 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) wide. The hand or glove holding the bat is considered part of the bat. Ever since the Heavy Metal incident, a highly publicised marketing attempt by Dennis Lillee, who brought out an aluminium bat during an international game, the laws have provided that the blade of the bat must be made of wood (and in practice, they are made from White Willow wood).

Law 7: The pitch. The pitch is a rectangular area of the ground 22 yards (20 m) long and 10 ft (3.0 m) wide. The Ground Authority selects and prepares the pitch, but once the game has started, the umpire’s control what happens to the pitch. The umpires are also the arbiters of whether the pitch is fit for play, and if they deem it unfit, with the consent of both captains can change the pitch. Professional cricket is almost always played on a grass surface. However, in the event a non-turf pitch is used, the artificial surface must have a minimum length of 58 ft (18 m) and a minimum width of 6 ft (1.8 m).

Law 8: The wickets. The wicket consists of three wooden stumps that are 28 inches (71 cm) tall. The stumps are placed along the batting crease with equal distances between each stump. They are positioned so they are 9 inches (23 cm) wide. Two wooden bails are placed on top of the stumps. The bails must not project more than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) above the stumps, and must, for men's cricket, be 4 516 inches (10.95 cm) long. There are also specified lengths for the barrel and spigots of the bail. There are different specifications for the wickets and bails for junior cricket. The umpires may dispense with the bails if conditions are unfit (i.e. it is windy so they might fall off by themselves). Further details on the specifications of the wickets are contained in Appendix A to the laws.

Law 9: Bowling, popping, and return creases. This law sets out the dimensions and locations of the creases. The bowling crease, which is the line the stumps are in the middle of, is drawn at each end of the pitch so that the three stumps in the set of stumps at that end of the pitch fall on it (and consequently it is perpendicular to the imaginary line joining the centres of both middle stumps). Each bowling crease should be 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 m) in length, centred on the middle stump at each end, and each bowling crease terminates at one of the return creases. The popping crease, which determines whether a batsman is in his ground or not, and which is used in determining front-foot no balls (see law 24), is drawn at each end of the pitch in front of each of the two sets of stumps. The popping crease must be 4 feet (1.2 m) in front of and parallel to the bowling crease. Although it is considered to have unlimited length, the popping crease must be marked to at least 6 feet (1.8 m) on either side of the imaginary line joining the centres of the middle stumps. The return creases, which are the lines a bowler must be within when making a delivery, are drawn on each side of each set of the stumps, along each sides of the pitch (so there are four return creases in all, one on either side of both sets of stumps). The return creases lie perpendicular to the popping crease and the bowling crease, 4 feet 4 inches (1.32 m) either side of and parallel to the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps. Each return crease terminates at one end at the popping crease but the other end is considered to be unlimited in length and must be marked to a minimum of 8 feet (2.4 m) from the popping crease.

Rule 10: Preparation and maintenance of the playing area. When a cricket ball is bowled it almost always bounces on the pitch, and the behaviour of the ball is greatly influenced by the condition of the pitch. As a consequence, detailed rules on the management of the pitch are necessary. This law contains the rules governing how pitches should be prepared, mown, rolled, and maintained.

Rule 11: Covering the pitch. The pitch is said to be 'covered' when the groundsmen have placed covers on it to protect it against rain or dew. The laws stipulate that the regulations on covering the pitch shall be agreed by both captains in advance. The decision concerning whether to cover the pitch greatly affects how the ball will react to the pitch surface, as a ball bounces differently on wet ground as compared to dry ground. The area beyond the pitch where a bowler runs so as to deliver the ball (the 'run-up') should ideally be kept dry so as to avoid injury through slipping and falling, and the Laws also require these to be covered wherever possible when there is wet weather.

Structure of the game

Rule 12 to 17 outline the structure of the game.

Rule 12: Innings. Before the game, the teams agree whether it is to be over one or two innings, and whether either or both innings are to be limited by time or by overs. In practice, these decisions are likely to be laid down by Competition Regulations, rather than pre-game agreement. In two-innings games, the sides bat alternately unless the follow-on (law 13) is enforced. An innings is closed once all batsmen are dismissed, no further batsmen are fit to play, the innings is declared or forfeited by the batting captain, or any agreed time or over limit is reached. The captain winning the toss of a coin decides whether to bat or to bowl first.

Rule 13: The follow-on. In a two innings match, if the side batting second scores substantially fewer runs than the side batting first, the side that batted first can require their opponents to bat again immediately. The side that enforced the follow-on has the chance to win without batting again. For a game of five or more days, the side batting first must be at least 200 runs ahead to enforce the follow-on; for a three- or four-day game, 150 runs; for a two-day game, 100 runs; for a one-day game, 75 runs. The length of the game is determined by the number of scheduled days play left when the game actually begins.

Rule 14: Declaration and forfeiture. The batting captain can declare an innings closed at any time when the ball is dead. He may also forfeit his innings before it has started.

Rule 15: Intervals. There are intervals between each day's play, a ten-minute interval between innings, and lunch, tea and drinks intervals. The timing and length of the intervals must be agreed before the match begins. There are also provisions for moving the intervals and interval lengths in certain situations, most notably the provision that if nine wickets are down, the tea interval is delayed to the earlier of the fall of the next wicket and 30 minutes elapsing.

Rule 16: Start of play; cessation of play. Play after an interval commences with the umpire's call of "Play", and at the end of a session by "Time". The last hour of a match must contain at least 20 overs, being extended in time so as to include 20 overs if necessary.

Rule 17: Practice on the field. There may be no batting or bowling practice on the pitch except before the day's play starts and after the day's play has ended. Bowlers may only have trial run-ups if the umpires are of the view that it would waste no time.

Scoring and winning

The laws then move on to discuss how runs can be scored and how one team can beat the other.

Rule 18: Scoring runs. Runs are scored when the two batsmen run to each other's end of the pitch. Several runs can be scored from one ball.

Rule 19: Boundaries. A boundary is marked round the edge of the field of play. If the ball is hit into or past this boundary, four runs are scored, or six runs if the ball didn't hit the ground before crossing the boundary.

Rule 20: Lost ball. If a ball in play is lost or cannot be recovered, the fielding side can call "lost ball". The batting side keeps any penalty runs (such as no-balls and wides) and scores the higher of six runs and the number of runs actually run.

Rule 21: The result. The side which scores the most runs wins the match. If both sides score the same number of runs, the match is tied. However, the match may run out of time before the innings have all been completed. In this case, the match is drawn.

Rule 22: The over. An over consists of six balls bowled, excluding wides and no balls. Consecutive overs are delivered from opposite ends of the pitch. A bowler may not bowl two consecutive overs.

Rule 23: Dead ball. The ball comes into play when the bowler begins his run up, and becomes dead when all the action from that ball is over. Once the ball is dead, no runs can be scored and no batsmen can be dismissed. The ball becomes dead for a number of reasons, most commonly when a batsman is dismissed, when a boundary is hit, or when the ball has finally settled with the bowler or wicketkeeper.

Rule 24: No ball. A ball can be a no ball for several reasons: if the bowler bowls from the wrong place; or if he straightens his elbow during the delivery; or if the bowling is dangerous; or if the ball bounces more than twice or rolls along the ground before reaching the batsman; or if the fielders are standing in illegal places. A no ball adds one run to the batting team's score, in addition to any other runs which are scored off it, and the batsman can't be dismissed off a no ball except by being run out, or by handling the ball, hitting the ball twice, or obstructing the field.

Rule 25: Wide ball. An umpire calls a ball "wide" if, in his or her opinion, the batsman did not have a reasonable opportunity to score off the ball. A ball is called wide when the bowler bowls a bouncer that goes over the head of the batsman. A wide adds one run to the batting team's score, in addition to any other runs which are scored off it, and the batsman can't be dismissed off a wide except by being run out or stumped, or by handling the ball, hitting his wicket, or obstructing the field.

Rule 26: Bye and Leg bye. If a ball that is not a no ball or wide passes the striker and runs are scored, they are called byes. If a ball that is not a no ball hits the striker but not the bat and runs are scored, they are called leg-byes. However, leg-byes cannot be scored if the striker is neither attempting a stroke nor trying to avoid being hit. Byes and leg-byes are credited to the team's but not the batsman's total.

Mechanics of dismissal

Rule 27 to 29 discuss the main mechanics of how a batsman may be dismissed.


Rule 27: Appeals. If the fielders believe a batsman is out, they may ask the umpire "How's That?", commonly shouted emphatically with arms raised, before the next ball is bowled. The umpire then decides whether the batsman is out. Strictly speaking, the fielding side must appeal for all dismissals, including obvious ones such as bowled. However, a batsman who is obviously out will normally leave the pitch without waiting for an appeal or a decision from the umpire.

Rule 28: The wicket is down. Several methods of being out occur when the wicket is put down. This means that the wicket is hit by the ball, or the batsman, or the hand in which a fielder is holding the ball, and at least one bail is removed, but if both bails have already been previously removed, one stump must be removed from the ground.

Rule 29: Batsman out of his ground. The batsmen can be run out or stumped if they are out of their ground. A batsman is in his ground if any part of him or his bat is on the ground behind the popping crease. If both batsman are in the middle of the pitch when a wicket is put down, the batsman closer to that end is out.

Ways to get out

Rule 30 to 39 discuss the various ways a batsman may be dismissed. In addition to these 10 methods, a batsman may retire out. That provision is in Law 2. Of these, caught is generally the commonest, followed by bowled, leg before wicket, run out and stumped. The other forms of dismissal are very rare.

Rule 30: Bowled. A batsman is out if his wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler. It is irrelevant whether the ball has touched the bat, glove, or any part of the batsman before going on to put down the wicket, though it may not touch another player or an umpire before doing so.

Rule 31: Timed out. An incoming batsman must be ready to face a ball (or be at the crease with his partner ready to face a ball) within 3 minutes of the outgoing batsman being dismissed, otherwise the incoming batsman will be out.

Law 32: Caught. If a ball hits the bat or the hand holding the bat and is then caught by the opposition within the field of play before the ball bounces, then the batsman is out.

Rule 33: Handled the ball. If a batsman wilfully handles the ball with a hand that is not touching the bat without the consent of the opposition, he is out.

Rule 34: Hit the ball twice. If a batsman hits the ball twice, other than for the sole purpose of protecting his wicket or with the consent of the opposition, he is out.

Rule 35: Hit wicket. If, after the bowler has entered his delivery stride and while the ball is in play, a batsman puts his wicket down by his bat or his body he is out. The striker is also out hit wicket if he puts his wicket down by his bat or his body in setting off for a first run. "Body" includes the clothes and equipment of the batsman.

Rule 36: Leg before wicket (LBW). If the ball hits the batsman without first hitting the bat, but would have hit the wicket if the batsman was not there, and the ball does not pitch on the leg side of the wicket, the batsman will be out. However, if the ball strikes the batsman outside the line of the off-stump, and the batsman was attempting to play a stroke, he is not out.

Rule 37: Obstructing the field. If a batsman wilfully obstructs the opposition by word or action, he is out.

Rule 38: Run out. A batsman is out if at any time while the ball is in play no part of his bat or person is grounded behind the popping crease and his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side.

Rule 39: Stumped. A batsman is out when the wicket-keeper (see Rule 40) puts down the wicket, while the batsman is out of his crease and not attempting a run.

Fielders

Rule 40: The wicket-keeper. The keeper is a designated man from the bowling side allowed to stand behind the stumps of the batsman. He is the only player from his side allowed to wear gloves and external leg guards.

Rule 41: The fielder. A fielder is any of the eleven cricketers from the bowling side. Fielders are positioned to field the ball, to stop runs and boundaries, and to get batsmen out by catching or running them out.

Fair and unfair play

Rule 42: Fair and unfair play.



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