Australia’s national sport can be confusing at times. We have all been left baffled at a decision, or even questioning what in the world is going on when watching a cricket game.

Thankfully, Hunter and Bligh will end all confusion with this Cricketing for Dummies guide. You might even end up being the next Bradman!

So let’s start with the makeup of the teams:

  • Cricket is played with two teams of 11.
  • These teams consist of Batsmen, Bowlers and players called All-Rounders.

Next, what will you need to play?

  • Simply, a round ball.
  • A length of flat round.
  • A bat.

Traditionally, cricket is played wearing pads and other various protective equipment to stop injury when facing the bowler. With cricket balls being bowled up to 161km/h (by some extremely talented cricketers) over a pitch measured only at 20.12 metres; protective gear is very important.

So how is the game scored?

  • The bowler, bowls the ball and the batsmen will hit the ball. If the batsmen successfully run to the other end of the pitch and back, that counts as a ‘run’. Alternatively, the player can hit the ball into the boundary on the bounce for a four, and over the boundary on the full for a six.
  • Runs are also scored for bowling penalties called ‘extras’ which include:
  • Wides: in which the ball is not delivered within the perimeter’s of the pitch
  • No-balls: in which the ball is delivered in a way which is deemed illegal ie. on the full over the waist or off the pitch.
  • Byes: when the batsmen run without touching the ball
  • Leg-byes: when the ball hits the batsmen, and not his bat, and they successfully run between the wickets.

How does the batsmen get out?

  • The batsmen’s primary objective is to protect his stumps whilst scoring runs
  • Bowled: the ball hits the stumps when the bowler delivers it
  • Caught: ball is caught by a fielder without it touching the ground
  • LBW (Leg Before Wicket): the ball strikes the player hindering it from hitting the stumps, only if the ball would have hit the stumps if the batsmen had not stopped it
  • Run-out: A batsmen does not make it to the crease before a fielder throws the ball and hits the stumps
  • Stumped: A batsmen is out of his crease whilst batting and the keeper hits the stumps with the ball

How do you win?

  • Winning a game varies depending on the format. But essentially, by scoring more runs in your innings (one round of 11 batters) than the other team.

There is also a variety of formats that can be played:

  • Test Cricket: Played over four days with four innings generally taking place, with the aim to bowl the other team out under your score overall, or score more runs than the other team throughout both innings.
  • One Day: Teams take part in one 50 over innings each, whoever has the most runs wins.
  • Twenty 20: Teams take part in one 20 over innings each, whoever has the most runs wins.

Now, let’s take a look at the most common fielding positions:

Image via Greg Chappel Cricket Centre

With only 11 fielders, the bowling team must choose the most appropriate combination of fielders to stop the batsmen from scoring.

Generally speaking:

  • In a test match: the field is much more attacking, as batsmen are not playing too many shots and fighting to stay at the crease as their main priority.
  • In a one-dayer: the field is generally split between attacking early on, and defensive later on when the batsmen start to score freely and attack to score the most runs possible.
  • In a T20: the field is defensive as possible to minimise runs, and attempt to keep the batting team to the lowest total possible as they attempt to score as many as they can.

So there you have it, you now have a basis of cricketing knowledge to impress any sporting fan. Just one tip, don’t talk about the ‘Sandpapergate’ incident okay?

If you still don’t understand the difference between a Batsmen and a Bowler, then watch this video: