The Crease and Stumps

The crease and stumps are two aspects of the game, which haven’t changed since the game was formed. There have been slight modifications but no major changes. The crease and stumps lie in the centre of the field.

The Crease

There are three creases used in the modern game and are all marked in white lines:

  • The first of the three being the bowling crease. This line is 8ft 8in long and has three stumps dug into it in the middle.

  • The second being the popping crease. This line is 4ft in front of the bowling crease and is unlimited in length, although only 6ft of it is marked. The popping crease has three purposes:

  • It marks the batsman’s ‘ground’,
  • It also marks the point where the bowler can’t over step when bowling (part of his/her foot has to be on or behind the line).  
  • And it also marks the line in which the batsmen must ground their bat when running between the wickets to score a run.

  • And the final crease being the return crease. This line is marked at right angles to the other creases. Its purpose is to indicate to the bowler that his back foot must not cut the line during a delivery.  

The Stumps

Since the game was found there has always been three stumps, leg, middle and off. Which is which depends if the batsman is left-handed or right-handed. Each stump must be 28in in length above ground and all three must be evenly spaced out within 9in. Sitting on top of these stumps in grooves are two bails.

The Bat

Cricket first became popular in the mid-eighteenth century. And since then the bat has been through many changes. It first started of as a wielded, curved piece of wood and but as the nineteenth century was approaching so was the end of the more traditional bats. These more ‘traditional’ bats were replaced by a rather more flimsy looking piece of wood. And have held their ground since, for 100 years.

Although, up to now the style of cricket bats haven’t changed like of one’s occurred in the early nineteenth century. However there have been a few modifications showing cricket has moved on. By 1970 manufacturers starting producing thicker and heavier bats, along with this came legal gimmicks pioneered to go in the batsmen’s favour. Probably the most successful one of the lot was the ‘scoop’ manufactured by Grey Nicholls. The ‘scoop’ was an area of the back of the batsman’s bat, which had been carved to improve balance and widen the sweet spot. The sweet spot is also more commonly known as the middle of the bat, located 6in from the toe of the bat and is often the thickest part of the bat. Other popular gimmicks included peppering little holes onto the bat for balance, designed by manufacturers, Duncan Fearnley.


There are very few laws for a legal bat but ironically enough there are no restrictions on the weight of the bat. The most common weight of a batsman’s bat is 2lb 6oz. However the bat must not exceed 38in in length including the handle and must not be more than 4¼ in in width. And finally it must also only be made out of wood (willow).

Nowadays nearly every batsman has a tailored bat. This means that they have a bat made specifically for them. If it means cutting of pieces of the bat, then so be it. Batsmen also don’t only have one bat. On average they use up to 5 different bats in every game. But each batsman has a favourite among them, which they take very good care of.              


The Ball

A legal test ball is made of red leather with the interior core made of cork and also has a flax seam. It weighs no more than     5½ oz. In test cricket a new ball is available for the captain to take after every 80 overs. However the captain does not have to use it straight away and might delay taking it if his bowlers are using the old ball well. This has become more common in modern test cricket. But if a ball comes apart or goes out of shape then the ball may be replaced if the umpires are not happy with it. It is legal to use saliva or swear to help polish the ball, but anything else like sun cream for example is forbidden and the player may faces bans or fines for ball tampering.  

There are many manufacturers of balls used specifically for test cricket. Dukes being the most popular cricket ball used in this cricket as it keeps its shine longer. In Australia, being the Kookaburra ball, which has a prouder seam. In the sub-continent, being Indian made balls, which are harder wearing balls. Each ball is suited to each country’s climate.

Before the start of play on the first day of the test match and after the two captains have tossed, the umpires present a box of cricket balls to the captain of the fielding side, for him to choose one to start play. When deciding he may be accompanied by his first choice bowler.  


Equipment used in modern cricket to either bat or field.












How Runs are Scored?

  • A batsman is given a run every time he successfully crosses the popping crease from one end to the other. As long as he has grounded his bat, otherwise that run would not be offered.
  • If the ball carries to the boundary four runs will be awarded to the batsman.
  • If the ball carries over the boundary without bouncing then six runs will be awarded to the batsman.
  • One run shall be awarded for either a no-ball, wide and five if the ball hits an item of clothing or equipment of the fielding side.
  • A run is also awarded if a lost ball is called. But this is very rare nowadays.

Eleven Ways of Being Out

Unless a batsman is clean bowled or isn’t obviously out. The fielding side need to appeal to the umpire for batsman to be given out.

Below are the eleven ways of getting out:

  • Bowled – When the ball going straight onto the stumps or via the batsman breaks at least one bail.
  • Caught – When the ball that comes of the bat or the glove holding the bat is caught by a fielder before it touches     the ground.
  • Leg Before Wicket (LBW) – When the ball is blocked by the pad without coming of the bat first. This is only given out by the umpire if the he thinks the ball would have gone on to hit the wickets and if it didn’t pitch on or outside leg stump. But for they’re to be any chance of a dismissal the fielding side must appeal to the umpire. This is known to be the most complex law in cricket. That’s why if the umpire is in any doubt he must give the batsman the benefit.  
  • Stumped – When the bails are removed by the wicket keeper when the batsman has advanced out of the popping crease. For this to be given out the ball must be in the keeper’s gloves when the bails are broken. Along with this should be an appeal.
  • Run out – When the wicket is broken before the batsman has reached his ground when attempting to make a run.

The above dismissals are the five most common ways of getting out.

  • Hit wicket – When the wicket is broken by the batsman himself.
  • Handled the ball – When a batsman obstructs the ball from reaching the stumps using his hands.
  • Double hit – When the batsman is judged to have gained advantage by hitting the ball twice.
  • Obstructing the field – When a batsman prevents a fielder from taking a catch.

The remaining two dismissals below are very rare in cricket:

  • Timed out – When a new batsman doesn’t arrive in the middle within three minutes of the last wicket.  
  • Retired out – When a batsman is forced to withdraw from his innings through injury. However if he recovers from his injury he can come back in to complete his innings on the fall of the next wicket.


Like in many sports someone gifted in the knowledge and experience of the sport is needed to keep things under control. But what makes cricket different to other sports is that there isn’t just one member of authority on the pitch. For the last 250 years or so two have kept an eye on duals between two teams. Both are around for different purposes. One will stand behind the stumps, facing the batsman on strike from the bowlers end. His job is to judge no balls, wides, lbws, catches and fine snicks to the keeper or anyone else in the slip coordinate. The second umpire stands in the square leg position. He may have to adjust to accommodate both right and left-handed batsmen. His job is to judge no-balls, stumpings, run-outs and anything else that would require a front on view. And as technology continues to advance forward, more pressure starts to build on these umpires to use video technology to their aid in decision making, as the third-umpire becomes compulsory at Test match level. The job of the third-umpire is to help aid the umpires out in the square in their decision making using video technology. They usually come into action when an umpire isn’t sure about run-outs and catches. But nowadays they also come into action when a fielder just stops the ball going for a boundary. And planning is going on if they should use T.V monitored replays to judge lbws. If such an action is passed by the International Cricket Council then the future of umpiring becomes very uncertain. And a match referee is also involved in the modern game. Like the third-umpire he to has to sit in a small cubicle above the ground. His job is to write a report on the game after the match. He can also write reports on a players’ behaviour, which can lead to suspensions from actions such as showing decent to the umpires. So much controversy has come into the modern game these days that thought of instating the fourth-umpire is becoming very likely. Up till now they have only been used as a reserve.      

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The most famous umpire out of the lot is probably Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird. He is known for his passion for the sport, but not only this makes you the best in the world. He’s kept charge of 66 Test matches more than any other umpire in the umpire.

Most successful umpires these days all started out as professional first-class players. And many have also played at international level, such as India’s Umpire Venkat.

Umpiring Signals

Below are the signals used by umpires in the modern game. These signals are used to communicate to players, scorers and ...

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