Cricket, like the baseball and softball, is a game of bat-and-ball played between two teams of 11 players. Players play this game on a field which there is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Like baseball and softball, each team takes its turn to bat, attempt to score runs, while the other teams will defend by fielding. The objective of the game is for a team to score runs more than its opponents. This game is very popular in Asia, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Parts of the Cricket Playing Field
A typical cricket field is a large oval/elliptical shaped field with a rectangular strip at the center. This rectangular strip at the center of the field is the pitch were all the cricket actions takes place. More details about the cricket field will be discussed in this page, but let’s talk about the basic parts of the cricket field.
The entire oval bounded by the boundary lines is the playing area of the cricket. This oval is divided into two ovals. The infield is the smaller inner oval in the cricket field. It is in this area where the pitch and close-infield areas are designated. The pitch is where the bowler throws the ball to the batter. This pitch is bounded in the end by creases, which are marked white with chalk. Creases are safe zones for the batter who runs back and forth to score. Also in that rectangular strip, you will find the wickets placed behind the batter. When the batter hits the ball, but the ball then hits these wickets, then he is dismissed and not allowed to bat anymore. The outfield, on the other hand, is the area outside but still within the boundary line.
Playing Field Dimensions and Layout
The court dimensions are designated and follows a set of rule called the Laws of Cricket. These are the set of rules are established by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to ensure uniformity and fairness. There are currently 42 laws, which outline all aspects of how the game is played from 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 since International Cricket Council (ICC) takes over to govern the world in cricket. 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 ICC.
The Cricket Pitch
- The pitch is a rectangular area of the ground 22 yards/20.12m in length and 10ft/3.05m in width.It is bounded at either end by the bowling creases and on either side by imaginary lines, one each side of the imaginary line joining the centers of the two middle stumps, each parallel to it and 5ft/1.52m from it. (Law 7.1)
- Two white lines are made between the two stumps a the distance of 122cm (1.22m) from each stump known as creases.
- The bowling crease, which is the back edge of the crease marking, shall be the line through the centres of the three stumps at that end. It shall be 8ft 8 in/2.64m in length, with the stumps in the centre. (Law 9.2)
- The popping crease, which is the back edge of the crease marking, shall be in front of and parallel to the bowling crease and shall be 4ft/1.22m from it. The popping crease shall be marked to a minimum of 6ft/1.83m on either side of the imaginary line joining the centres of the middle stumps and shall be considered to be unlimited in length. (Law 9.3)
- The return creases, which are the inside edges of the crease markings, shall be at right angles to the popping crease at a distance of 4ft 4 in/1.32m either side of the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps. Each return crease shall be marked from the popping crease to a minimum of 8ft/2.44m behind it and shall be considered to be unlimited in length. (Law 9.4)
- Two sets of wickets shall be pitched opposite and parallel to each other at a distance of 22 yards/20.12m between the centres of the two middle stumps. Each set shall be 9 in/22.86cm wide and shall consist of three wooden stumps with two wooden bails on top. (Law 8.1)
- The tops of the stumps shall be 28 in/71.1cm above the playing surface and shall be dome shaped except for the bail grooves. The portion of a stump above the playing surface shall be cylindrical, apart from the domed top, with circular section of diameter not less than 1 3/8 in/3.49cm nor more than 1 1/2 in/3.81cm (Law 8.2)
- Stumps conforms to the following specifications:
- For Seniors: Height (labeled “d” in the bail and stumps image) is 71.1cm (28 inches); Width (labeled “e” in the bail and stumps image) is 3.81cm (1 inch) max, 3.49cm (13 /8 inches) min; Overall width of Wicket (labeled “f”) is 22.86cm (9 inches).
- For Juniors: Height is 68.58cm (27 inches); Width is 3.49cm (1 3 /8 inches) max, 3.18cm (1 inch) min; Overall width of Wicket is 20.32cm (8 inches).
- The bails when in position on the top of the stumps, shall not project more than 1/2 in/1.27cm above them and shall fit between the stumps without forcing them out of the vertical. (Law 8.3)
- Bails specifications are as follows:
- For Seniors: Overall (a+b+c) is 10.95cm (45 /16 inches); Longer Spigot (a) is 3.49cm (13 /8 inches); Length of Barrel (b) is 5.40 cm (21 /8 inches); Shorter Spigot is 2.06cm (13/16 inches)
- For Juniors: Overall is 9.68cm (313/16 inches); Longer Spigot is 3.18cm (11 /14 inches); Length of Barrel is 4.60cm (113/16 inches); Shorter Spigot is 1.91cm (3 /4 inches)
- There is no standard size of about how large is the playing area, but playing area with a low eccentricty field is prohibited.
- The playing area shall be a minimum of 150 yards (137.16 meters) from boundary to boundary square of the pitch, with the shorter of the two square boundaries being a minimum 65 yards (59.43 meters), according to Law 19.1 of ICC Test Match Conditions.
- The law also states that the straight boundary on both ends of the pitch are supposed to be no less than 70 yards (64.00 meters) in length. The center of the pitch is the starting point for measurements.