Law 1 – 21

Law 1: The players

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.

Law 2: The Umpire

There are two umpires, who apply the Laws, 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 field, and available to assist the on-field umpires) may be used under the specific playing conditions of a particular match or tournament.

Law 3: The Scorers

There are two scorers who respond to the umpires’ signals and keep the score.

Law 4: The Ball

A cricket ball is between 8.81 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) in men’s cricket. A slightly smaller and lighter ball is specified in women’s cricket, and slightly smaller and lighter again in junior cricket. Only one ball is used at a time, unless it is lost, when it is replaced with a ball of similar wear.

Law 5: The Bat

The bat is no more than 38 inches (96.52 cm) in length, no more than 4.25 inches (10.8 cm) wide, no more than 2.64 inches (6.7 cm) deep at its middle and no deeper than 1.56 inches (4.0 cm) at the edge. The hand or glove holding the bat is considered part of the bat.

Law 6: The Pitch

The pitch is a rectangular area of the ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long and 10 ft (3.05 m) wide. The Ground Authority selects and prepares the pitch, but once the game has started, the umpires 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 (17.68 m) and a minimum width of 6 ft (1.83 m).

Law 7: The Crease

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 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).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 21), 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 (1.22 m) in front of and parallel to the bowling crease. 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 (2.44 m) from the popping crease.

Law 8: The wickets

The wicket consists of three wooden stumps that are 28 inches (71.12 cm) tall. The stumps are placed along the bowling crease with equal distances between each stump. They are positioned so that the wicket is 9 inches (22.86 cm) wide. Two wooden bails are placed on top of the stumps. The bails must not project more than 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) above the stumps, and must, for men’s cricket, be 4.31 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).

Law 9: Preparation and maintenance of the playing area

When a cricket ball is bowled it almost always bounces on the pitch, and the behavior 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.

Law 10: 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 soas to avoid injury through slipping and falling, and the Laws also require these to be covered wherever possible when there is wet weather.

Law 11: Intervals

There are intervals during 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 lunch and tea interval are delayed to the earlier of the fall of the next wicket and 30 minutes elapsing.

Law 12: Start of play; cessation of play

Play after an interval commences with the umpire’s call of “Play”, and ceases at the end of a session with a call of “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.

Law 13: Innings

Before the game, the teams agree whether it is to be one or two innings for each side, 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 14) 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.

Law 14: The Follow-On

In a two innings match, if the side batting second scores substantially fewer runs than the side which batted first, then 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.

Law 15: 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. mostly it is forfeited when the batting teams think the have enough runs margin between their score and the other team’s.

Law 16: 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.

Law 17: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.

Law 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.

Law 19: Boundaries

A boundary is marked around 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 doesn’t hit the ground before crossing the boundary.

Law 20: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.

Law 21: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 once 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, hitting the ball twice, or obstructing the field.