Eli5: how does cricket work


I want to learn to enjoy this sport but holy hell the terminology and rules seem so cryptic

In: 0

Two sides: batting and fielding.

Fielding side does all they can to get the three sticks behind the batsman (the stumps/the wickets) dislodged with the ball. When that happens, the batsman is out.

Batsmen hit like mad to prevent that from happening. The further they hit, the more they can run between the two wickets, and hence the more runs they can score. All the way to the boundary is automatically four runs. All the way to the boundary without touching the ground is six runs.

Also, batsmen are “vulnerable” while running. They have a protected area called a “crease” (a white line on the ground). They run between creases to score runs. If the ball hits the stumps at any time when they’re not inside the crease, they’re declared out.

And if they hit the ball and it’s caught before it touches the ground, they’re out too.

That’s it in a nutshell.

To oversimplify… two teams of 11 players take it in turns to “bat”, where their objective is to score as many points as they can before they run out of time or players. The team not batting, ie the bowling/fielding team, has to use their skills and tactics to limit the points the batting team can accumulate.


An old one but a [good](https://www.futilitycloset.com/2009/12/27/cricket-explained-to-a-foreigner/) one:

* You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
* Each man that’s in the side that’s in the field goes out and when he’s out comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out.
* When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
* When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
* Sometimes there are men still in and not out.
* There are men called umpires who stay out all the time, and they decide when the men who are in are out.
* Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter whether they’re in or out.
* When both sides have been in and all the men are out (including those who are not out), then the game is finished.

So there are two wickets. A wicket is made of 3 vertical posts called stumps and two horizontal sticks called bails. There’s a line in front of each wicket defining the “creases” where the batsmen stand. There are 11 players per side. There’s a coin flip to decide who bats first. The batting team will send two batsmen onto the field and the fielding team will send all 11 outfielders. The batsmen will stay on the field until they are out. A bowler will throw the ball in the direction of one of the batsmen’s wickets which the batsmen can swing at with his bat. The batsmen is out if:

* The ball hits the wicket and knocks over the bails
* The ball hits the batsman’s leg and the umpire determines it would have hit the wicket if not for the batsman standing in the way.
* The ball is hit in the air and caught by a fielder.
* The ball hits the wicket while the batsman is out of the crease.
* There are more specific rules that can get a batsmen out, but they’re rare.

The batsmen are trying to score runs. Normally a run is scored when the batsmen run to each other’s creases. The batsman is considered to be in the crease if his bat is in the crease. A run is also automatically scored if the bowler breaks the rules when delivering the ball or if he bowls it too wide or too high. If a batsman hits the ball in bounds but it then goes out of bounds or touches the boundary, it’s an automatic 4 runs. If the batsman hits the ball in the air and it lands out of bounds it’s an automatic 6 runs.

If the fielding team get 10 batsmen out, they change sides as the last batsmen on the team cannot bat alone. After both teams have gotten 10 outs, that’s called an innings. When a bowler has delivered 6 legal balls that’s called an “over” and a new bowler will deliver balls in the opposite direction to the other wicket. Depending on the format, you may play 1 innings or 2, and might have a limit on overs per innings. The longest format is called test cricket which is 2 innings, no limits on overs, and can last 5 days.