Rules of Cricket


Cricket Ball

A cricket ball is a hard ball, with a core of cork wound with string, and covered with leather. The ball is covered with four pieces of leather, shaped like orange quarters, sewn together along an equatorial seam. The stitching is raised slightly. The circumference is between 224 and 229 millimetres (8.81 to 9.00 inches), and the ball weighs between 156 and 163 grams (5.5 to 5.75 ounces). Traditionally the ball is dyed red, with the stitching left white. Nowadays white balls are also used, for visibility in games played at night under artificial lighting.

Cricket Bat

A cricket bat is a blade made of willow wood, flat on the front, humped on the back for strength, attached to a handle made of cane. The blade has a maximum width of 108 mm (4.25 inches) and the whole bat has a maximum length of 965 mm (38 inches). The wood used is traditionally English willow, but willow grown elsewhere is increasingly commonly used. The handle is usually covered with a rubber grip.


A stump is a cylindrical wooden post, 25 mm (1 inch) in diameter and 711 mm (28 inches) high. It has a spike extending from the bottom end so it can be hammered into the ground, leaving the 711 mm height above the ground. Stumps have a horizontal groove across the top end.


A bail is a turned piece of wood, no more than 109 mm (4.3 inches) long. It has a bulging middle section (the barrel), no more than 54 mm (2.125 inches) long. Projecting from the barrel are two spigots - one should be twice the length of the other. Standard bails are quite light. Heavier bails are also available to be used in very windy conditions.


A wicket is a wooden structure made up of a set of three stumps hammered into the ground in a line, topped by a pair of bails. The outside edges of the outermost stumps are 228 mm (9 inches) apart. This means they are just close enough together that a cricket ball cannot pass between the stumps. A game of cricket requires two wickets.

Protective Gear

Batsmen wear a variety of protective gear to prevent injury when struck by the ball: Batsmen always wear pads, gloves, and a box. Helmets are common, though sometimes not worn when facing slow bowlers.

Wicket keepers wear padded gloves for catching the ball, and usually shin guards. If keeping up close to the wicket, they occasionally wear a helmet to protect them from unusual bounces of the ball.

Fielders have no special equipment. Fielders standing close to the batsman sometimes wear helmets and/or shin guards. Fielders may not wear gloves.


Cricket boots are supportive leather sports shoes, usually with short spikes on the soles for grip on the grass. Batsmen sometimes wear rubber-soled boots without spikes.


Cricketers wear long pants and a shirt, which may have long or short sleeves depending on the weather and personal preference. In cold weather, players may wear a sleeveless or long-sleeved woollen pullover. For games played with a red ball, the clothing must be white or cream. With a white ball, players usually wear uniforms in team colours, with no white. Players may wear caps or wide-brimmed hats in any style to keep the sun off. Caps often come in team colours, though players may elect to wear a different style of hat if they prefer it to the team hat.

There are no regulations regarding identifying marks or numbers on clothing. In Test matches, players traditionally do not wear identifying names or numbers. In professional one-day matches, identifying numbers have become standard, though they are not required.

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Last updated: Wednesday, 04 June, 2008; 22:57:50 PDT.
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