Fielding Positions

In baseball, fielders stand in standardised regions and each fielding location has a single name. In cricket, the fielding captain moves fielders to differently named positions based on tactics.
The fielding captain instructs his fielders where they should field. There are dozens of differently named fielding positions, not all of which can be filled by the players. The captain selects a combination of fielding positions designed to fit with his tactics.

The fielding positions shown here with a brown dot are the basic named positions. Names in parentheses indicate variations. Any position on the field can be described by combining standard names with various adjectives:

Note that the positions shown are for a right-handed batsman. For a left-handed batsman, the off and leg sides are reversed, as are all the fielding positions.

The slips, gully, short leg, and "silly" positions are close catching positions, designed almost purely to take catches that the batsman inadvertantly hits with his bat. Fielders in these positions stand crouched slightly with bent knees and their hands cupped in front of them ready to take a catch.

Fielders in other positions are more run-saving positions. These fielders will stand upright and usually walk in slowly a few paces as the bowler bowls the ball, to give them a bit of momentum so that they can move to chase and gather the ball quickly if it goes in their direction.

Typical field setting for a fast bowler (walking back to his bowling mark)

The Wicket-Keeper

In baseball, first base and right field are always to the left of the pitcher. In cricket, point and mid off are to the left of the bowler if he is bowling to a right-handed batsman, but to his right if bowling to a left-handed batsman.
In baseball, the catcher stands right behind the batter. In cricket, the wicket-keeper only stands close to the batsman if a slow bowler is bowling. For a fast bowler he stands much further back.
The wicket-keeper stands behind the striker's wicket, ready to catch the ball if the batsman misses it. Either way, the wicket-keeper does not stand directly behind the wicket, but slightly to the off side. This allows the wicket-keeper to see past the batsman to the bowler, and places him best to catch most balls, as most commonly balls pass outside the off stump.

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Last updated: Saturday, 17 February, 2007; 15:18:10 PST.
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