To the untrained eye, cricket may resemble baseball or softball. There are, however, big differences between cricket and these more well-known sports. Also, cricket is a sport where the rules play a pivotal role. There are extremely detailed regulations for each part of the game. The rules and regulations are a deciding factor behind the fact that a cricket game may take a long time to complete. The so called test matches have a duration of 3–5 days. There is the possibility, however, to complete a cricket match in just a couple of hours.
The playing field and the teams
A cricket field consists of an enormous grass-covered area. In fact, there are no clear rules concerning how big the field should be. Most cricket fields, both in Sweden and in the rest of the world, have a diameter of 140–150 metres. In the middle of the oval lies the ”pitch”. The pitch is a 20 metre rectangular space. Two gates (wickets) stand at both ends of the pitch. The wicket consists of three sticks (stumps) pushed into the ground with two sticks (bails) put on top.
The two teams consists of eleven players each. All of the players are to play both as infield players and outfield players, just like in baseball and softball.
Basic rules in cricket
A cricket match begins with a toss of a coin, as in many other team-based sports. The cointossing is decisive for which team will begin the match as the throwing team. When the players have positioned themselves, a player from the outfield team (the bowler) begins the play by throwing the ball from the one end of the pitch towards the other end. The goal is to make the wicket collapse from a direct hit. The infield team has two batsmen that aim to hit the ball.
If the batsman is able to hit the ball and transport the ball out on the main playing field, both batsmen are to try to run as many times between the two ends of the pitch as the possibly can before a player from the outfield team manages to catch the ball. The goal for the outfield players is to throw the ball on the wicket or throw the ball to the so called wicketkeeper.
For every run that the batsmen complete, the infield team receives a point (a run). If a batsman manages a hit that transports the ball outside the oval, the infield team receives six runs. Four runs are awarded to the infield team if the ball lands inside the oval, but then rolls across the line.
When the bowlers of the outfield team have ”burnt” all eleven batsmen, the ”innings” is complete. After a quick break, the teams change places.
Players with specific abilities
All 22 players are to partake in all the aspects of the game. Some players are, however, specialised in certain areas. A few players in each team focus on bowling, whereas other players are especially deft in batting.