Familiarise yourself with cricket fielding positions, pitch dimensions and the wickets from the diagrams on this page.
If the terminology being used on this page confuses you, then cross reference it with the explanations we provide on our Common Cricket Terminology pages.
Although a cricket team consists of 12 players, only eleven of these players will take the field during the innings in which the team is fielding, with the 12th player remaining in reserve in the likelihood of an injury to a fielding player. One player will always take the position of the wicketkeeper, another player will be designated as a bowler, leaving 9 players to adopt various positions as chosen by the captain within the field of play. The fielding tactics adopted by the captain will vary depending on whether the fielding captain has chosen to adopt either defensive or attacking tactics.
The tactics are decided after taking into account a number of variables. These will include whether or not the fielding team has already batted and if so, whether the total runs they made during their batting innings are decisive enough for the captain to decide the fielding team is in a winning position. An attacking field would be set so as to force the batting side into making errors by adopting aggressive bowling tactics and placing fieldsmen in close to the batsman. A defensive field setting would be set, in the event the fielding captain believes his team's previous batting total can be easily eclipsed. The fieldsmen would be placed in such a way, they would be able to save the majority of batting strokes from reaching the boundary for four or more runs. If the fielding captain is able to force the batsmen into taking single runs, the likelihood of a forced error or dismissal is more than possible.
All measurements on the cricket site are given in metric, for you to convert these to imperial, simply select the following link. Distance Conversion Calculator
For you to familiarise yourself with all the fielding positions, simply consult the diagram below.
To familiarise yourself with the Law which governs and dictates the conduct of a fieldsman select the following link. Law 41: The Fielder
The pitch is a rectangular area of the ground 20.12m in length measured from bowling crease to bowling crease and 3.05m in width. It is bounded at either end by the bowling creases and on either side by imaginary lines, one each side of the imaginary line joining the centres of the two middle stumps, each parallel to it and 1.52m from it.
To help you understand the dimensions and layout of the pitch, see the following diagram.
Note: When calculating the width of the pitch from the above diagram you will no doubt reach the figure of 3.66 metres, this is not a mistake. 3.66 metres is the width that must be marked for the popping crease. The pitch or ďplaying areaĒ is the area shown by the imaginary red lines and is the actual area used by umpires to determine the validity of wide balls etc. The extra wide marking of 3.66 metres for the popping crease is there only as a courtesy to the batsman.
To learn more about the Law which governs the pitch, its markings, and preparation visit the following links.
Law 7 : The Pitch
Law 9 : The Bowling, Popping, and Return Creases See also Appendix B of the Laws
Law 10: Rolling, Sweeping, Mowing, Watering the Pitch, and Remarking of Creases
Law 11: Covering The Pitch
The Wickets / Stumps
Two sets of wickets are pitched opposite and parallel to each other at a distance of 20.12m between the centres of the two middle stumps. Each set is 22.86cm wide and consists of three wooden stumps with two wooden bails on top. See the following diagram to familiarise yourself with the characteristics of the wickets.
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To learn more about the Law governing the construction and use of the wickets, visit the following link. Law 8 : The Wickets