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Forms of cricket

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Forms of cricket

Cricket is a multi-faceted sport with multiple formats, depending on the standard of play, the desired level of formality, and the time available. An important division in terms of professional cricket is between matches limited by time in which the teams have two innings apiece, and those limited by number of overs, in which they have a single innings each. The former, known as first-class cricket, has a duration of three to five days (there have been examples of "timeless" matches too); the latter, known as limited overs cricket because each team bowls a limit of typically 50 or 20 overs, has a planned duration of one day only.

Typically, two-innings matches have at least six hours of playing time each day. Limited overs matches often last six hours or more. There are usually formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea with brief informal breaks for drinks. There is also a short interval between innings.

Amateur cricketers rarely play matches that last longer than a single day; these may loosely be divided into declaration matches, in which a specified maximum time or number of overs is assigned to the game in total and the teams swap roles only when the batting team is either completely dismissed or declares; and limited overs matches, in which a specified maximum number of overs is assigned for each team's innings individually. These will vary in length between 30 and 60 overs per side at the weekend and the ever popular 20 over format during the evenings. Indoor cricket is a variant of the sport played in sports halls during the winter months.

At still lower levels, the rules are often changed simply to make the game playable with limited resources, or to render it more convenient and enjoyable for the participants. Informal variants of the sport are played in areas as diverse as sandy beaches to ice floes.


  • First-class matches 1
  • Short form of cricket 2
  • List A cricket 3
  • Club cricket 4
  • Declaration cricket 5
  • Indoor cricket 6
  • Other forms of cricket 7
    • Double-wicket cricket 7.1
    • Kwik cricket 7.2
    • Informal amateur cricket 7.3
    • Garden cricket 7.4
    • French cricket 7.5
    • Tennis-ball cricket 7.6
    • Tape-ball cricket 7.7
    • Kilikiti 7.8
    • Non-stop (continuous) cricket 7.9
    • Over-60s cricket 7.10
    • Single wicket 7.11
    • Vigoro 7.12
    • Placa 7.13
    • Trobriand cricket 7.14
    • Table cricket 7.15
  • Cricket simulations without ball or pitch 8
    • Pencil cricket 8.1
    • Armchair cricket 8.2
    • Pub cricket 8.3
    • Backyard cricket 8.4
    • Book cricket 8.5
    • Hand cricket 8.6
    • Calculator cricket 8.7
  • References 9
  • External links 10

First-class matches

A first-class match is generally defined as a high-level international or domestic match that takes place over at least three days on natural (as opposed to artificial) turf. First-class games are two innings per side. Like Test matches, if the game is not completed over the allotted time then it is drawn. Games where the teams have only one innings each are not first-class (including One Day Internationals).

A two-innings match of at least three days duration is granted first-class status only if both teams have first-class status. For example, Test matches, other games between two Test nations, games between two domestic teams deemed first-class in countries holding full membership of the ICC, and games between a Test nation's national side (or a team drawn from a national touring squad) and a first-class domestic team from a Test nation, are usually deemed to be first class. Matches between Kenya, one of the leading associate members of the ICC, and another team adjudged first-class are usually granted first-class status, but domestic matches in Kenya are not.

First-class cricket was officially defined for matches in Great Britain from 1895 and in the rest of the world from 1947. Officially, it has no retrospective status. This has meant that cricket statisticians have created lists of earlier matches which they deem to be unofficially first-class. They have often disagreed and, for example, their start dates vary with years proposed including 1660, 1772, 1801, 1815, 1826 and 1864. This ongoing controversy is described in the main article. The limited overs equivalent of first-class status is list A status. Twenty20 is a separate form within the scope of limited overs.

Short form of cricket

Cricket is also played in several different shortened forms, designed to pack as much action as possible into an hour or two. Such forms have evolved since the 1990s, and take cricket an additional step beyond one-day cricket.

See short form cricket for details about specific types of short form cricket.

List A cricket

List A cricket is to one-day cricket as first-class is to Tests. Most cricketing nations have some form of domestic List A competition. The over limits range from forty to sixty. The categorisation of "List A" was only endorsed by the ICC in 2006; the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians created it for the purpose of providing a parallel to first-class cricket in their record books.

Club cricket

Club cricket, by far and away the widest form of cricket played worldwide, is largely amateur, but still formal, cricket. The games are sometimes limited-overs, with each innings usually lasting between thirty and fifty overs. Other matches are played to time restrictions. Restrictions in overs or time may be placed on each side individually, or they may stipulate the total length of the match. The latter more traditional case is often known as declaration cricket.

Club cricket is played extensively in cricketing nations, and also by immigrants from cricketing nations. Club cricket most often takes place on a natural grass wicket, often maintained by the players themselves, although at a lower level it may take place on an artificial turf pitch, though the rest of actual field will be natural grass.

Declaration cricket

This is the most traditional version of cricket, with rules most closely replicating the original rules of cricket from the 16th and 17th century. It is a single innings game with a set time limit for the entire game to be completed in. To win the game, a side must both score the highest aggregate amount of runs and take all ten of the opposition wickets. It is up to the side batting first to declare when they feel they have enough runs to be able to win the match. In this format of cricket, if the side batting second do not lose all ten of their wickets, the match is said to have ended in a draw.

Indoor cricket

Indoor cricket is a format of the game designed to be played in an indoor sports hall at times of the year when outdoor play is not possible. There are two recognised forms of indoor cricket. The traditional version played with a hard ball is popular in the UK. This format is played with six players per side and features modified rules designed specifically for indoor play. A soft ball version is played by junior cricketers in the UK and is also popular amongst adults in the Southern Hemisphere.

Other forms of cricket

Double-wicket cricket

It is a form of cricket with two teams of two players each which are pitched against each other for a limited number of overs. A player getting out in this form of cricket does not retire but continues to bat but gets penalised a stipulated number of runs for each time he gets out.

Kwik cricket

It is a high-speed version of the game, aimed mainly at encouraging youngsters to take part.[1]

Informal amateur cricket

Backyard cricket, Beach cricket, Street cricket are all different names used to describe a wide range of related informal games. The rules are often ad hoc, and the laws of cricket, such as those involving leg before wicket, penalty runs, and others, are ignored or modified to suit both the setting and participants' preferences. In India and Pakistan, there is Gali cricket ('gali' in Hindi means 'street'. It is pronounced as 'gully' but should not be confused with the fielding position). Often, there are no teams, and each player plays for himself, and fields when he is not batting. Often, there is one wicket, and one bowling position, and no overs. If the batsman runs an odd number of runs, he is allowed to walk back to the wicket before the next ball is bowled.

Garden cricket

Informal cricket in the UK is often known as garden cricket and is played in gardens and recreation grounds around the country. Because of limited space in gardens and the potential damage to property, one particular version of garden cricket is unique in that there are no concept of runs as attacking shots are expressly forbidden, and instead the winning batsman is the one who can survive the longest number of deliveries. Typically this will be played with a tennis ball or other soft bouncy ball, and modified rules, such as one hand one bounce are often employed. The length of the wicket will typically be roughly 15 metres, and the non-bowling fielders will be encircled close round the bat looking for a catching chance.

French cricket

It is a game in which the ball is bowled at the legs of the batsman, with the batsman's legs forming the wicket. It is often played by children. A tennis ball is often used rather than the harder cricket ball. Much like beach cricket, the rules may vary wildly.

Tennis-ball cricket

This type of cricket is popular in the South Asian sub-continent, USA and Canada. In this game a harder version of tennis ball is used. The number of overs in the game varies from 6 to 25 overs. Considering that the ball is not as hard as the professional cricket ball, the use of protective gear like gloves, pads and helmets is optional. As tennis ball cricket games are shorter when compared to the conventional version, it suits the US and Canadian lifestyle where one would see a large number of people participating. Where cricket pitches are not available, part of a baseball diamond is used as a pitch in most parts of USA and Canada.

Tape-ball cricket

This type of cricket is popular in Pakistan, Bangladesh and somewhat gaining popularity in other South Asian countries and Europe due to the export of the innovative idea from Pakistan. Tape ball cricket has been a cricket culture in Pakistan since the 80's. Pakistanis who have settled in the west have introduced this theme and have tape ball leagues throughout UK, USA, and Canada. In this game a tennis ball is covered with insulating tape. This results in a heavier ball. Fast bowlers can generate extra swing in both directions while finger spinners can produce turn. The game is usually a limited over match with 4–12 overs. In Karachi and Lahore regular tournaments are held. Night matches are common, especially during the month of Ramadan.[2]


Also known as Kirikiti, or Samoan Cricket, it is the national game of Samoa and is especially popular in New Zealand. The game is descended from the cricket brought to Samoa by British missionaries; teams of unlimited size follow rules opaque to outside observers in a game/dance/feast event that can last several days.

Non-stop (continuous) cricket

Continuous cricket is a game involving one batsman, who upon hitting the ball, must run to a marker, which is square of the wicket. The bowler may bowl as soon as the ball is returned, regardless of whether or not the batsman is still running. The game can be played in teams, or as a group, where players rotate between fielding positions, batting and bowling.[3]

Over-60s cricket

Founded in Australia, it is for those over 60 years of age, slightly modified from the standard.

Single wicket

A tournament for individuals, it is probably the oldest form of cricket as it involves one player against another. It has known periods of huge popularity, especially in the mid-18th century and in the first half of the 19th century. One bowls to the other for a fixed number of balls, or until the batsman is out, and then roles are reversed. The remaining tournament players act as fielders until it is their turn to bat or bowl. The winner is the one with the most runs, and that player moves to the next round to play the winner from another pair.


It is a form of cricket that also resembles baseball, mainly played by women.


It is an obscure variation, played in the streets of Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic between two couples, usually making use of broomsticks as bats, rubber or tennis balls, and old license plates as wickets (with its ends twisted to make them stand up). The game is divided in alternate 3-out innings like in baseball. The first team to reach 100 or 200 runs wins. A similar version is played on the streets of Brazil and is known as Bats or Taco ('taco' being Portuguese for 'bat').[4]

Trobriand cricket

It is a peculiar form of cricket played in the Trobriand Islands, in Papua New Guinea. Although cricket was introduced by the British as part of colonial agenda, it was adopted into local Trobriand culture and many modifications and cultural adaptations were made over the years. Some of these include: under-arm bowling; outs are celebrated with dances; the "home" team (the tribal community which organised a match) always wins; any number of players can take part in a match; players dress in traditional war costumes.

Table cricket

Table Cricket is an indoor version of the game designed primarily for physically challenged cricketers.

Cricket simulations without ball or pitch

Pencil cricket

A one-person game played with pencils marked by hand to function as 'long dice'. A Japanese variant of these for use in other games are called 'battle pencils'.[5] It may also simply be played with conventional dice. The aim is to generate scores and attribute them to imaginary players and teams by compiling a scorecard. The game has been marketed commercially featuring plastic or metal long dice (rollers) and playing rules.[6]
See also Owzthat.

Armchair cricket

A card game based on cricket. See main article.

Pub cricket

Also called Car Cricket. A travel game based on the names of public houses passed on the route. Runs are scored according to the number of legs, arms or other items featured in the pub name. The exact rules vary according to the participants. See main article.

Backyard cricket

Popular with families, especially those with younger children. This type of cricket is everyone against the batsman, with the person who gets the batsman out becoming the new batsman.

Book cricket

It is popular with school children in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It has several variants and is mostly played by 2 players. The runs are scored by flipping the book open at random and the last digit of the right-side (even-numbered) page is counted as the number of runs scored. 0 (and sometimes 8) are assigned to special rules, typically a wicket is lost when a person scores 0 and scoring 8 would be substituted for a No ball run and an additional chance. To give an example, if the batting side opened the book at page 26, then 6 runs would be scored. For the toss, what is generally done is that both the players open a page and the one whose last digit is greater wins. Try out the game based on Book Cricket Game

Yet another version of cricket appeared during the 1950s in the UK in the Eagle comic. A page was chosen and each letter or symbol was counted according to a formula. This produced a remarkably realistic scorecard with the majority of innings around 150 to 300 scored at about 4 runs per over.

Hand cricket

It is widely popular among the school children in India , Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

  • It is played through gestures (called 'throws'), each of them signifying a number, that are made simultaneously by two players, each using 1 hand, by locking the wrist before the throw and immediately releasing certain fingers (as determined by the player) before the other player, who does it simultaneously before him.
  • In the popular variant, each released finger counts as 1 but the thumb when released alone counts as 6 and if the wrist is left unlocked then it can mean 3 things:
    • (for the batsman) as much runs as the bowler's throw (if not the same, else the batsman is out).
    • (for the bowler) a no-ball is declared and an extra run with a free hit is awarded.
  • In some variants, there are gestures even for large nos. like 20, 25, 50 and even 100.
  • Mostly 2 individuals play this game, but sometimes 2 teams of players do (they may differ by 1 player and not have a captain).
  • The no. of overs per side may or may not be fixed (a side may play until it loses all its wickets).
  • The no. of wickets per side is fixed by the players. If a team has 1 player less than the other, then one of its player gets an extra wicket.
  • If 2 teams are playing, the bowling may not be regular. Quite often, a bowler can continue to bowl uninterrupted until:
    • He feels like giving it up to someone else OR
    • His team mates ask him to do so OR
    • A limit they set has been reached.
  • For the toss (if done), both the players (or the captains/players of the team) select from 'odd' and 'even' and make throws; if the sum of these (i.e. their nos.) is odd/even, then the side having chosen that wins.
  • For the play, The batsman and the bowler make throws at every ball; if the throws are the same, the batsman is out, else the throw gets added to the batsman's runs.
  • If the player is not agreeing with the decision he can appeal for 3rd umpire. In 3rd umpire both the players will choose 2 numbers. They have to take out one of the numbers. If it is same the player is out, if not the player is not out.
  • It is generally played in an ODI-like format with each side having 1 innings to bat.
  • In some places, teams are formed, 2 players each. The winner team decides to send one player to bat or bowl against the other chosen player. When 5 wickets have fallen down, the players change turn and

the second player from each side plays the rest 5 wickets. If there is a conflict involving a ball, then that ball is dismissed.

The craze for this form is so much among the school children across the subcontinent that they play it in schools secretly during lectures with their hands under their desks and get detention if caught. They even play it in teams of 3–6 players, maintain records and organise tournaments.

Calculator cricket

This form is popular with school children (usually older ones who require scientific calculators for maths and science).

A player starts by clearing the memory on their calculator. The player will then use the random number generator on their calculator to bring up a number between 0 and 1. The number of runs scored is the first digit after the decimal point (for example, if the random number generator provides 0.521, 5 runs are scored). Scoring is kept by using the memory addition function on the calculator, or by pen and paper. Scoring a 0 is considered out. The player who has the highest score wins.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Continuous Cricket" (PDF). Australian Sports Commission. Retrieved 12 November 2001. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Japanese Battle Pencils – Boing Boing
  6. ^ 'Owzthat' Cricket Set

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