Cricket For Dummies: A Footballer's Guide

Michelle AlvesSenior Writer INovember 26, 2008

Cricket is a sport. Like football.

 It’s not hard to understand, but for those who never watch it can be about as fun as chemistry class (that is, if you’re not a nerd).

Teams, points and stumps...

Each team has 11 players—Yes, exactly like football. Points are scored by running between two sets of three wooden sticks (stumps) , called wickets. The wickets, you could say, are like goals. The goal for the bowler is to hit the ball at it. Think of the batsman as a goal keeper. Instead of using his hands to prevent the ball from going into the goal, he uses his bat to strike the ball away from the wicket.

Figuring out the teams on field... Here’s where it gets a bit different. The team batting (the goalie’s team) has only two players on the field, where as the team bowling (attackers) have 11.


Each batting team, has 11 lifelines. So think of it as 10 red cards. When the bowler throws the ball at the batsman, and he misses, causing it to hit the wicket, he’s given an OUT. In football terms, a red card. "leave the field."

Another way to get a red card is if the batsman hits the ball and it gets caught before one bounce.

There are lots of ways to get a red card (wicket), actually. There’s also a run out. For you to get that, let me explain RUNS.


Everytime the batsman manages to hit the ball away from him, he runs between the wickets.

One run = One point

Two runs = two points

Three runs = three points.

Four runs = it’s impossible to run that much before the fielders (10 men and the bowler of the opposite team) get the ball, unless there is a serious mess up or blunder on the field.

Run out...

Now, if you continue running and the fielder gets the ball, he has to attempt to throw the ball at the stumps before you get there (if you watch baseball you might understand that).

He can either aim directly at the stumps or throw the ball to the "wicketkeeper" (the opposition’s goalie) who will hit the stumps before the player crosses the line.

Hit Wicket... 

When batsman uses his own bat, leg or his body to hit the wicket when batting, he is called out.

 In football terms, this would be an own goal and is probably just as embarrassing.

Handling the ball (to make it simpler)...

If the ball is going towards the wicket, the batsman cannot use his hand to stop it at anytime.

 It’s like a handball in the penalty area. Simple enough?


Also known as leg before wicket. Simple English, complicated theory. Not really.

See, players aren’t allowed to use their legs to block the wicket. Just like goalkeepers aren’t allowed to stop the ball using hands outside the "D."

If the ball hits the batsman anywhere below the knee, before hitting the bat, the Umpire (aka Referee) will decide whether if the leg hadn’t been in the way, would the ball have hit the stumps. If he thinks it would, the player is signalled an OUT.


Think of them as minutes in a football match because they are equally important.

An over consists of six balls. To make it simpler, when you throw a cricket ball at a batsmen six times. It makes an over! Each match consists of hundred overs. Team A will bat for 50 overs and team B will bat for another 50. In between those, will be a short break, equivalent to half-time. Yes, this means the game could go on for hours, but time isn’t really important.

The bowler

Bowler’s have to "throw" the ball at the batsmen, in a straight line with his arm going over head, in order for it to be counted. Like the goalie has to be inside the D when using his hands, the bowler has a line he has to bowl before. If he crosses that line (like the line in a Long Jump) It’s counted as a "NO BALL" and the umpire gives the opposite team another ball plus a run.

If the ball is bowled to far to the left or right, its a wide, and the opposite team is given a run (which, in case you forgot is a POINT).

If you try to kill the batsman with speed, its okay, but avoid it swinging so much that it hits the batsman’s helmet or you could get a warning.

The batsman

There are two batsmen on the field. Each on opposite ends. They’re aim is to hit the ball , run and score points. When they run, they switch positions, mainly at one or three runs.

Fours and Sixes

These are extremely fun to watch.

You get four points, when the ball is hit towards the boundary with once bounce or more.

You get six points if you hit the ball towards the boundary and it crosses it without a bounce or lob.

If football were judged on the quality of goals, it would make it similar to cricket.

The Run Chase

Now an average score in 50 overs, would be 250. Anything crossing 300 would be great. Once Team A makes, say, 250 in 50 overs, his innings (first half) is over. The next team up to bat, has to score 250 to draw, or 251 to win.

Like in football. When Milan scored three goals (say 300 runs in cricket) Liverpool had to score four to win (301). It’s as simple as that.

Remember factors that count is the overs and wickets (in other words, don’t waste time and don’t get too many red cards)

So that was the basics of cricket ODI (50 over game), in football terms, it’s not too hard, and once you understand this, you’ll be able to watch the game and not get very bored!

Give it a shot, the next time you see a cricket match, stop and watch. Maybe it will make more sense to you now.


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