The Ins and Outs of Scoring
The whole idea of batting is to score runs while defending the wicket. The batsman guards his wickets as the bowler attempts to hit them with the ball knocking the bails off the stumps rendering the batsman "bowled" out. There are several other ways a batsman can get gotten out. He can be "caught", but only if he hits the ball in the air and it is caught on the fly in the field. This sounds like it should happen all the time as in baseball, but it doesn't for several reasons. The field is oval and there are no foul balls. Nine fielders must cover 360 degrees of field so positioning is everything.
A batsman is also out if he hits the bails off his own wicket while batting or "breaks the wicket". This is also called "hit wicket". He is also out if he uses his leg or body to prevent a bowled ball from stricking the wicket. This is usually a judgement call on the part of an umpire and is called "leg before wicket" or LBW. By the way, an umpire will only rule on this and other matters of judgement if asked by a cricketer which usually takes the form of a "How 'bout that?" shouted at him. Sometimes this query will result in a judgement, but often as not the umpire will not get involved. Batsmen can also be "run out", which is when a bail is knocked off a wicket while the batsmen are running between the wickets attempting to score runs. This is a good time to explain how runs are scored which is the upside of all the action at the pitch.
First, it is important to understand that there are two batsmen at work or in play at all times, one at each set of wickets. The bowler bowls six balls to one batsman and another bowler bowls six balls to the batsman at the other set of wickets. This switching, when the non-striker becomes the striker and the popping crease is instantly and magically transformed into the bowling crease, is called an "over". One explanation for overs is that it keeps the wear and tear on the field even on both sides since most batsmen are righthanded. Other explanations include the position of the sun. Anyway, once a batsman hits the ball a decision must be made, that is, to run or not. Running, you see, is not required. If the striker thinks he can make the 22 yards to the other wicket without being "run out", he can call for a run and go for it. If he and the non-striker make it safely to the opposite wicket they score a run. But they don't have to stop there. They can continue to run and score additional runs as long as the ball is not ruled dead. A ball is dead when it is in the hands of the bowler or wicket keeper, crossed a boundary, caught in the clothing of a batsman or umpire, or it has been ruled lost. If a striker or batsman hits a ball and it bounces over the boundary line marking the outer limit of the field it is dead because it is out of bounds, but it also counts for four runs. If he hits it out of bounds on the fly it counts for six runs.
Extra runs called "extras" are scored not by the batsmen, but instead by the bowler. There are four ways extras are scored. A "bye" is when the ball passes the batsman and the stumps without touching either which sounds a lot like a wild pitch. The batsman can run and score on a bye. Then there is a "leg bye" which is when a ball hits the batsman on anything but his hand. Here too the batsman can run and score. If a bowler delivers a ball from outside the return crease, the lines marking the sides of the bowling crease, its called a "wide ball" and it scores an automatic run for the batting team. Lastly, there is the "no ball" which is when the bowler delivers the ball but does not have one foot behind the bowling crease or if he throws the ball. Bowling is a straight arm motion which doesn't allow for the elbow to be cocked as in a throw. A "no ball" counts an automatic extra run.
Cricket Watchers Guide
How the Game is Played
Bowler vs. Striker
The Ball & Bowling
Ins & Outs of Scoring
Glossary of Cricket Terms
Cricket in America
North American Cricket Clubs
C.C. Morris Cricket Library
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