Cricket Etiquette: A Guide
Cricket is beloved worldwide for its polite nature, gentlemanly conduct and spirit of fair play. The importance of the spirit of cricket is set out in the preamble to the laws of the game, which can be found below. Every cricketer should make themselves aware of the behaviour that is expected of them on the cricket field. This which allows for competitive games free from underhand tactics, gamesmanship and cheating, which both sides can enjoy. Cricket etiquette is full of nuances and niceties. It is important to learn these, but a general spirit of fair play and sportsmanship suffices in most situations.
Cricket Etiquette: Fieldsmen
- Enter the field of play after the umpires
- The captain should lead the team onto the field
- Between deliveries keep an eye on the captain for a possible change of position
- Keep position, don’t stray
- Remember position for each bowler and each batsman
- Get the ball back to the bowler promptly
- Do not engage in unnecessary comments or actions in the guise of enthusiasm and motivation of own team
- Do not appeal if you know the batsman is not out
- Do not charge the umpire when appealing
- Indicate immediately if you have not completed a fair catch
- Do not engage in chatter or movement likely to distract the batsman
- Do not engage in any form of sledging
- Always signal to the umpire when the ball reaches the boundary
- Do not sit on the ground – even if it is a drinks break or a wicket has fallen
- Avoid walking on the pitch
- Acknowledge a 50 and/or 100 scored by a batsman
- Acknowledge a bowler’s good performance – clap him off the field
Cricket Etiquette: Bowlers
- Always say “thank you” to the umpire when passing to him, or receiving from him, your hat and/or jumper – never throw them or leave on the stumps or on the ground
- Always accept the umpire’s decision
- If questioning the umpire on a point, do it calmly and politely – accept his response
- If the non-striker is leaving his crease early, refrain from running him out, without a first-instance warning at very least
- Apologise to the batsman immediately if you bowl a beamer
- Do not engage in any form of sledging
Cricket Etiquette: Batsmen
- Enter the field of play after the fielding side
- When asking for ‘guard’ say “please”
- Always be ready to receive the ball when the bowler is ready to start his run-up
- Apologise if for some reason, such as adjustment to equipment, you have cause to make the bowler wait
- Accept the umpire’s decision when given out
- Do not engage in comments or gestures likely to cause conflict with the bowler or fieldsmen
- Always have clothing and equipment on, ready and fully adjusted so as not to cause delays when you are the incoming batsman
- When taking runs always run to the side of the pitch, never down the middle
- Show respect for your captain, team-mates, opponents, umpires and the game’s traditional values
- Do not be arrogant in victory nor surly in defeat
- When the ‘home’ team, create an hospitable environment for opponents and umpires
- Show self-discipline both on and off the field
- Look the part – clothing and equipment should be clean, tidy and properly worn
- Show appreciation of the efforts of workers within the game – for example, the people who provide lunches and afternoon teas, ground staff and club officials
- Always be punctual for matches and training sessions
- At the end of the match shake hands with opponents and thank the umpires
- After the day’s play participate in social interaction with team-mates, opponents and umpires
Cricket Etiquette: Sunday Specials
- Show good sportsmanship at all times
- Always clap and congratulate a player, particularly a younger player, who has played well or made an outstanding contribution to their team’s effort – this goes for both sides
- Be prepared to encourage and support younger players – Sunday cricket is all about their development and enjoyment
- Reduce the speed of bowling to an appropriate level when bowling to a young batsman, if necessary. Refrain from bowling particularly aggressively in general.
- Refrain from smashing a younger bowler out of the park – this can dent their confidence, and is not good practice in any case.
- Be prepared to take your turn umpiring and scoring – they are an essential duty and will further your understanding of the game. Scoring is fairly simple to learn, and if you ask somebody who can already score to teach you, they are likely to say yes. Becoming a competent umpire is an interesting and rewarding task in its own right, as the fates of batsmen, bowlers, teams and games rest in your hands. Take the time to understand the laws and practise adjudicating on TV. Compare your decisions with those of the on-field umpires and the DRS reviews and you will soon find yourself able to correctly judge whether an appeal is good.
- Display a friendly, positive attitude towards the other team both on and off the pitch – never sledge or insult them. Be gracious hosts or grateful guests – you play an important role in ensuring everybody, including the opposition, enjoys the day.
- It is customary to walk upon (knowingly) edging the ball. Whilst, in competitive cricket, leaving the decision to the umpire is accepted (if grudgingly), in friendly cricket it is frowned upon, especially if a batsman who fails to walk goes on to score runs.
Cricket Etiquette: Nets & Training
- Take practice seriously and work hard – it will improve your game and help others do the same
- Always keep your eye on the ball
- Never turn your back on the batsman
- Be aware of when your turn comes to bowl – do not waste the batsman’s time waiting for you
- Do not stand chatting if bowlers are required for a net
- When returning from having bowled a ball, be aware of who is bowling next – are they bowling over or around the wicket? You may have to move either way
- Refrain from joke bowling, or distracting other bowlers, as it rarely makes for good batting practice
- Always wear the correct protection when batting. This includes firm shoes (not plimsolls or worn-out trainers), leg pads, box (with box briefs), gloves and helmet (compulsory at all times for U18s, by law). Also optional are thigh, arm and chest guards
- When giving or receiving throwdowns, be conscious of the direction the ball will take – both off the bat, and following a miss or leave. Ensure that you do not disturb others
- Try to attend training as often as you can. If your only chance to play is when you step out onto the field on a Saturday, you won’t be at your best. Lots of people at training is good for team spirit as well as technique
Preamble to the Laws of Cricket
Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself. The major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the captains.
- There are two Laws which place responsibility for the team’s conduct firmly on the captain.
Responsibility of captains
The captains are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit of the Game as well as within the Laws.
In the event of a player failing to comply with instructions by an umpire, or criticising by word or action the decision of an umpire, or showing dissent, or generally behaving in a manner which might bring the game into disrepute, the umpire concerned shall in the first place report the matter to the other umpire and to the player’s captain, and instruct the latter to take action.
- Fair and unfair play
According to the Laws the umpires are the sole judges of fair and unfair play.
The umpires may intervene at any time and it is the responsibility of the captain to take action where required.
- The umpires are authorised to intervene in cases of:
- Time wasting
- Damaging the pitch
- Dangerous or unfair bowling
- Tampering with the ball
- Any other action that they consider to be unfair
- The Spirit of the Game involves RESPECT for:
- Your opponents
- Your own captain
- The roles of the umpires
- The game’s traditional values
- It is against the Spirit of the Game:
- To dispute an umpire’s decision by word, action or gesture
- To direct abusive language towards an opponent or umpire
- To indulge in cheating or any sharp practice, for instance:
(a) to appeal knowing that the batsman is not out
(b) to advance towards an umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing
(c) to seek to distract an opponent either verbally or by harassment with persistent clapping or unnecessary noise under the guise of enthusiasm and motivation of one’s own side
There is no place for any act of violence on the field of play.
Captains and umpires together set the tone for the conduct of a cricket match. Every player is expected to make an important contribution towards this.