It will be evident by reading this article that cricket has a rich vocabulary. For an explanation of many of the terms used, see Glossary of cricket terms
Cricket is an outdoor game played by two teams of eleven players on a large grassy field in which the winning team is the one that scores the most "runs" when "batting". The team which is not batting is called the "fielding" team, whose most important member is the "bowler". The bowler "bowls" the "ball" to the "batsman" with the purpose of "dismissing" him from play. The batsman's purpose is to score as many runs as he can, using his "bat", before he is dismissed. There are various means of dismissal and when one batsman is "out", the next one succeeds him and so on until ten of the batsmen are out and the "innings" ends. The teams then change roles with the fielding team becoming the batting team and playing its innings.
Cricket originated in south-east England, probably as a children's game, sometime in or before the 16th century. By the beginning of the 18th century, it had developed into a major sport in much of southern England. It achieved a global spread as the British Empire expanded and is now a national sport in several countries. Governance is by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which has over 100 member countries. Cricket is the world's second most popular spectator sport, after association football, and attracts considerable media attention.
- 1 Overview
- 2 The game of cricket and its objectives
- 3 Types of match and competition
- 4 Origin and development of cricket
- 5 The significance of cricket
- 6 Notes and references
The essential items needed to play a cricket match are a field, a ball, two bats and two wickets. A run is scored when the two batsmen run the length of a central piece of the field called the pitch, which is 22 yards long and has the two wickets positioned at each end. A wicket consists of three wooden stumps inserted vertically into the ground in straight alignment and surmounted by two wooden crosspieces called the bails. Each wicket is a target for a bowler operating from the other end of the pitch by bowling the ball at the wicket which is defended by one of the batsmen. Besides defending the wicket by using his bat to prevent the ball from hitting it, the batsman must seek to score runs by hitting the ball away so that he and his partner, who is stationed at the bowler's end, can complete one or more runs before the fielders can recover the ball.
While play is in progress, there are fifteen people involved. Eleven of them are the fielding team which is made up of one bowler; one wicketkeeper, who stands behind the wicket being defended; and nine other fielders. The two batsmen take up position at each end of the pitch. Each has a "safe territory" there which is marked by lines painted onto the pitch and known as the crease. One batsman, who is "on strike", faces the bowler. His partner, who stands at the bowler's end, is termed the "non-striker". The other two participants are the umpires, one of whom stands behind the wicket at the bowler's end of the pitch while the other stands in an outfield location.
The match is divided into innings (the same word being used for singular and plural) during which one team bats and the other fields. The teams take it in turn to play their innings (i.e., be the batting team). Depending on the type of match, there may be either two (i.e., one per team) or four innings (two each) to be played.
The bowler bowls (or "delivers") the ball at the wicket being defended by the batsman on strike. The batsman uses his bat to stop the ball from hitting the wicket. He also tries to direct the ball into the outfield, away from the fielders, so that he and his partner have the option to run to the other end of the pitch without being run out. If he does that, the batsman is said to have scored a run which is added to both his own and the team's score.
The bowler completes six successive deliveries and then the umpire calls "over". This is the signal for the fielding team to change ends. The umpires also swap positions. A bowler cannot bowl two consecutive overs in an innings and so the next over is bowled by a different bowler from the other end of the pitch and the first ball is to the batsman who was the non-striker at the end of the previous over; the batsmen do not change ends on completion of an over. Any member of the fielding team can bowl an over but generally the role is filled by specialists. Bowlers tend to work in "spells" by bowling every other over several times; the same two bowlers will often operate in tandem. The captain is an important member of the fielding team as he must decide on tactics including which bowlers to use and, usually in consultation with the bowler, how to deploy the nine fielders.
The fielding team, principally the bowler, seeks to dismiss the batsman by various means, the primary mode being for the bowler to hit the wicket at which he is bowling so that the batsman is bowled and is declared by the umpire to be out. The other common ways in which a batsman can be out are by being caught (i.e, if he hits the ball with his bat and the ball is caught on the full by one of the fielding team), leg before wicket (lbw), run out or stumped. There are certain other means of dismissal which happen on rare occasions only. When a batsman is dismissed (i.e., is out), he must return to the pavilion and be replaced by the next batsman. The innings continues until ten of the batting side are out or until their captain decides, for tactical reasons, to declare the innings closed. If ten batsmen are dismissed, the team is said to be "all out" although one of them is actually not out because there must always be two batsmen on the pitch.
The object of the game is for one team to score more runs than the other. In matches with four innings (known as double innings matches), it is also necessary to fully dismiss the opposition twice in order to win the match. When played at the highest level, these are called first-class matches and, if playing time expires while the losing team is still batting, the result is a draw. Single innings matches (i.e., one innings per team) are, at the highest level, played under limited overs rules with each team bowling a set number of overs. In these matches, the team scoring the most runs is the winner regardless of how many dismissals there have been. A match is tied if the team batting last is all out and the scores are level.
Cricket is a global team sport that originated more than five centuries ago in England and is now played in over 100 countries, although only ten take part in international Test cricket, which is the highest level. Apart from association football (soccer), cricket is the world's most popular spectator sport. It is widely perceived to be a men's sport but in fact women's cricket, which is organised and played separately, has also achieved international standard.
It is essentially an outdoor sport, certainly at major level, and some games are played under floodlights. It cannot be played in poor weather due to the risk of accidents and so it is a seasonal sport. For example, it is played during the summer months in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Paradoxically, it is played during the winter months in the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to escape the hurricane and monsoon seasons. Governance rests primarily with the International Cricket Council (ICC) which organises the sport worldwide via the domestic controlling bodies of the member countries.
The game of cricket and its objectives
A cricket match is played between two teams (or sides) of eleven players each on a field of variable size and shape. Field diameters of 140–160 yards are usual. The perimeter of the field is known as the boundary and this is sometimes marked by a rope that encircles the outer edge of the field with spectator seating beyond. The field may be round, square or oval – one of cricket's most famous venues is called The Oval.
In simple terms, the object of each team is to score more runs than the other team and so win the game. However, in matches with the teams playing two innings each, it is also necessary to completely dismiss the other team in order to win the match which would otherwise be drawn.
The key action takes place in a specially prepared area of the field (generally in the centre) that is called the pitch. At either end of the pitch, 22 yards apart, are placed the wickets. These serve as a target for the bowling or fielding side and are defended by the batting side which seeks to accumulate runs. Basically, a run is scored when both batsmen have literally run the length of the pitch after the striker has hit the ball with his bat, although as explained below there are many ways of scoring runs.
The bowling side seeks to dismiss the batsmen by various means until the batting side is "all out", whereupon the side that was bowling takes its turn to bat and the side that was batting must "take the field".
In normal circumstances, there are 15 people on the field while a match is in play. Two of these are the umpires who regulate all on-field activity. Two are the batsmen, one of whom is the "striker" as he is facing the bowling; the other is called the "non-striker". The roles of the batsmen are interchangeable as runs are scored and overs are completed. The fielding side has all eleven players on the field together. One of them is the bowler, another is the wicketkeeper and the other nine are called fielders. The wicketkeeper (or keeper) is nearly always a specialist but any of the fielders can be called upon to bowl.
Before play commences, the two captains toss a coin to decide which team shall bat or bowl first. The captain who wins the toss makes his decision on the basis of tactical considerations including the current and expected pitch and weather conditions. Tactics play a much greater part in cricket than in most other sports.
Pitch, wickets and creases
The pitch is 22 yards long between the wickets and is 10 feet wide. It is a flat surface and has very short grass that tends to be worn away as the game progresses. The condition of the pitch has a significant bearing on the match and team tactics are always determined with the state of the pitch, both current and anticipated, as a deciding factor.
Each wicket consists of three wooden stumps placed in a straight line and surmounted by two wooden bails placed across the two gaps; the total height of the wicket including bails is 28.5 inches and the combined width of the three stumps is 9 inches.
Four lines (known as "creases") are painted onto the pitch around the wicket areas to define the batsman's "safe territory" and to determine the limit of the bowler's approach. These are called the "popping" (or batting) crease, the bowling crease and two "return" creases.
The stumps are placed in line on the bowling creases and so these must be 22 yards apart. A bowling crease is 8 feet 8 inches long with the middle stump placed dead centre. The popping crease has the same length, is parallel to the bowling crease and is four feet in front of the wicket. The return creases are perpendicular to the other two; they are adjoined to the ends of the popping crease and are drawn through the ends of the bowling crease to a length of at least eight feet.
When bowling the ball, the bowler's back foot in his "delivery stride" must land within the two return creases while his front foot must land on or behind the popping crease. If he breaks this rule, the umpire calls "No ball".
The batsman uses the popping crease at his end to stand when facing the bowler but it is more important to him than that because it marks the limit of his safe territory and he can be stumped or run out (see Dismissals below) if the wicket is broken while he is "out of his ground".
Bat and ball
The essence of the sport is that a bowler delivers the ball from his end of the pitch towards the batsman who, armed with a bat, is "on strike" at the other end. The bat is made of wood and takes the shape of a blade topped by a cylindrical handle. The blade must not be more than 4.25 inches wide and the total length of the bat not more than 38 inches. The bowler must employ a straight-armed action to bowl the ball, which is a hard leather-seamed spheroid projectile with a circumference limit of 9 inches.
The hardness of the ball, which can be delivered at speeds of more than 90mph, is a matter for concern and batsmen wear protective clothing including pads (designed to protect the knees and shins), batting gloves for the hands, a helmet for the head and a "box" inside the trousers (for the more delicate part of the anatomy). Some batsmen wear additional padding inside their shirts and trousers such as thigh pads, arm pads, rib protectors and shoulder pads.
Umpires and scorers
The game on the field is regulated by the two umpires, one of whom stands behind the wicket at the bowler's end, the other in a position called "square leg" which is several yards behind the batsman on strike. When the bowler delivers the ball, the umpire at the wicket is between the bowler and the non-striker.
Off the field, the match details including runs and dismissals are recorded by scorers. In televised matches, particularly those played at international level, there is often a "third umpire" who can make decisions on certain incidents with the aid of video evidence.
In theory, all eleven members of the batting side take a turn to bat but an innings can end before they all do so. The innings (with a final "s" in both singular and plural) is the term used for the collective performance of the batting side. Both teams have one or two innings each depending on the type of match being played. The term innings also applies to a batsman's individual performance and it is often said that a batsman had an innings (meaning score) of so many runs.
The main aim of the bowler, supported by his fielders, is to dismiss the batsman. A batsman when dismissed is said to be "out" and that means he must leave the field of play and be replaced by the next batsman on his team. When ten batsmen have been dismissed (i.e., are out), then the whole team is dismissed and the innings is over. The last batsman, the one who has not been dismissed, is not allowed to continue alone as there must always be two batsmen "in". This batsman is termed "not out".
If an innings should end before ten batsmen have been dismissed, there are two not out batsmen. An innings can end early because the batting side's captain has chosen to declare the innings closed, which is a tactical decision; or because the batting side has achieved its target and won the game; or because the game has ended prematurely due to bad weather or running out of time. In limited overs cricket, there might be two batsmen still "in" when the last over has been bowled.
The bowler bowls the ball in sets of six deliveries (or "balls") and each set of six balls is called an over. This name came about because the umpire calls "Over!" when six balls have been bowled. At this point, another bowler is deployed at the other end and the fielding side changes ends. A bowler cannot bowl two successive overs in an innings, although a bowler can bowl unchanged at the same end, in theory (though rarely in practice) for the entire innings. The batsmen do not change ends and so the one who was non-striker is now the striker and vice-versa. The umpires also change positions so that the one was at square leg now stands behind the wicket at the non-striker's end and vice-versa. An over in which no runs are scored is called a "maiden".
All eleven players on the fielding side take the field together. One of them is the wicketkeeper who operates behind the wicket being defended by the batsman on strike. Besides the one currently bowling, the other fielders are tactically deployed by the team captain in chosen positions around the field. These positions are not fixed but they are known by specific and sometimes colourful names such as "slip", "third man", "silly mid on" and "long leg". The captain is the most important member of the fielding side as he determines all the tactics including who should bowl (and how); and he is responsible for "setting the field", though usually in consultation with the bowler.
The bowler reaches his delivery stride by means of a "run-up", although some bowlers with a very slow delivery take no more than a couple of steps before bowling. A fast bowler needs momentum and takes quite a long run-up, running very fast as he does so.
The fastest bowlers can deliver the ball at a speed of over 90mph and they sometimes rely on sheer speed to try and defeat the batsman, who is forced to react very quickly to a ball that reaches him in an instant. The Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson, who played in the 1970s, was a classic example of this type of bowler.
Other fast bowlers rely on a mixture of speed and guile. Some fast bowlers make use of the seam of the ball so that it "curves" or "swings" in flight and this type of delivery can deceive a batsman into mistiming his shot so that the ball touches the edge of the bat and can then be "caught behind" by the wicketkeeper or a slip fielder. The great England fast bowler Fred Trueman, who played in the 1950s and 1960s, was a brilliant exponent of the "outswinger".
At the other end of the bowling scale is the "spinner" who bowls at a relatively slow pace and relies entirely on guile to deceive the batsman. A spinner will often "buy his wicket" by "tossing one up" to lure the batsman into making an adventurous shot. The batsman has to be very wary of such deliveries as they are often "flighted" or spun so that the ball will not behave quite as he expects and he could be "trapped" into getting himself out. Two great spin bowlers have operated in 21st century cricket: Shane Warne of Australia and Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.
In between the pacemen and the spinners are the "medium pacers" who rely on persistent accuracy to try and contain the rate of scoring and wear down the batsman's concentration.
All bowlers are classified according to their pace or style. The classifications, as with much cricket terminology, can be very confusing. Hence, a bowler could be classified as LF, meaning he is a left arm fast bowler; or as LBG, meaning he is a right arm spin bowler who bowls deliveries that are called a "leg break" and a "googly"!
At any one time, there are two batsmen in the playing area. One takes station at the striker's end to defend the wicket as above and to score runs if possible. His partner, the non-striker, stands at the end where the bowler is operating.
If a batsman "retires" (usually due to injury) and cannot return, he is actually "not out" and his retirement does not count as a dismissal, though in effect he has been dismissed because his innings is over. Substitute batsmen are not allowed, although substitute fielders are.
A skilled batsman can use a wide array of "shots" or "strokes" in both defensive and attacking mode. The idea is to hit the ball to best effect with the flat surface of the bat's blade. Batsmen do not always seek to hit the ball as hard as possible and a good player can score runs just by making a deft stroke with a turn of the wrists or by simply "blocking" the ball but directing it away from fielders so that he has time to take a run.
Cricket is very fond of naming things, as with the field placings, and each shot or stroke in the batsman's repertoire has a name too: e.g., "cut", "drive", "hook", "pull", etc.
Note that a batsman does not have to play a shot and can "leave" the ball to go through to the wicketkeeper, providing he thinks it will not hit his wicket. Equally, he does not have to attempt a run when he hits the ball with his bat. He can deliberately use his leg to block the ball and thereby "pad it away" but this is risky because of the leg-before-wicket (lbw) rule.
The primary concern of the batsman on strike (i.e., the "striker") is to prevent the ball hitting the wicket and secondarily to score runs by hitting the ball so that he and his partner have time to run from one end of the pitch to the other before the fielding side can return it. Each completed run increments the score. More than one run can be scored from a single hit but, while hits worth one to three runs are common, the size of the field is such that it is usually difficult to run four or more. To compensate for this, hits that reach the boundary of the field are automatically awarded four runs if the ball touches the ground en route to the boundary or six runs if the ball clears the boundary on the full. Hits for five are unusual and generally rely on the help of "overthrows" by a fielder returning the ball. If an odd number of runs is scored by the striker, the two batsmen have changed ends and the one who was non-striker is now the striker. Only the striker can score individual runs but all runs are added to the team's total.
Additional runs can be gained by the batting team as "extras" or "sundries" by courtesy of the fielding side. This is achieved in four ways:
- No ball – a penalty of one extra that is conceded by the bowler if he breaks the rules of bowling either by (a) using an inappropriate arm action; (b) overstepping the popping crease; (c) having a foot outside the return crease
- Wide – a penalty of one extra that is conceded by the bowler if he bowls so that the ball is out of the batsman's reach
- Bye – extra(s) awarded if the batsman does not hit the ball and it goes past the wicketkeeper to give the batsmen time to run in the conventional way (note that a mark of a good wicketkeeper is one who restricts the tally of byes to a minimum)
- Leg bye – extra(s) awarded if the ball hits the batsman's leg (or any other part of his body except hand holding bat), but not his bat, and it goes away from the fielders to give the batsmen time to run in the conventional way.
When the bowler has bowled a no ball or a wide, his team incurs an additional penalty because that ball (i.e., delivery) has to be bowled again and hence the batting side has the opportunity to score more runs from this extra ball.
The batsmen have to run (i.e., unless the ball goes to the boundary for four) to claim byes and leg byes but these only count towards the team total, and to the extras, not to the striker's individual total for which runs must be scored off the bat.
There are several ways in which a batsman can be dismissed and some are so unusual that only a few instances of them exist in the whole history of the game. The most common forms of dismissal are "bowled", "caught", "leg before wicket" (lbw), "run out", "stumped" and "hit wicket". The unusual methods are "hit the ball twice", "obstructed the field", and "timed out".
Before the umpire will award a dismissal and declare the batsman to be out, a member of the fielding side (generally the bowler) must "appeal". This is invariably done by asking (or shouting) the term "Owzat?" which means, simply enough, "How is that?" If the umpire agrees with the appeal, he will raise a forefinger and say "Out!". Otherwise he will shake his head and say "Not out". Appeals are particularly loud when the circumstances of the claimed dismissal are unclear, as is always the case with lbw and often with run outs and stumpings.
- Bowled – the bowler has hit the wicket with the ball and the wicket has "broken" with at least one bail being dislodged (note that if the ball hits the wicket without dislodging a bail, the batsman is not out)
- Caught – the batsman has hit the ball with his bat or with his hand holding the bat and the ball was caught on the full by a member of the fielding side
- Leg before wicket (lbw) – is complex but basically means that the batsman would have been bowled if the ball had not hit his leg first
- Run out – a fielder has broken the wicket with the ball while a batsman was out of his ground; this usually occurs by means of an accurate throw to the wicket while the batsmen are attempting a run
- Stumped – is similar except that it is done by the wicketkeeper after the batsman has stepped out of his ground
- Hit wicket – means simply that a batsman did just that, often by hitting the wicket with his bat or by falling onto it
- Hit the ball twice – is very unusual and was introduced as a safety measure to counter dangerous play and protect the fielders
- Obstructed the field – another unusual dismissal which tends to involve a batsman deliberately getting in the way of a fielder; this has now been revised to include the former "handled the ball"
- Timed out – usually means that the next batsman did not arrive at the wicket within two minutes of the previous one being dismissed.
Note that it is usually the striker who is out when a dismissal occurs but the non-striker can be dismissed, invariably by being run out.
Types of match and competition
Cricket is a multi-faceted sport whose rules allow for many variations of contest and competition according to duration, location, timing, playing standards, qualification and other factors.
In very broad terms, cricket can be divided into major cricket and minor cricket based on playing standards. A more pertinent division, particularly in terms of major cricket, is between matches in which the teams have two innings apiece and those in which they have a single innings each. The former has a duration of three to five days (in earlier times there were "timeless" matches too); the best-known form of the latter, known as limited overs cricket (or "one-day cricket") because each team bowls a limit of typically 50 overs, has a planned duration of one day only (a match can be extended if necessary due to bad weather, etc.).
Historically, a form of cricket known as single wicket has been extremely popular and many of these contests in the 18th and 19th centuries qualify as major matches. Single wicket has rarely been played since limited overs cricket began.
Test cricket is the highest standard of cricket. A Test match is an international fixture, invariably part of a "series" of three to five games, between two national teams that have full member status within the ICC. The teams have two innings each and the match lasts for up to five days with a scheduled six hours of play on each day (this varies if there are interruptions due to the weather or if an agreed number of overs is not completed within the six hours). Test cricket began with Australia versus England in 1877, although the early Tests were in fact classified as such retrospectively. Subsequently, eight other countries have achieved Test status: South Africa (1889), West Indies (1928), New Zealand (1929), India (1932), Pakistan (1952), Sri Lanka (1982), Zimbabwe (1992) and Bangladesh (2000). Note that the West Indies team is made up of players from nations including Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Test cricket is a form of first-class cricket. This form, which has an official definition, is generally used in reference to the highest level of domestic cricket, especially in the Test-playing nations. National championships, such as the English and Welsh County Championship, are first-class competitions. A first-class match has a duration of three to five days, the teams having two innings each.
A limited overs international (LOI) is the highest standard of limited overs cricket. As well as the countries that play Test cricket, this class includes those that have ICC associate member status, although they rarely play against the Test teams. In 2007, there were 36 associate members including Kenya, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Bermuda and Netherlands who all took part in the finals of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. An LOI is nominally a one-day match, but can be extended if necessary due to bad weather. Each team has one innings and the overs limit is usually 50 per side.
Twenty20 cricket is a variation of the limited-overs game in which each team has 20 overs. The match lasts two to three hours and so can be fitted into an evening. Twenty20 began in 2003 and staged its inaugural World Cup, involving the Test countries only, in South Africa in 2007. Subsequently, there have been further World Cups in England, the West Indies and India.
These are held in each country and are the main examples of first-class cricket. For example, England has the County Championship which has tentative origins stretching back to 1728 and was formally organised as an official competition in 1890. This involves 18 county clubs who are split into two divisions. Each team plays the other eight in its division both home and away in double innings fixtures with a duration of up to four days. The oldest county club, Sussex, won the championship in both 2006 and 2007; while the newest first-class club, Durham, won in both 2008 and 2009. The most successful club is Yorkshire, who have won the title outright on 32 occasions including 2014 and 2015.
In limited overs cricket, England has three major competitions involving the 18 County Championship clubs. The National League, like the championship, is split into two divisions. England's knockout tournament began in 1963 as the sport's inaugural limited overs competition. The newest tournament is the Twenty20 Cup which is played on evenings only during the midsummer period.
All the other Test countries have a similar setup. Australia's national championship involves the various state sides playing for the Sheffield Shield; in India, the championship is the Ranji Trophy; in South Africa, the Currie Cup; and so on.
Below the national championship level in each country there are various leagues, often organised on a state, county or regional basis, that include clubs which are classed as "minor" although in many cases the playing standards are anything but minor.
Again using England as an example, the main minor competition is the Minor Counties Championship which began in 1895 and includes 20 county clubs that are not qualified for the County Championship, although it is possible for a "minor county" to achieve this qualification. The last to do so was Durham in 1992.
Below that level are numerous regional leagues which involve town and village clubs whose players are generally local residents. These tend to play at weekends only. Some of the leagues are notable for high standards, especially as professionals have frequently been employed. For example, the great Gary Sobers played for Radcliffe Cricket Club in the Central Lancashire League for several seasons around 1960. Other notable leagues in England are the Lancashire League and the Bradford League.
Schools cricket has always been very important for giving youngsters an introduction to the skills of the sport and this has always been most effective where good quality coaching has been available.
Other types of cricket
In domestic competitions, limited-overs games of differing lengths are played. There are also numerous informal variations of the sport played throughout the world that include indoor cricket, French cricket, beach cricket, Kwik cricket and all sorts of card games and board games that have been inspired by cricket.
Origin and development of cricket
According to the former British Prime Minister John Major in his book entitled More Than A Game, cricket is a club striking a ball (like) the ancient games of club-ball, stool-ball, trap-ball, stob-ball. As he says, each of these have at times been described as "early cricket".
- For a general history of cricket from its immemorial origin as a children's game in medieval England to its 21st century status as a major world sport, see: History of cricket
The significance of cricket
Cricket has high player participation with numerous minor competitions at all age levels widespread in every country in which it is played. It is one of the world's greatest spectator sports and attracts massive media coverage. Its social and cultural influence is considerable and many leading players have acquired "celebrity status".
Cricket's global spread is directly attributable to the British Empire. It is generally viewed as the quintessential English sport that has followed British colonists, traders and military expeditions everywhere. It is thus no coincidence that it is mostly found in English-speaking countries.
Cricket is hugely popular in those countries where major playing standards have been achieved and where Test cricket is played: i.e., Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, India, the West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The sport is also well-established in several other countries which operate at international level but as yet do not play Test cricket, including United States, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Argentina, Namibia and the Netherlands.
Notes and references
- Cricket's "rules" are maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and are in the form of a code known as the Laws of Cricket. This article refers freely to the Laws but only in order to illustrate aspects of the game. For anyone wanting to study the Laws in detail, the best online source is the MCC site itself. The best printed source is Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, which is published annually and is the sport's premier reference work, especially for statistical information.
- The British international team in Test cricket is called England, but it represents Scotland and Wales too. Confusingly, Scotland plays separately in limited overs cricket, for which England and Wales have a combined team but still called England. The County Championship is English in origin but it includes Glamorgan County Cricket Club which is representative of the Welsh county of Glamorgan.
- For the purposes of international cricket, many countries of the Caribbean region have formed a sporting federation that operates as a quasi-national team. These countries include Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands.