Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Each team takes it in turn to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Each turn is known as an innings. The bowler delivers the ball to the batsman who attempts to hit the ball with his bat far enough for him to run to the other end of the pitch and score a run. Each batsman continues batting until he is out. The batting team continues batting until ten batsmen are out, at which point the teams switch roles and the fielding team comes in to bat. In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs of six bowling deliveries per side to Test cricket played over five days. The Laws of Cricket are maintained by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with additional Standard Playing Conditions for Test matches and One Day Internationals. Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed into the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international matches were being held. The ICC, the game's governing body, has 10 full members. The game is most popular in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa. Cricket is played on a grassy field. The Laws of Cricket do not specify the size or shape of the field,but it is often oval. In the centre of the field is a rectangular strip, known as the pitch. The pitch is a flat surface 10 feet (3.0 m) wide, with very short grass that tends to be worn away as the game progresses. At either end of the pitch, 22 yards (20 m) apart, are placed wooden targets, known as thewickets. These serve as a target for the bowling (also known as the fielding) side and are defended by thebatting side, which seeks to accumulate runs. Format of the game
A cricket match is divided into periods called innings. It is decided before the match whether each team will have either one innings or two innings each. During an innings (innings ends with "s" in both singular and plural form), one team fields and the other bats. The two teams switch between fielding and batting after each innings. All eleven members of the fielding team take the field, but only two members of the batting team (two batsmen) are on the field at any given time. The two batsmen stand at opposite ends of the pitch, each behind a line on the pitch known as a crease. The fielding team's eleven members stand outside the pitch, spread out across the field. At each end of the pitch is a wooden target called a wicket. One designated member of the fielding team, called the bowler, is given the ball, and bowls the ball from one end of the pitch to the wicket behind the batsman on the other side of the pitch. The batsman tries to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket by striking the ball with a bat. If the bowler succeeds in hitting the wicket the batsman is dismissed. A dismissed batsman must leave the field, to be replaced by another batsman from the batting team. If the batsman is successful in striking the ball and the ball is not caught before it hits the ground, the two batsmen may then try to score points (runs) for their team by running the length of the pitch, grounding their bats behind the opposite crease. Each crossing and grounding by both batsmen is worth one run. The batsmen may attempt one run, multiple runs, or elect not to run at all. By attempting runs, the batsmen risk dismissal, which can happen if the fielding team retrieves the ball and hits a wicket with the ball before either batsman reaches the opposite crease. If the batsman hits the bowled ball over the field boundary without the ball touching the field, the batting team scores six runs and may not attempt more. If the ball touches the ground and...
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