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The Rules

COURT LAYOUT AND DIMENSIONS.

The Australian Indoor Cricket Federation sets a standard for all affiliated courts in Australia. There are smaller courts of course, most of which would find it too crowded for 8 fielders: hence the alternative of 6-a-side competitions. But we'll concentrate on the AICF standard here.

  1. The pitch is defined as the area between both sets of stumps, the bowling return crease, and .... well, the edges of the pitch.
  2. Both sets of stumps must be identically sized of course, and the individual stumps must be close enough to prevent the ball passing between then without touching them (don't laugh, I've seen it happen quite a few times). Their tops will be 28 inches above the floor . . . well, to be exact, the AICF's standard is that they will be 28.9921 inches (or 71.1 cms) tall, but if you make them 28 inches, we won't mention it if you don't.
  3. A straight line will be marked through the base of the three stumps at each end, and, according to the AICF, this line will be 1.83 metres ( 6 feet will suffice ) IN WIDTH at the batting end and 2.47 metres ( or 8 feet, one-and-a-quarter inches . . . sheesh, make it 8 feet ) IN WIDTH at the bowling end. Now, I don't know about you, but a line that wide will look silly, so we've changed the standard to be 1.83 and 2.47 metres IN LENGTH. The line should probably only be a couple of inches in width--we think that's imminently more sensible ( in fact, in another section the AICF states that lines should be 55 mm wide ... not 1.83 metres thankfully ). The stumps will be in the centre of these now more sensibly sized lines, and the two sets of stumps will be 20 metres apart . . . hang on, that's only 21 yards, 2 feet and 7-and-three-eighths of an inch, not the customary 22 yards!!! A curse on metrication!.
  4. The AICF then goes on to tell us that the "popping crease" will be in front of, and parallel to, the lines through the wickets at both ends.... except that at the striker's end it will be called the "batting crease" . . . . . well, that makes sense . . . I guess. Still, the "popping crease and the popping-crease-called-the-batting-crease" will have their back edges 1.22 metres ( a smidgeon over 48 inches ) from the nice and thin line drawn through the stumps. At the striker's end, it will extend from one side of the court to the other and will, as noted earlier, be called the "batting crease". At the bowler's end, it will be the line extending between the return creases ( see below for explanation of "return crease" ) and will be called the bowler's crease or the front foot line.
    You got all that? Let me summarise: the popping crease is called the batting crease at the striker's end, and is called the bowling crease at the bowler's end. So the popping crease isn't called a popping crease at all, except when the rules mention that it's called something else . . . ummm . . . yes . . .
  5. The return creases at the bowler's end will be lines at right angles to the bowling crease (aka "the-popping-crease-not-called-the-popping-crease"). The return creases will be 1.22 metres (the aforementioned smidgeon over 48 inches) from the middle stump. The return creases may be considered to extend back from the line of the stumps indefinitely for the purpose of adjudication. The running crease (or non-striking batter's crease), which is the edge of the crease marking nearest the bowling end, will be parallel to the popping/batting/bowling creases and extend across the whole court. The distance between the running crease and the batting crease will be 11 metres.
  6. The court must be no less than 28 metres ( a touch under 92 feet ) and no more than 30 metres ( a tad under 98 foot, 6 inches ) in length. It will be no less than 10.5 metres ( 34 foot, 6 inches ) and no more than 12 metres ( close enough to 39 foot 4 inches ) in width, and the "top net" should be no less than 4 metres ( 13 foot is near enough ) and no more than 4.5 metres ( 14 foot 9 inches ) above the playing surface.
  7. The "legside lines" are to be positioned with the inside edge 45 cms ( nearly 17 and three-quarters-of-an-inch ) from the middle stump, parallel with the edge of the pitch. The legside lines should extend a minimum of 15 cms back from the batting crease.
  8. The offside or wide lines are to be positioned with the inside edge 90 cms from the centre stump--which means the edge of the pitch should also be at that position--which further means the pitch should be 1.8 metres (just under 6 feet) wide.
  9. A fielding Exclusion Zone will be marked--it is an arc measured from the centre of the batting crease, with a radius of 3 metres ( 9 feet, 10 inches ).
  10. The underarm line is marked across the pitch 7 metres from the striker's stumps.
  11. Despite information to the contrary, the AICF finally restores sensibility and states that all lines will be marked at a thickness of 55mm ( 2 inches is close enough ).

EQUIPMENT

  1. Two sets of stumps ( a "set of stumps" is refered to as a "wicket" ), each 22.86 cms wide (fergawdsake, it's exactly 9 inches ... metrication gone wild again), and consisting of 3 stumps with 2 bails upon the top, will be placed opposite and parallel to each other at a distance of 20 metres ( just under 22 yards). The AICF stipulate a particular type of wickets ("Wilkins" style), which are attached to a steel baseplate and are spring-loaded such that they bend at their base but return to their normal standing position when struck. They are free standing, but the baseplate could be bolted to the court if you didn't really care about player safety.
  2. The bails will be 11.1 cms in length (about 4 and-three-eighths of an inch), and when in position will not extend more than 1.3 cms (half-an-inch) above the top of the stumps. Whilst the AICF states that bails may be wooden or plastic, they may in fact be of any light, durable, robust material ... ivory (WWF sanctioned of course) or bone bails would be a nice, exotic touch. The bails must be attached to the stumps by cord, long enough for them to be dislodged but short enough for them to not fly up and disappear up the 'keeper's nose.

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