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  1. Fielders Per Half Court A court is divided into halves, the dividing line being the non-striker's running crease. No more than 4 fielders may be in either half of the court from the moment the bowler commences their run up until the ball leaves the bowler's hand. A player standing with a foot, or part thereof, on the line is considered to be in both halves, and would therefore contravene this rule. If this contravention occurs, the umpire will call "No Ball" as soon as the bowler releases the ball (even if by then the fielder has moved back into the 'correct' half). Further discussion on this rule in the Umpiring section.

  2. Fielders on Pitch With the exception of the bowler, no fielder (including the wicket keeper), can move onto or extend any part of the body over the pitch from the commencement of the bowler's run up until the ball is played (hit) by the batsman, hits the batsman, or passes the batsman's wicket. If this rule is contravened, the umpire will call "No Ball".

  3. Exclusion Zone The Exclusion Zone is an arc extending to a radius of 3 metres from the exact centre of the batting crease. No fielder can move into or extend over the Exclusion Zone from the commencement of the bowler's run up until the ball is played at by the batsman, hit by the batsman, hits the batsman, or passes the batsman's wicket. The AICF then go on to tell us that the "wicket keeper may move into the Exclusion Zone after the ball has been bowled" - which is very charitable, seeing as it's almost impossible for a 'keeper to not be in the Exclusion Zone as they wait for the ball to be bowled. As long as the 'keeper is in position to field the ball, and doesn't pass forward of the line of the stumps until the ball has been hit, has hit, or has passed behind the stumps, the rule has not been contravened. If however this rule is somehow contravened, the umpire will call "No Ball".


  1. Wicket Keeper

    1. The AICF considers a fielder is to be classified as the wicket keeper if they take up position behind the stumps at the striker's end in the area designated for the wicket keeper. I make the subtle qualification that they have to be in that position at the commencement of a delivery ... they are then the 'keeper for the remainder of that delivery. And so on ....

    2. The area designated for the wicket keeper is between the lines extending along the extremities of the pitch to the net immediately behind the wicket, the actual net immediately behind the wicket, and the line running at right angles through the stumps at the striker's end. In other words - on the pitch, from the stumps to the net immediately behind the wicket. When describing this rule, the AICF rulebook confusingly calls this net the "back net". This is demonstrably wrong ... the "back net" is the net which scores 4, 5 or 6 (see Rule 11 Scoring). The net refered to in this rule is the "front" net, or scoring zone A.

    3. The wicket keeper must take up a position with both feet wholly inside the designated area (above) and cannot move out of that area until the ball leaves the bowler's hand. If this rule is contravened, the umpire will call "No Ball". The spirit of this particular rule is that once the ball leaves the bowler's hand, the 'keeper may move out of the designated area to field a delivery which he couldn't reach otherwise. Although the AICF rules don't actually state it, the 'keeper cannot move out of the designated area once the ball has been delivered to take up a position where he thinks the batsman will hit the ball, in an attempt to field the ball. The rule should more accurately state that any movement outside the area, before the ball has reached the batsman, can only be to attempt to field the delivery as bowled.

    4. As stated above, the wicket keeper may move into the Exclusion Zone, or more accurately may stay in it, after the ball has been bowled provided they are legitimately getting into position to field the ball - my qualification would be "provided they are getting into position to field the delivery" - and they do not pass forward of the line through the stumps. If this rule is contravened, the umpire will call "No Ball".

    5. The wicket keeper cannot take the ball either in front of or from the side of the wickets (this means "in a line directly to the side of"), with the exception of when the ball strikes the batter's person or equipment. If this rule is contravened, the umpire will call "No Ball".

    6. The wearing of gloves by the wicket keeper is optional. [See Rule 5C - Playing Equipment].

    7. A wicket keeper is optional. There can only be one wicketkeeper each time a ball is bowled.




    1. The game commences once the players take up their positions and the umpire calls "Play". I prefer "Play ball", but ......

    2. The ball remains "live" throughout the over, right up until the umpire calls "Over", unless the umpire calls "Dead Ball" or a wicket falls.

    3. Play cannot recommence after the fall of a wicket or a call of "Dead Ball" or before the start of a new over, until the umpire calls "Play". ... or "Play Ball".

    4. It is the batsman's responsibility to have taken strike when the bowler is ready to bowl, provided the batsman has been given reasonable time to do so. The umpire will be the sole judge of what is "reasonable time". However, most of the time a bowler bowls when the batsman is not looking or has not properly "taken guard", I would call "Dead Ball". Only if a batsman was being cute and deliberately wasting time would I call them to face-up and then call Play Ball.

    DEAD BALL There are several situations where a call of Dead Ball is called for.

    1. "Automatic" Dead Balls. No runs can be scored or wickets lost, and the ball must be rebowled. There are other situations which gain an automatic Dead Ball call, but with different consequences and conditions - they are covered further down the page -

      1. The bails are not properly placed on either set of stumps when the bowler commences their run up.

      2. A ball leaves the court, other than as a result of an attempted run out by a fielder.

      3. A ball, after being struck by the batsman, lodges in the net or any part of the net's framework. The original batsman must face the rebowled delivery.

      4. The bowler attempts an illegal mankad. [See Rule 17F(iii) and (iv) - Dismissals]. This is a "No Ball / Dead Ball" call, and the batting side receives 2 runs for the "No Ball" component.

    2. "Discretionary" Dead Balls. In these particular situations, the decision to have the ball rebowled or to allow runs scored or to apply penalties for wickets taken will be at the discretion of the umpire. 

      1. An injury to a player. If a player is hurt and it looks serious (dropping to the ground and not moving is a good indicator it's serious), the umpire should immediately call Dead Ball. No runs would be counted, and the ball would rightly be rebowled in that case. However, if a batsman is hurt but not incapacitated, the judgement can be to let the play reach a conclusion before calling Dead Ball. Runs would count (including wickets) and the ball wouldn't have to be be rebowled. As the rule says, these situations are discretionary, and it can be a difficult decision to make. If in doubt, call Dead Ball immediately, but be aware of batsmen suddenly limping when it looks like they're going to be run out by ten feet. Let them play on .....

      2. The batsman hadn't properly taken strike before the bowler delivered the ball (discussed above).

      3. The bat accidentally left the batter's hands (aka throwing the bat) as a result of playing a shot at the ball. Highly amusing in hindsight, but particularly dangerous at the time. Good gloves should prevent this happening, but happen it does.

    3. "Special Case" Dead Balls. The ball is not rebowled. 

      1. The ball after being bowled, but before reaching the batsman, hits a fielder. A bowler would have to be rather wayward to have this happen, but again, it does happen. The call of "DUCK!!!" is to be avoided. Instead, call "No Ball, Dead Ball" and give the batsman 2 runs.

      2. A fielder throws the ball to run a batsman out, and the ball finds a hole somewhere and leaves the court (or becomes lodged in the netting or netting fixtures). The score (net zone and physical runs) made up until when the ball leaves the court will count (although the AICF rules are contradictory, as described under Rule 15). In general practise in games at your local centre, the run in which the fielder made the runout attempt would probably be counted by the umpire, if the batsmen were very close to completing it when the ball disappeared.... technically though, only runs FULLY COMPLETED before the ball left the court should count. To avoid argument and to be consistent, umpires should stick steadfastly to the technical definition. Most of the time, by the time a throw has missed the stumps and then found a way out of the court, the batsmen would have completed the run initially under threat. If alert and paying attention, they might be just beginning an extra run, and the commonsense and fairness of a "Dead Ball" call at that point would not draw any argument..

      3. A ball, when bowled, hits the top or side net before reaching the batsman. The umpire will not laugh, but will call "No Ball, Dead Ball" and the batsman will receive 2 runs.

      4. A wicket falls, excluding a mankad.

      5. The umpire calls "Over".

      6. The captain of the fielding team or the batmen are permitted to request a "Dead Ball" under the following conditions: Player injury (where you were too insensitive to call it prior to the request); ruling or score clarification; clothing adjustment (their own preferably). Until the umpire acknowledges the request and calls Dead Ball, the ball is live.

    Note: If the umpire is required to intervene (verbally only, please) during an argument or dispute ... or fight ... between players, the ball is automatically dead from the time of the umpire's intervention until "Play" is called. The ball is dead whether the umpire calls "Dead Ball" or not ... in the heat of such events it is easy for an umpire to forget. No runs can be scored or wickets taken during the intervention. However, any score completed up until the intervention must stand.



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