Glossary of cricket lingo

This list is by no means comprehensive as cricket terms vary from region to region and after a year of studying cricket, there's no way I know all the terms. But these are the basic and most-used terms that you should know to understand a cricket match. If you would like to add a cricket term to this list, comment at the bottom of the page.

  • "All-rounder": a player adept at bowling and batting. Typically a player has one strength.
  • "Bails": small pieces of wood that are lain across the gaps between two "stumps" to form a wicket (in the physical sense of the word). If a player is able to knock the bails from the stumps when a batsman is not in the safe zone near the wicket, that player "takes" a wicket (in the "out" sense of the word).
  • "Batsman": one of two players who stand at opposite ends of the pitch, each near a wicket (in the physical sense). Only one batsman, however, is actually batting at a time. The two will switch places (thereby scoring runs) during the course of play. For more, see Batting and Scoring.
  • "Bouncer": a ball that bounces up near a batsman's head. For more, see Bowling.
  • Boundary

    Stock Photo

    A boundary on the field. If a ball touches or passes over the boundary on the ground, the batsman scores four runs. If it goes over the boundary in the air, six runs are scored.

  • "Boundary/boundaries": when a ball goes outside of the field's, you guessed it, boundary. If a ball goes over in the air, it's a six or a "sixer." If a ball goes over on the ground, it's a four.
  • "Bowled": a batsman is said to be "bowled" when he is gotten out by the bowler. A batsman may also be "clean bowled," meaning he has been bowled without the ball touching him.
  • "Bye": a type of extra scored when batsmen get runs even though a ball does not touch the batsman or his bat; usually this means it occurs from an error by the wicketkeeper.
  • "Century": when batsman scores 100 runs in an innings; 50 runs may be called a half-century. A century is sometimes referred to as a "ton."
  • "Come to the crease": when a batsman takes his position on the pitch.
  • "Crease": lines on the ends of the pitch that serve something like the batter's box and pitcher's mound in baseball. The creases show where the batsman's safe zones are when running and the area where a bowler must stand when he releases the ball. For a figure, see Field Layout.
  • "Cricketer": the proper term for a cricket player.
  • "Delivery": the act of bowling the ball.
  • "Direct hit": when a direct throw from a fieldsman knocks the bails from the stumps, causing a "run-out" wicket.
  • "Dot ball": a bowl from which no runs are scored.
  • "Eleven": another name for a team because each team has eleven players.
  • "Extras": runs scored through unconventional methods, like byes, leg byes, penalties, wides and no-balls.
  • "Five-fer/five-for/fifer": also known (more clearly) as a "five-wicket haul," it's when a bowler takes five wickets (or half of a team's wickets) in one innings.
  • "Four": four runs, scored by hitting the ball over the field's boundary on the ground.
  • "Full toss": a delivery that reaches a batsman without bouncing, making it easier to hit. See Bowling.
  • "Hat trick": a silly-sounding name for a crazy — and rare — feat in which a bowler takes three wickets off of three consecutive balls.
  • LBW

    BBC

    An example of the LBW or Leg Before Wicket rule.

  • "Hit wicket": when a batsman knocks the bails off accidentally, thereby getting himself out.
  • "Innings": a team's turn at-bat. How many innings a team plays per match is determined by the type of cricket being played.
  • "Leg before wicket/LBW": when the umpire gives a wicket for a batsman's body blocking a ball that would otherwise have hit the stumps.
  • "Leg byes": runs taken when the ball hits the batsman's body rather than bat.
  • "Maiden over": an over in which no runs are scored.
  • "Man of the match": similar to an MVP.
  • "No ball": an illegal delivery, usually because of the bowler overstepping the crease, scoring an extra for the batting side.
  • "ODI/One Day International": see Types of Cricket.
  • "Over": a set of six bowled balls.
  • "Pitch": the packed-clay surface in the center of the field where the ball is bowled and hit. This may also be called the wicket.
  • Read more:

    For an American ESPN journalist's insight into what Sachin means to cricket, see this story.

  • "Sachin": Sachin Tendulkar, a famous Indian cricketer regarded as one of the best batsmen in history. Also alternately known as "the Little Master" and "the God of Cricket."
  • "Sticky wicket": a wet pitch that's difficult to play on.
  • Umpire

    Stock Photo

    An umpire gives the signal for six.

  • "Six/sixer": six runs, scored by hitting the ball over the field's boundary in the air. One type of "boundary," of which the other type is a "four."
  • "Stumps": three wooden posts stuck into the ground where a batsman stands. With bails lain on top of it, it is part of a "wicket." It's also the term for a day's play being ended.
  • "Test": see Types of Cricket.
  • "T20/Twenty20": see Types of Cricket.
  • "Umpire": just what you think. The equivalent of referees in American sports.
  • "Wicket": that one is complicated, so it got its own page.
  • "Wide": a delivery that passes illegally wide of the batsman's area, scoring an extra for the batting side. Thus, it is similar to a "ball" in baseball. If a wide occurs, more deliveries must be bowled to make the six deliveries in an over.
  • "Willow": another name for a bat because it is made from willow wood.


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If you're an American looking to understand the sport cricket (sometimes called baseball's lost twin), this is the website for you. From a fellow American who was once as confused as you are, you can learn the sport's basics, terminology, relation to baseball and a brief history.

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