A List of Technical Cricket Terms

Following, in alphabetical order, are a list of technical terms used in cricket. Names of fielding positions, a whole list by themselves, have been left out because they are covered elsewhere in this Web Site (see Beyond the Basics: Looking at Cricket Strategies for a diagram and names of fielding positions.) If you have come to cricket from baseball, this should make you conversant with the language that cricketers use!


Click on the section that has the STARTING letter of the term you are looking for, to go directly to that section. Click on "Back" to return to this Index Table.

Terms from A to D

Appeal(see pic above)
a claim that a batter has been put out, made by the person making the play. (Umpires will not signal some "outs" unless appealed to, by the appropriate player).
bat-and-pad catch
A hit that hits a batter's leg (pad) and is caught by a fielder BEFORE it touches the ground. A clear "out".
Batting Average
the average number of earned runs scored by a batter, defined as total runs scored divided by number of times the batter was "out".
bowled [see pic above]
an "out" which is achieved by a pitch that hits the batter's sticks, whether or not touched by the bat. Rather like baseball's "strike-out".
Bowling average
the (average) number of earned runs scored off a pitcher/bowler per every "out" he takes.
a change in direction of a pitch, after it is bounced by the pitcher.
bumper [see pic above]
a ball that is bounced high enough to hit a batter's head or shoulders; cricket's equivalent of the "beanball".
bye(s) (see pic above) Run(s) scored on "wild pitches". i.e. when the ball goes past the wicket-keeper/catcher without having been touched by the batter, and runs can be scored (much like "stolen bases on wild piches" in baseball). The runs are added to the team total as "extras", but not credited to batters... nor charged to bowlers.
Caught (out) [see pic above]
An "out" resulting from a hit caught by a fielder in the air, i.e. before touching the ground, like baseball's "pop fly".
A left-hander's googly ( see definition of 'googly', below)....i.e., a pitch that looks as if it could break INTO a right-handed batter on the bounce, but breaks AWAY instead. So called because the first person to have delivered such a pitch was of Chinese extraction, in the West Indies !
Old name for the outfield, in cricket.
cover drive
a drive (see definition) that is hit away from the batter's body, in baseball's "first-base" direction.
cutter , leg- or off-
A fast pitch where a slashing arm action rather than wrist or finger spin is used to get a slight break off the bounce....depending on the direction of the break, it can be called a leg-cutter or off-cutter.
in unlimited-over games, a decision by the captain of a batting side to stop batting and put the other side in to bat...usually done to allow enough time to win a game.
double century
an individual score of 200 runs or more by a batter.
in an unlimited-overs game of one OR two innings, a situation where neither side wins....the first team's total is not surpassed, but the innings are not completed. (No draws are allowed in limited-over games).
drive (see pic above)
a hit executed by the batter in which he swings the bat in a long arc, much like teeing off at golf, and sends the ball in one of several possible directions.
a zero individual score, "awarded" to a batter who is "out" without scoring a single earned run.


Terms from E to H

Economy rate
the average number of earned runs scored off a pitcher/bowler per over that he bowls/pitches....a measure of pitching efficiency.
follow on
In a full two-innings game, where the team batting second is asked to bat again because its first innings total is far behind that of the other team.
fourer, or boundary
a line drive that reaches the fence, counting as four runs.
full toss (see pic above)
a pitch that reaches the batter without a bounce, like a baseball pitch.
glide (see pic above)
a hit which is executed like a drive (see definition) but is angled to go behind the batter on his off side (see definition).
good length, or good-length delivery (see pic above)
A pitch which bounces just outside the batter's maximum forward reach (i.e. 3 to 5 yards from the wickets, depending upon batter's height)....these pitches are the hardest for a batter to hit, because he cannot decide whether to step forward anyway, or if he should step back and give himself the maximum distance from the "bounce", to see what the ball might be doing.
googly (see pic above)
A pitch which is thrown with baseball's "screwball" grip but reverse finger spin... to look like a leg-break (see definition) that should move across and AWAY from the batter, but actually moves in the OPPOSITE direction, i.e. INTO the batter like an off-break (see definition), after it bounces. (also see definition of "chinaman").
half century
an individual score of 50 runs or more by a batter.
Hat trick
Getting three batters "out" in three successive pitches...so called because in the 17th century, a pitcher/bowler who accomplished the feat was rewarded by an immediate bonus, collected by passing a hat among gathered spectators.
hook(see pic above)
a hit that is executed by the batter swinging his bat around his body, and following up with a complete body turn, usually pivoting on one foot...works best on a pitch that is moving away from the batter on his "leg" side (see definition).


Terms from I to L

The total number of runs scored by a team during its time at bat.
innings victory
In a full two-innings game, a victory where one team scores more runs in a single innings than its opponent does in two.
inswing see pic above
a pitch that moves into a batter in the air, like baseball's "curve ball".
"It is not cricket"
An expression meaning, any action that is deceptive, unfair or underhanded...i.e. contrary to the spirit in which cricket is supposed to be played.
late cut (see pic above)
a hit that is executed by a batter by deflecting the pitch in a slicing motion, just before it reaches the wicket keeper or catcher.
lbw (leg before wicket) (see pic above)
a pitch which is intercepted by a batter's body before it hits the sticks...an umpire will rule the batter "out" if he is sure that the sticks would have been hit.
leg break (see pic above)
a pitch that is thrown almost like baseball's "screwball", and breaks into a batter's body off the bounce, from the batter's "leg" side.
leg bye
Run(s) scored when the ball hits the batter's legs, and goes off into the field . The runs are added to the team total as "extras", but not credited to batters... nor charged to bowlers. NOTE: leg-byes are not allowed when there is an lbw "out" (see definition), or if the ball has been intentionally kicked or deflected by the batter.
leg glance (see pic above)
a hit consisiting of a deflection around the batter's legs, of a pitch past the wicket keeper (catcher) and behind him.
leg side
that half of the field, as bisected by a line joining the wickets and extended both ways, where the batter's legs are placed. Also called "on side".(see definition of "off and on side" and pic, below).
Limited and Unlimited Over games
"Limited Over" games are those where each team is allowed to bat only for a designated number of overs. Typically, 30, 40, 45 or 50 overs are set as the limit for each team's innings. "Unlimited Over Games" are those where no over restriction is placed on a team's innings.
lofted drive
a drive (see definition) where the ball is lofted (hit in the air) to clear infield or midfield positions.
long hop or short pitch (see pic above)
A pitch that is bounced far away from the batter ( at least 7 to 10 yards away) , so it reaches the batter after a long hop, or bounce.


Terms from M to P

maiden over
a set of six pitches delivered by a bowler in which no earned runs are scored.
night watchman
in matches/games lasting 2 or more days, a lower order batter who is sent in to "stall for time" late in the evening, so the more experienced batters can bat the following day.
no-ball (see pic above)
a pitch delivered by a pitcher who has "crossed the line" he is supposed to pitch from, or violated some other rule. When an umpire calls "no ball", the batter cannot be out except when running and gets tagged.
A One-Day International, an official limited-over cricket game (typically 50 overs per team) where the contenders are accredited national teams.
off-break (see pic above)
a pitch which, after bouncing, "breaks" into the batter's body from his off side (see definition below for "off side").
off drive
A drive (see definition) which is executed at about a 45-degree angle to the line of the wickets, on the batter's off side (see definition).
off side (see pic above)
that half of the field, as bisected by a line joining the wickets and extended both ways, which is in front of and away from the batter, i.e. the other half of the field (as opposed to his "leg" or "on" side).
on drive
A drive (see definition) which is executed at about a 45-degree angle to the line of the wickets, on the batter's on or leg side (see definition)
opening batsman
One of the first two batters sent in to start a team's innings.
outswing (see pic above)
A pitch which moves down and away from the batter in the air, like baseball's "slider".
The set of six pitches delivered from one wicket to the other by a pitcher.
overpitch(ed delivery) (see pic above)
a pitch which is pitched so far forward that the batter can reach the point where it bounced by a forward step.
Partnership, stand
used to indicate the number of runs scored by both batters on base, between one "out" and the next one... for example, a "partnership of 100 runs for the third wicket" would mean that 100 runs were scored by both batters between the second and third "out".
pull (see pic above)
A hit executed by a batter "pulling" an off-side pitch (see definition) around his body towards his other (i.e.on, or leg) side (see definition).


Terms from Q to T

Safe crossing(s) from wicket to wicket, by a batter (and his partner) after hitting (earned runs), or off a fielding error (like stolen bases) (extras). Each crossing scores one run to the batting team.
run out see pic above
like baseball's "tag"....an "out" which consists of the fielder striking the wickets towards which a runner is headed, before he gets to it.
run rate
the rate at which runs are being scored per over, in an innings.
a faster pitch delivered with the seam straight, and which can "slide" in the air or "break" unexpectedly.
sixer, or over-boundary
a hit that flies over the fence without a bounce, scoring six runs.
A double "duck", i.e. a batter who is out for zero runs in both innings of a two-inning cricket game.
Spin (bowler)
A kind of pitch, usually delivered at slow speed, where fingers or/and wrist are used to impart spin to the ball to achieve "breaks" (see definition); so, spin bowler = a pitcher who uses spin.
square cut (see pic above)
A hit that looks like a slash across the body, used by batter to hit the ball "square" to his batting position...in baseball terms, like a hit towards first base by a right-handed batter, or third base by a left-hander.
"Sticky Wicket"
A field which is partly dry and partly wet, creating a treacherous and uncertain bounce which makes the batter's life difficult...by extrapolation, any life situation which is full of hazardous uncertainty!
To bat only to stop the pitcher from hitting the sticks, without attempting to score. A defensive tactic, like basketball's "stall".
Stop the rot
Bat in a partnership (see definition) that lasts long enough and scores enough runs to make up for a succession of quick "outs" and a low score total, earlier in the innings.
strike rate
the number of earned runs scored by a batter per pitches actually faced by him.
stumped (see pic above)
An "out" which is made by the catcher/wicket-keeper, catching the batter out of his ground when he is trying to hit...and misses..
sweep (see pic above)
A hit executed towards his leg or on side, by "sweeping" his bat around his body.
The last to or three batters in a team's batting order. The "tail wags" if these batters manage to score a significant amount of runs!
take guard see pic above
what a batter does when he first goes in to bat, i.e. he asks the umpire for guidance, and marks his position where he wishes to stand when batting.
Test Match
An official two-inning match between two accredited national teams, usually spread over 5 playing days (30 hours).
ton or century
an individual score of 100 runs or more by a batter.
triple century
an individual score of 300 runs or more by a batter.


Terms from U to Z

The terms "wicket", and "wickets", are used in different and important ways. "THE wicket" is the strip of field between the two sets of sticks marking the bases, as in "sticky wicket" (see definition). "A wicket", used as singular or plural, is a count of the number of "outs" in an inning, so "85 for 6 wickets" means 85 runs scored, for 6 "outs". "THE wickets", always used in plural, are the set of three sticks or "stumps" marking the base, as in "He stood in front of the wickets". It helps to know the context in which the word is being used !
wicket keeper
the position equivalent to baseball's "catcher".
wicket maiden
a "maiden over" (see definition) where one or more "outs" such as "bowled" or "caught out" (see definitions) also occur.
wide ball (see pic above)
A pitch that travels too far from the batter for him to have a reasonable chance of hitting it. The pitcher has to throw the pitch again, and a penalty run is scored for the batting team.
Win by x wickets
The number of wickets, or "outs", that the team batting second has in hand when it passed the first team's total score. A "win by 10 wickets", meaning no member of the second batting team was out, is an overwhelming victory: a "win by ONE wicket", meaning only the last out was left to the second team, a very narrow one !
Win by x runs
The number of runs by which the team batting second falls short of the mark set by the first team, either because it has had 10 batters out or because (in a limited overs game) time ran out.
yorker (see pic above)
An "overpitch" delivery (see definition) which is thrown so far forward as to bounce right under the batter's bat, and beat him.