Have you ever played a game of cricket? One thing that you notice is the position of the players. During a cricket match, each player takes their position as directed by the captain’s call. The purpose of strategic fielding is to place players in positions that limit the player’s scoring opportunities and create chances for wickets based on the batter’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the significance of fielding positions is essential for appreciating the tactical intricacies and teamwork involved in cricket, whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or new to the game. Today’s article is all about the various fielding positions in cricket. We’ll discuss fielding roles and how fielding positions play an important part in the game plan. Let’s get started! I just want to inform you; I’ve used the word “Batter” instead of “batsman” because the ICC officially replaced the “batsman” word with “batter.”
The infield positions in cricket refer to the players stationed closer to the batsman, forming a defensive circle to prevent scoring opportunities and create pressure for the batter. These positions are placed to counter various types of shots and are crucial for building a strong defense. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key infield positions and their roles:
The slip fielding position is a crucial area on the cricket field. Positioned behind the batsman on the off-side or right side of the wicketkeeper, slip fielders catch edges off the bat. Did you know that there are four different slip positions in cricket? These’re called slip1, slip2, slip3, and slip4, as shown in the figure below. Typically, only one or two fielders are placed in these positions at a time to make the balance in fielding. Some of the most skilled catchers on the team are the slip fielders. They can turn even the smallest mistake made by the batter into a chance for the team to take a wicket.
The fly slip fielder is positioned slightly behind the regular slip fielders or along the backward point fielder on the off-side. This position comes into play when the batsman is likely to play lofted shots or edges that carry over the traditional slips. The fly slip fielder requires a combination of courage and precision. This position is often employed when facing aggressive batters who tend to play attacking shots.
The backward point fielding position is a crucial part of the cricket field, located on the off-side between point and gully. This position requires a fielder with quick reflexes movement capabilities & is responsible for stopping powerful cuts and deflections played square of the wicket on the off-side.
The position next to the cover is taken by the point fielder, who stands on the off side and protects the area between the cover and the backward point. It is a critical position for stopping hard-hit shots on the off side. The point fielder has excellent diving and throwing skills to cut off runs and apply pressure on the batting side.
The cover position is an infield placement located on the off-side, between the point and mid-off. A fielder positioned here needs to be agile and quick on their feet. Their primary role is to stop powerful drives and cuts played by the batter. The cover fielder can prevent runs and create chances for catches in this position.
This Positioned is on the off-side, between cover and mid-off. The extra cover fielder plays a key role in defensive and attacking techniques. The extra cover fielder is responsible for covering the gap between cover and mid-off & it includes drives, cuts, and even lofted shots. The extra cover fielder can quickly stop off scoring opportunities and limit runs by reading the batter’s attention.
The mid-off fielder is positioned slightly along the bowler’s wicket or on the bowler’s left arm side on the off-side. This position is important for preventing straight drives and encouraging off-center shots from the batter. The fielder in this position is quick on their feet and has a strong throwing arm to deter the batter from taking risky runs. Sometimes, the player stationed at mid-off helps out the bowler by being ready to catch any throws and preventing the ball from going to the boundary.
The mid-on fielder stands opposite the mid-off fielder on the leg or right side of the bowler. Their primary responsibility in this position is to stop shots that are at 60° degrees on the ground from the batter. Mid-on fielding is often more comfortable for fielders than off side fielding because most batters play on off side.
Silly point is a challenging infield position where the fielder stands very close to the batter on the off-side. This position is only placed in test cricket when there is a possibility of edging the ball or when spin bowlers are in action. The silly point fielder needs to wear a helmet because at this position, the fielder is too much close to the batter & it is a high-pressure position.
Similar to the silly point, the short leg fielder is positioned on the leg side. This position is placed in test cricket when the batsman is playing spin bowling. This fielder also wears a helmet for its safety.
Outfield Positions in Cricket:
The outfield positions in cricket encompass a range of fielding areas along the boundary, where players stand as the last line of defense against boundary hits. These positions require a unique blend of athleticism, speed, and accuracy. From the deep to fine leg, these fielders are responsible for preventing runs from turning into boundaries and attempting to catch lofted shots. The outfielders’ strong throwing arms also play a vital role in quickly returning the ball to the wicketkeeper or bowler, adding pressure to the batter and leading to run-outs.
Deep Fine Leg:
The position of the deep fine leg in cricket is important as it’s responsible for protecting the leg-side boundary. This fielder stands on the boundary line at a fine angle to the batter. The deep fine leg also plays a crucial role in backing up throws from the infield, ensuring that batters are kept under pressure and run is restricted.
Long Leg: This fielder guards the boundary against high shots towards the leg side to prevent the boundary and restrict the batting team’s scoring.
I think that the article may be getting a bit lengthy. Let’s focus on the outfield boundary names for now. Here are the remaining outfield boundary names:
Deep Square Leg:
Deep Mid Wicket:
Straight Boundary, No Fielder:
Deep Extra Cover:
Deep Backword Point:
In cricket, wicketkeepers play a vital role in fielding. Without them, the fielding would be incomplete. Wicketkeepers stand behind the stumps and wear gloves and pads to protect themselves. When the spinner is in front, the wicketkeeper stands close behind the batter. But if the spinner is not in front, the wicketkeeper stands farther away behind the batter. Kumar Sangakkara is the best wicketkeeper, according to ICC.
Expert fielders are players selected for particular fielding positions because of their exceptional abilities in catching & throwing. These players are stationed in key areas like a slip or short leg to make sure that misfielding is converted into wickets and runs are saved effectively.
Strategic Considerations in Cricket Fielding Positions:
Strategically positioning on the cricket field is an art that can significantly change the match. The choice of fielding placements depends on various factors, including the type of bowler, the batting style of the batters, and the match situation. Here are some crucial strategic considerations that captains and teams take into account when setting up their fielding positions:
- Every bowler has a unique bowling style, like left-hand & right-hand bowling. The fielding positions are placed to complement their style and discourage the opposing batter from playing shots that align with the bowler’s plans. When a fast bowler comes to complete their over, the fielding positions may also change, just like with a spin bowler.
- It’s interesting to observe how the fielding position changes when a big hitter like Chris Gayle steps up to bat. It seems like everyone is in fear, anticipating his powerful swings and long sixes. It’s a sight to see! Strategically placing fielders in areas where a batter is likely to hit the ball poorly can increase the chances of taking a wicket. The fielding position on the ground also changes depending on whether the batter is right or left-handed.
- The way the pitch is can affect how the ball moves. The captains can decide where to place their players based on the pitch.
- When the batting team sets a target & the match progresses, the fielding team’s placements are influenced accordingly. In a chase, fielders might be placed to restrict easy singles and boundaries, while defending a total could involve more aggressive field settings.
- Placing the best fielders in key positions maximizes the chances of winning the match. Skilled catchers are positioned in slip and other catching areas like the leg side.
Attacking and Defensive Fields:
- Captains choose between attacking and defensive field placements based on their team’s strategy. Attacking fields aim to take wickets, while defensive fields aim to contain runs. In the attacking field, most fielders are standing near the pitch. And in the defensive field, most fielders stand near the boundary.
One-Day and T20 Formats:
- The fielding format also changes in T20 & ODI. Cricket captains often use aggressive fielding strategies during the powerplay to secure early wickets and establish the momentum for the rest of the innings.
What are cricket fielding positions?
Cricket fielding positions refer to specific areas on the field where players are placed to prevent runs, take catches, and effect dismissals. These positions are based on the bowler’s strategy and the batter’s strengths and weaknesses.
How many fielding positions are there in cricket?
In cricket, there are a total of 35 fielding positions that players can be placed in. These positions range from close-catching positions like slips and gully to boundary-protecting roles like fine leg and deep cover. However, not all cricket players can stand in every position on the field. It’s because there are 11 players & each position calls for a particular batter & bowler.
Why are there no fielders in the straight region?
Sometimes, cricket captains leave the straight region open on purpose. The idea behind this is to attract batters to play straight shots, which can lead to mistakes, lbw dismissals, or even hitting the stumps.
Can fielding positions change during an over?
Yes, fielding positions can change between an over to the batter’s shot selection and the bowler’s variations. The captains and bowlers collaborate to make necessary adjustments to the field settings.
How can I improve my fielding in cricket?
To enhance your fielding in cricket, focus on skill and quick footwork to cover the ground efficiently. Sometimes it can be tough for fielders to catch the ball when there are so many people in the stadium. However, if you believe in yourself and stay brave, you are the great fielder in the world.