The World of Cricket

The World of Cricket

Fielding strategy in Cricket

Fielding in cricket complements the bowling. The team that is fielding has 9 players in the field. The two other members consists of the wicket-keeper and bowler. In the early days of Test cricket, fielding wasn't much of a priority and many fielders were sloppy when it came to fielding. With the advent of one-day international matches, fielding became more professional as it helped save unnecessary runs. A side that has a good fielding unit often win matches.

Field placements are decided by the captain. He may consult the bowler or other senior members of the team while placing his fielders. The following are some strategies employed by the captain during a match.

The fielders help to enforce dismissals and save on extra runs.

Optimisation of fielders

Captains put the fielders in positions which they feel is optimal. e.g. Fielders with strong arms, who can throw the ball fast are usually placed near the boundary. Fielders with sharp reflexes are placed near the batsmen to catch the ball on the fly.


The captain can attack – move fielders closer to the batsman (if a new batsman has just arrived to bat) or defend, where the fielders are more spread out and the batsman is attacking hitting 4's and 6's and also rotating the strike with ease. An attacking field is usually set to pressurise the batsman in hitting a false shot thereby getting him out.


Setting the field

The field is set according to a right or left handed batsman. Usually, the field for a left hand batsman is the mirror image to that set for a right handed one. The field changes if the bowler is bowling 'Over the wicket' OR 'Around the wicket'. If a right-hand bowler is bowling from 'over the wicket', (to the umpire's left) to a left-handed batsman; the ball will angle across him, but bowling 'around the wicket', the ball will be straighter. The field is also set to the batsman's favourite scoring areas, so that the regions where the batsman likes to hit the ball is well patrolled. As a rule of thumb, the best fielder in the team will field at backward point, where the ball is frequently hit, and so a good fielding technique is required.


Good fielding complements the bowling. When the batsman hits the ball along the ground, the fielders chase it. They try to collect the ball before it crosses the boundary (to prevent a 4 from being scored). Simultaneously, the batsmen are running between the wickets (exchanging ends). After obtaining the ball, the fielders throw it to any fielder at either the wicketkeeper or the bowler's end of the pitch. This maximizes the chances of a run-out and prevents additional runs from being scored. Once they pass it to these players, and the batsman has not made it home (crossed the crease), the batsman is Run-out. Fielders who stand near batsmen are expected to take reflex catches. In Cricket there is a maxim – "Catches win matches". Diving to prevent the ball get past you is one fielding technique. Another fielding skill is to throw the ball to the stumps as soon as you've got the ball in your hands, to increase the chances of run-outs. An excellent fielder is one who can knock the bails off the stumps with an accurate throw, to run-out a batsman. If the fielder fumbles the ball, or doesn't collect the ball cleanly, the batsmen may run an additional run. The term used if the fielder doesn't field the ball properly is 'misfield'.

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