Cricket is followed like a religion in every part of the world today. The sport that involves thrill, fun, and suspense, has a million fan-following among all age groups. But to some who aren’t regular followers of the game, a few terms and concepts may sound Greek. Now words like bowler, batsman, fielder, and umpire are familiar to all. But there are tons of others which are equally important to know so that you don’t feel lost.
One such example is fielding positions. It’s good to learn about them especially if you’re listening to cricket commentary on the radio and if you’re a beginner to the sport. So let’s look at some of the top cricket fielding positions that find a place in the game.
Common Fielding Positions Cricket
Let’s start with a basic fun fact. In all the cricket fielding positions 11 players are so divided that only 9 of them can field at any point in time during the game. This is because the remaining two – wicketkeeper and bowler – are always placed at fixed positions. Let’s look at some of the most frequented names of fielding positions used in the game –
- On and Off – The fielder placed towards the right-hand side of the batsman is said to be in the ‘on’ position. The one standing at the left hand of the latter is in the ‘off’ position. Both these positions refer to the view obtained towards the bowler’s end.
- Slips – As the name explains it, some players are placed right behind the batsman at a certain angle to catch the ball “slipped” by the latter. Sometimes the ball may also take an edge from the batsman. Therefore, the slips positioned are responsible to grab the ball before it can score a run.
There are 3 types of slip fielding positions: First Slip, Second Slip, and Third Slip. Besides that, Leg Slip refers to the player who stands to the right leg side (instead of the left) of the wicketkeeper in case of a right-handed batsman.
Also, Fly Slip is the term assigned to a fielder who’s positioned quite far from the batsman. The other usual slip fielders would normally stand close to the 30-yeard circle.
- Covers – Next on the cricket field positions map are the players that form “covers”, so named because they are positioned exactly where the second pitch is kept covered. Cover and Cover Point are the two main terms used for these fielding positions.
Apart from these, there’s an Extra Cover, referring to the player who stands in a slightly wider position compared to the others. Similarly, Deep Cover would go on to mean the fielder who stands “deeper” or close to the boundary line.
- Square – Those cricket fielding positions that are carefully chosen at a 90-degree angle to the batsman are known as Square. The common ones include Square Leg and Deep Square Leg. Besides, there are two more – Short Backward Square Leg and Deep Backward Square Leg.
The former would refer to a player who is placed slightly behind the perpendicular line of the batsman on the field. And the fielders at the Deep Backward Square Leg position usually stand in line with those at the Short Backward Square Leg but close to the boundary line.
- Silly Point – This is one of the most popular cricket fielding position names and you may have heard it often on the commentary. Interestingly, the term has been rightly coined so in view of the apparent risk of being hit by a batsman’s rough stroke. Silly Point fielding position is further divided into two – Silly mid-on and Silly Mid-Off.
The first field position falls somewhere midway between the pitch, towards the ‘on’ side. And the latter is placed halfway between both the ends of the pitch, towards the ‘off’ side.
- Mid Fielding Positions – There are 3 main types of these: Mid-Off, Short Mid-Off, and Mid-On. The first one refers to the fielder who is placed nearest to the bowler on the ‘off’ side. In the second position, the player stands relatively in proximity to the batsman. And the third position fielders are again positioned nearest to the bowler either on the leg side or the ‘on’ side of the pitch.
- Mid-Wicket – A Mid-Wicket player is supposed to field standing somewhere in the center of the Mid-On and Square Leg positions. Again, the fielder positioned at Deep Mid-Wicket stands in line with the mid-wicket player but close to the boundary line.
- Long Positions – Long On and Long Off are the two prime positions of relevance here. Long On players are placed in line with those on the Mid-On position, but comparatively closer to the boundaries. Similarly, the Long-Off fielders are in line with those on Mid-Off but near the boundary line.
- Cow Corner – Cow Corner in cricket is another commonly-used term during a match. It basically refers to the player stationed between Long On and Deep Mid-Wicket positions.
Who Decides the Cricket Fielding Positions and How?
In cricket, the prerogative to prepare the fielding strategies is entrusted with the captain of the bowling team. And the captain plans each move carefully taking into account whether they choose defensive or attacking fielding tactics.
He might choose an attacking fielding strategy wherein the batting team is prompted to make mistakes. This can be achieved through some vigorous bowling and positioning fielders very close to the batsman.
However, if the captain feels that the score made by his team in the previous batting attempt can be easily run over, he might choose to get defensive. In this case, he would place his fielders so that they can save a majority of fours and sixes from the batsman’s strokes.
A cricket fielding positions chart can provide a better and clearer picture to a beginner about how each player is stationed on a cricket field during the match. However, the terms detailed above hope to give you a good start into knowing the basics of the game.