World Cup has rules, so does Indian street cricket

If you thought street cricket needs just a bat, ball and some space to play, you are mistaken. In between the arguments, shattered window pains and glares from the elders in the neighbourhood are 40 sacrosanct rules of the game.

Children play gully cricket in the streets of Nagpur. (File photo)   -  Getty Images

Cricket has rules, and Indians cramped for playing space have their own.

As Team India takes on Pakistan in Manchester in one of the most anticipated World Cup clashes this time around, let's revisit the game's basics - the ones we knew best as children. Here's a look at the rules that govern street cricket, gully cricket, backyard cricket, and many other variants.

These rules exist to be followed at convenience and flouted at will.

They also are the source of heated arguments, outright lies, compromises, and, at times, games being called off. These rules also light up childhoods spent playing cricket in the unlikeliest of places, creating memories of broken window panes and flower pots, shattered taillights, and screaming neighbours. 

READ | Top 10 World Cup controversies, shockers and moments of aberration

Here is a list of rules that should jog the memory.    

1. Win toss, bat first. Only a very brave captain will decide otherwise.   

2. Lose toss, argue. Whine to make it best of three tosses.

3. First ball is the trial ball. Always!

4. If you choose to have an umpire, it has to be from the batting side. Always.

5. In case of a controversial decision, the umpire is mandated to swear on his studies and his loved ones to prove his integrity.


Street cricket is an integral part of communities in Indian cities, towns and villages.   -  Getty Images


6. If there aren't enough players, the batting side will provide a wicketkeeper. Be prepared for war if the wicketkeeper drops a catch or misses a stumping.  

7. Baby over: player gets to bowl three balls. A large-hearted gesture to make a so-called weak player feel involved in the game. 

8. If a ball strikes you thrice on the body. Out! Surprised?   

9. Bat touch, 1 run. Blame cramped real estate for this one. 

10. Lollipop ball. A very slow delivery, could be underarm too, to the youngest one in the game.  

11. An over is cancelled if three successive wides are bowled.

READ | Top 10 fielding moments from the World Cup

12. Chucking spin allowed, not pace. Obvious!

13. Crease is bat length plus half the handle length.

14. Don't guard the wicket when batting. 

15. LBW. What? Are you nuts?

16. Only spin bowling allowed when it gets dark. 

17. Match referee is whichever uncle is watching the game. Props if he's your brother or uncle!

18. Last wicket batting. So, the last batsman standing gets to play after running out of partners. Usually, this is decided in advance. However, it can also be sprung on the bowling side when the batting side is in trouble.


19. You hit the ball out of the playing arena, you get it. Go fetch!

20. You lose the ball, you get a new one.

21. You hit the ball into the drain/sewer, get it out. Go fetch!

22. Slipper/ bricks used as stumps.



Rule #22 Slipper/ bricks used as stumps. Old firework wrapping works too.   -  Getty Images

23. "Won't happen again, promise" - the stock promise for the neighbourhood aunt or uncle who hates you all. Their best side emerges when the ball lands on their premises. 

24. Supersub: when a player leaves because mom is screaming or dad is fuming, someone steps in. 

25. Common player, aka, kacha limbu and joker. This one plays for both sides. This card is pulled out when there aren't enough players around.   

26. My bat, my kit, my rules. This is that one influential player who stops the game when dismissed or an appeal is turned down. 

27. Bat owner is the emperor of all realms.  

28. No runs behind the wicket. This is used when there aren't enough players.   

29. One tip, one hand, OUT! 

30. If you bat first, you will not bowl first.

READ | World Cup, 11 editions: How host countries fared

31. Didn't get chance to bat? You don't have to field.  

32. Extra fielders around the bike/car and house of neighbour who gives most grief.  

33. Run out. Fight on. DRS, anyone?


Disputes? DRS?   -  Getty Images


34. Runs can be scored only on the offside. This is used in the absence of enough players. This is also dictated by the size and shape of playing arena.

35. Painted bats. Overheard, this is done these days for the gram/social media. 

36. Winners bat first in the next game.  

37. Direct hit on wall: 6 or 4 or 2-declare or 1-declare, as decided before the game.  

38. Ball goes out (over a wall, beyond the play area), you're OUT!

39. Ball goes out after contact with boundary wall or building, NOT OUT!

40. Whoever leaves a game midway will not play the next day. This one is rarely enforced though.

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