The positioning of fielders in a cricket match is of paramount importance, as strategic placements by the captain can substantially sway the final result. There are many cricket fielding positions and they are characterized by their distinctive names.
This guide is designed to comprehensively cover all cricket fielding positions and their respective value to the team in the field.
Cricket 101: An All-Inclusive List of Fielding Positions
This is a detailed roster of fielding positions prevalent in the modern version of cricket:
- Wicket Keeper
- Leg Slip
- Short Leg
- Fly Slip
- Leg Gully
- Cover Point
- Extra Cover
- Mid Off
- Mid On
- Mid Wicket
- Square Leg
- Backward Square
- Long Stop
- Cow Corner
- Fine Leg
- Long Leg
- Third Man
- Long Off
- Long On
This arrangement starts with positions closest to the batsman and moves progressively further away, ending with positions that are typically at the boundary.
Explanation of the Cricket Playing Field
The cricket field, typically oval-shaped, is bisected into two halves – the off side and the leg side. Throughout the game, there are 11 fielders, two batsmen, and two umpires present on the field.
Fundamentals of Cricket Field Setup
The basic configuration comprises four fixed player positions and two on-field umpires. The placement of the remaining nine fielders is at the discretion of the team captain, based on the ongoing match conditions.
At any given time during the match, only two members of the fielding side occupy fixed positions. One is the bowler, who hurls the ball from one end of the pitch, and the other is the wicketkeeper, positioned behind the stumps at the opposite end.
The two batsmen are stationed at opposite ends of the wicket. The striking batsman stands ready to receive the ball, while the non-striking partner awaits at the other end to complete runs and take the strike when necessary. The two umpires stand at the bowler’s end and square leg, respectively.
The pivotal task of setting the field ultimately falls on the captain’s shoulders. While the bowler’s input is considered, the final decision lies with the captain. The captain has the freedom to stand anywhere on the field but usually stays as near as possible to the bowler for easier communication.
Understanding the Off Side and Leg Side in Cricket
The cricket field is divided into two sections known as the leg side (or the on side) and the off side. Each fielding position is classified based on its location in these areas, with examples such as leg gully and mid off. The team captain possesses the liberty to position the fielders as they deem fit, albeit one firm rule – there can be no more than two fielders behind the wicket on the leg side.
Navigating the Cricket Field: An In-Depth Look at Fielding Positions
- Slip: Slips are positioned adjacent to the wicket keeper on the off side, usually arranged in a semi-circular shape.
- Leg Slip: This is a position closer to the wicket keeper but on the leg side, contrary to a regular slip.
- Fly Slip: This refers to a slip positioned further from the wicket, typically in a ‘mid’ location.
- Gully: A gully is situated close to the slips, just rearward of the wicket’s line on the off side.
- Leg Gully: This is a catching position on the leg side, analogous to a gully but on the opposite side.
- Short Leg: This is a near catching position, slightly ahead of square on the leg side.
- Point: A point fielder is positioned perpendicular to the wicket on the off side.
- Cover Point: This position is specifically located between point and cover.
- Cover: This position is on the off side, located between point and mid off.
- Extra Cover: This is a position on the off side, situated between Cover and mid off.
- Mid Off: This is a relatively direct position, near to the bowler on the off side.
- Mid On: This position is straight and proximate to the bowler but on the leg side.
- Mid Wicket: This is a position midway between the bowler and wicket keeper on the leg side.
- Square Leg: This position is at a right angle to the wicket on the leg side.
- Backward Square: This position is just behind the square position on the leg side.
- Fine Leg: This position is at a 45-degree angle from the square leg position to the wicket keeper on the leg side.
- Third Man: A third man can be either deep or short. They are situated behind the wicket on the off side.
- Sweeper: This is a contemporary position, typically a point fielder stationed near the boundary.
- Long Stop: Long stop is a retired position, situated directly behind the wicket keeper on the boundary.
- Deep Mid Wicket: Also known as Cow Corner, this position is on the boundary on the leg side.
- Long Leg: Similar to fine leg, the long leg position is on the boundary.
- Long Off: This position is akin to Mid Off but situated on the boundary.
- Long On: This position is akin to Mid On but situated on the boundary.