5 Most Confusing Rules in Cricket

The gentlemen’s game has its own charm and class that makes it different from other sports. It’s one of the longest-running sports and has three forms (Tests, ODIs, and T20Is). It can last up to 5 days and still can end in a draw. And there are many more things that differentiate the game we love from other sports, including the way it’s played. 

Cricket, like any other sport, has its own set of rules and regulations and some of the rules are very weird and confusing even for the die-hard cricket fans.

And today we are going to talk about 5 such confusing rules of cricket that can leave anyone thinking.

5. No Fixed Shape and Size of the Grounds

This rule, basically, is not a rule. In cricket, unlike other sports, there are no fixed dimensions for the shape and size of the ground. Games like Football, Tennis, Basketball, etc have a fixed shape and size of the grounds or playing area. But in cricket, it’s not fixed. The dimensions of the pitch is fixed, i.e 22 yards/20.12 m in length and 10ft/3.05 m in width.

But the dimensions of the ground/boundary are not fixed. That’s why we have different and quite irregular shapes and sizes of grounds in cricket around the world, some being a perfect circle or some being oval or some with large square boundaries, etc. 

According to clause 19.1.3 of ICC Test Match Playing Conditions 1st September  2019, The aim shall be to maximize the size of the playing area at each venue. With respect to the size of the boundaries, no boundary shall be longer than 90 yards (82.29 meters), and no boundary should be shorter than 65 yards (59.43 meters) from the center of the pitch to be used. 

The perfect example is from the 2019 Cricket World Cup held in England. Here is the shape and sizes of all the grounds:

Here you can see how irregular and different the cricket grounds are.

So, there are no fixed shapes and sizes of the grounds in Cricket and it’s somewhat confusing too, seeing that some grounds are very big like the MCG and some are very small like in New Zealand or the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.

4. Umpire’s Call

The umpire’s call was introduced in 2016 as a part of the DRS to encourage umpires to make decisions and give them the benefit of the doubt in case of close marginal calls in Leg Before Wicket decisions. 

According to this, To overturn the on-field Umpire’s decision, there needs to be evidence that 50% of the ball is not in line with the umpire’s decision.

For example, If the umpire has given NOT OUT and the fielding team reviews the decision then 50% of the ball should be hitting the stumps to overturn the decision and vice-versa.

But it’s confusing as the Leg Before Wicket rule says that the batter is out when the ball hits him/her on the pad when pitched outside the off stump and the impact is in line of the stumps, but with this, the batter will Not Out even if the ball is hitting the stumps (<50%). 

This does encourage the on-field umpires to make decisions but is also confusing and irrelevant at times. Either it’s Out or Not Out, there shouldn’t be anything in between. 

3. Out or Not, One Must Appeal

This is another weird and confusing rule of cricket. Out or Not Out the fielding side must appeal for the umpire to give the batsman out.

Under clause 31.1 of  ICC Test Match Playing Condition 1st September 2019, it says that” Neither umpire shall give a batsman out, even though he may be out under these Playing Conditions unless appealed to by a fielder. This shall not debar a batsman who is out under these Playing Conditions from leaving the wicket without an appeal having been made.”

So it doesn’t matter how clear the edge is or how plumb the delivery is, the fielding side must appeal for the umpire to adjudge the batsman ou and this makes it very confusing as some dismissals are very obvious but the umpire can’t give it out unless the fielding side appeals.

2. The Cap Rule

The catch is not legal if the ball touches the fielder’s cap before landing in the palms. Anything apart from the hands, even the jersey or any other equipment is considered as the ground.

It is understandable that it’s not out if the ball has touched any equipment before it’s caught by the fielder but it’s quite confusing that it’s not out even when the ball has touched the cap or even the jersey before it’s caught. 

As the cap or the jersey, especially, won’t make any difference before catching the ball. So it’s quite a weird and confusing rule of the gentlemen’s game.

1. Duckworth-Lewis(D/L) Method

Named after it’s founders, “Frank Duckworth” and “Tony Lewis”, the Duckworth-Lewis method is used for resetting targets for chasing teams in case of weather or any kind of interruption. 

It has to be the most confusing rule in Cricket due to its complications and complexity to understand.

One can simply understand it’s working as It converts the number of overs remaining and the number of wickets lost into a “resources remaining” figure and as the overs are completed or the wicket falls the “resources remaining” falls.

In the past, there have been few instances of the D/L method that confused everyone in the Cricket fraternity. 

One such instance is the first T20I between India and Australia in 2018-19 India’s tour of Australia. Australia were 153/3 after 16.1 overs when rain interrupted the game. Match was reduced to 17 overs each side and Australia finished on 158/4. India were given a target of 173 runs in 17 overs. India eventually scored 169/7 in their 17 overs and lost the match by 4 runs even when they had scored 11 more runs from the Aussies.

Here’s the scorecard of the game: https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18693/scorecard/1144990/australia-vs-india-1st-t20i-india-in-aus-2018-19

From the ground dimensions to D/L method, these were the 5 most confusing rules of cricket that can make anyone scratch their head.

Hope you guys enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

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