The Fielding positions in cricket reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Fielding positions in cricket

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Fielding positions in cricket are named locations on a cricket field where fielders stand. These positions are designed to enable fielders to collect the ball when it is struck by the batsman in such a way as to either limit the number of runs that the batsman scores or get the batsman out by catching the ball or running the batsman out.

Table of contents
1 Diagrams
2 Fielding position names and locations
3 Restrictions on field placement
4 Tactics of field placement
5 Notable Test cricket fielders
6 See also

Diagrams

Fielding positions
The image shows the location of most of the named fielding positions. Since there are only 11 players on a team, one of whom is the
bowler and another the wicket-keeper, at most nine other fielding positions can be used at any given time. Which positions are filled by players and which remain vacant is a tactical decision made by the captain of the fielding team. The captain may move players between fielding positions at any time except when a bowler is in the act of bowling to a batsman.

This image assumes the batsman is right-handed. The area to the left of a right-handed batsman is called the leg side or on side, while that to the right is the off side. If the batsman is left-handed, the leg and off sides are reversed and the fielding positions are a mirror image of those shown.

Fielding position names and locations

There are a number of named basic fielding positions, some of which are employed very commonly and others that are used less often. However, fielding positions are not fixed, and fielders can be placed in positions that differ from the basic positions. Such refinements are described by a system of adjectives which are used to modify the basic fielding positions.

Basic fielding positions

The following infield positions on each side of the field are described in a circular arc, running in sequence from the wicket-keeper around to the bowler. Then outfield positions are described in similar arcs.

Off side positions

Infield
;Slip : A catching position behind the batsman, immediately to the off side of the wicket-keeper. Often there are multiple slips next to each other, designated First slip, Second slip, Third slip, etc, numbered outwards from the wicket-keeper. Together, they are known as the slips.
;Fly slip : A catching position behind the slips, but shorter than third man.
;Gully : A catching position behind the batsman, wider to the off side than the slips.
;Point : On the off side square of the batsman.
;Cover point : Between cover and point.
;Cover : On the off side, square of the middle of the pitch.
;Extra cover : Between cover and mid off.
;Mid off : On the off side, just behind the bowler's end wicket.
Outfield
;Third man : Near the boundary beyond the slips.
;Long off : Near the boundary beyond mid off.

Leg side positions

Infield
;Leg slip : A catching position like a slip, but on the leg side.
;Leg gully : A catching position like a gully, but on the leg side.
;Square leg : On the leg side, square of the batsman.
;Short leg : Very close to batsman, usually just in front of square on the leg side. Also known as bat-pad.
;Midwicket : On the leg side, square of the middle of the pitch.
;Mid on : On the leg side, just behind the bowler's end wicket.
Outfield
;Long leg : Near the boundary beyond leg slip.
;Fine leg : Near the boundary beyond leg gully.
;Long on : Near the boundary beyond mid on.

Other positions

;Wicket-keeper : Stands directly behind the striking batsman's wicket.
;Bowler : After delivering the ball, the bowler must avoid running on the pitch so usually ends up fielding near mid on or mid off, but somewhat closer to the pitch.
;Straight hit : Near the boundary directly behind the bowler.
;Long stop : Behind the wicket-keeper towards the boundary (usually when a wicket-keeper is believed to be inept; almost never seen in professional cricket).
;Sweeper : An alternative name for deep cover, deep extra cover or deep midwicket (that is, near the boundary on the off side or the on side), usually defensive and intended to prevent a four being scored.

Modifiers

;Deep : Further away from the batsman.
;Short : Closer to the batsman.
;Silly : Very close to the batsman.
;Square : Somewhere along an imaginary extension of the popping crease.
;Fine : Closer to an extension of an imaginary line along the middle of the pitch joining the wickets.
;Wide : Further from an extension of an imaginary line along the middle of the pitch joining the wickets.
;Forward : In front of square; further towards the end occupied by the bowler and further away from the end occupied by the batsman on strike.
;Backward : Behind square; further towards the end occupied by the batsman on strike and further away from the end occupied by the bowler.

These modifiers provide names for the full circle of outfield positions, running from directly behind the wicket-keeper:
Long stop, Third man, Deep backward point, Deep point, Deep cover point, Deep cover, Deep extra cover, Long off, Straight hit, Long on, Deep forward midwicket, Deep midwicket, Deep forward square leg, Deep square leg, Deep backward square leg (also known as deep backward square), Forward fine leg, Fine leg, Long leg.

Other common combination names, in the infield:
Backward point, Backward square leg (also known as backward square), Forward short leg, Backward short leg, Silly point, Silly mid off, Silly mid on.

Additionally, commentators or fans discussing the details of field placement will often use descriptive phrases such as "gully is a bit wider than normal" or "mid off is standing too deep, he should come in shorter".

Restrictions on field placement

Fielders may be placed anywhere on the field, subject to the following rules. At the time the ball is bowled: If any of these rules is violated, an umpire will call the delivery a no ball.

The restriction for one-day cricket is designed to prevent the fielding team from setting extremely defensive fields and concentrating solely on preventing the batting team from scoring runs, which many consider leads to boring play.

Tactics of field placement

With only nine fielders (apart from the bowler and wicket-keeper), the captain of the fielding team must decide which fielding positions to cover, and which to leave vacant. The placement of fielders is one of the major tactical considerations for the fielding captain.

Attacking and defending

The main decision for a fielding captain is to strike a balance between setting an attacking field and a defensive field. An attacking field is one in which fielders are positioned in such a way that they are likely take catches, and thus likely to get the batsman out. Such a field generally involves having many fielders close to the batsman, especially behind the batsman in either slip or short leg positions.

A defensive field is one in which most of the field is covered by a fielder; the batsman will therefore find it hard to score large numbers of runs. This generally involves having many fielders far from the batsman and in front of him, in the positions where he is most likely to hit the ball.

Many factors govern the decisions on field placements, including: the tactical situation in the match; which bowler is bowling; how long the batsman has been in; the wear on the ball; the state of the wicket; the light; or even how close you are to an interval in play.

Some general principles: ;Attack new batsmen : A batsman early in his innings is more likely to make a miscalculated or rash shot, so it pays to have catching fielders ready. ;Attack with the new ball : Fast bowlers get the most swing and bounce with a newer ball, factors that make it harder to play without making an error. ;Attack when returning from a break in play : Batsmen must settle into a batting rhythm again when resuming play after an overnight or meal break. ;Attack with quality bowlers : A team's best bowlers take the most wickets, so get the most benefit from the support of an attacking field. ;Attack when the pitch helps the bowler : A moist pitch helps fast bowlers get unpredictable movement of the ball, while a dry, crumbling pitch helps spin bowlers get unpredictable spin. Both situations can lead to catches flying to close attacking fielders. ;Attack when the batting team is under pressure : If the batting team is doing poorly or has low morale, increase the pressure by attacking with the field. ;Defend when batsmen are settled in : It is difficult to get batsmen out when they have been batting for a long time and are comfortable with the bowling. The best tactic is often to defend and force the run scoring rate to slow down, which can frustrate the batsman into playing a rash shot. ;Defend when the batting team needs to score runs quickly : In situations where the batting team must score quickly in order to win or press an advantage, slowing down the rate of scoring runs lessens their chance of doing so. ;Defend when the batting team is scoring quickly : If the batsmen are managing to score runs quickly, it is unlikely they are offering many chances to get them out, so reduce the run scoring rate. ;Defend when the ball and pitch offer no help to the bowlers : If there is no movement of the ball and the batsmen can hit it comfortably every time, there is little point in having lots of close catching fielders. ;Defend when using weak bowlers : If a relatively poor bowler must bowl for any reason, the best tactic is often to limit the potential damage by containing the free scoring of runs.

Off and leg side fields

Another consideration when setting a field is how many fielders to have on each side of the pitch. With nine fielders to place, the division must necessarily be unequal, but the degree of inequality varies.

When describing a field setting, the numbers of fielders on the off side and leg side are often abbreviated into a shortened form, with the off side number quoted first. For example, a 5-4 field means 5 fielders on the off side and 4 on the leg side.

Usually, most fielders are placed on the off side. This is because most bowlers tend to concentrate the line of their deliveries on or outside the off stump, so most shots are hit into the off side.

When attacking, there may be 3 or 4 slips and 1 or 2 gullies, potentially using up to six fielders in that region alone. This would typically be accompanied by a mid off, mid on, and fine leg, making it a 7-2 field. Although there are only two fielders on the leg side, they should get relatively little work as long as the bowlers maintain a line outside off stump.

As fields get progressively more defensive, fielders will move out of the slip and gully area to cover more of the field, leading to 6-3 and 5-4 fields.

If a bowler, usually a leg spin bowler, decides to attack the batsman's legs in an attempt to force a stumping, bowl him behind his legs, or induce a catch on the leg side, the field may stack 4-5 towards the leg side. It is unusual to see more than 5 fielders on the leg side, because of the restriction that there must be no more than two fielders placed behind square leg.

Another attacking placement on the leg side is the leg side trap, which involves placing fielders near the boundary at deep square and backward square leg and bowling bouncers to try to induce the batsman to hook the ball into the air.

Notable Test cricket fielders

A number of Test cricketers have displayed the highest level of fielding skills, including:

See also