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Fielding positions in cricket

Do you get confused when listening to the commentary? Are you a cricket enthusiast but not familiar with the terms commentators used to define the fielding positions in cricket? So you are in the right place.

Let us begin our journey to learn fielders and fielding positions in cricket in detail!

Before you get a clear idea about different fielding positions, let’s understand the field first.

Fielders and fielding positions in cricket in detail:

The cricket field is majorly divided into three parts; close catching in-field, inner ring, outfield.

Here is a detailed description of all three parts:

Close catching in-field:

Every fielder in this area is 15 yards is close or away from the batsmen. This area is nearest to the batsmen. Still, confused? Now, look at the diagram, notice the smallest circle, and read the fielding positions on this small circle; these are all fielding positions that are counted in close catching in-field.

Inner ring:

This area is almost 30 yards away from the batsmen. The fielders in this area are supposed to focus on the batters scoring singles and target them if crossing double or more runs. The fielders are supposed to be attentive and should not let the ball reach the boundary. Not getting the point, now look at the circle in the middle. All fielding positions mentioned there are included in the inner ring area.

Outfield:

The ground’s biggest circle represents it, and all mentioned fielding positions are supposed to be in the outfield. The fielders standing there are supposed to stop the flat or high boundaries if the ball comes near.

It is also necessary to know the difference between on and offside. The side that a batsman faces while batting is his offside, while the other side is his leg-side.

Let us read the exact positions now:

The close catching infield:

Wicket-keeper:

This is one of the necessary positions for every cricket team. The wicket-keeper stands behind the batsman on the crease and is responsible for catching the ball if the batsman edges, misses the ball. The distance between the batsman and wicket-keeper differs according to the speed of bowling.

For example, if a paceman bowls, the wk is supposed to stay 20 meters away from him, and if a spinner bowls, then the wk will be just behind the stumps as the bounce varies in spin and fast bowling.

Wk is also responsible for catching a ball if any player throws towards the stumps. Also, his responsibility is to stump the player if he leaves the crease. They are advised to wear gloves and helmets when close to the stumps, but it depends on their choice either to wear them or not.

Slips:

Fielders and fielding positions in cricket in detail

This position is closer to wk. There are four slips; 1st slip, 2nd slip, 3rd slip, 4th slip. However, not all slip positions are to be fulfilled at the same time. It depends upon where the wicket-keeping is standing. If the fast bowler is bowling, the captain might fulfill three slip positions in swing deliveries.

The fielders place themselves diagonally like / or \. The side varies accordingly to left or right-handed batsman. The bowl quickly and very rarely comes to the slips. Hence, the fielders at this spot are required to be attentive, or it can cause a wicket to the bowler. The captain may choose to eliminate slip fielders if the batsman gets dominant over bowlers. Not more than one fielder is seen at this position if a spinner is bowling.

Gully:

The Gully fielder stands in an extension with the slip fielders. The fielder at this position creates a diagonal with slip fielders creating a different gap in different cases.

Captain chooses a gully fielder when; the ball swings at the beginning of the match, the wicket falls, and another batsman comes on the crease; on a slow pitch, the captain feels like that the bowl will travel in the direction of the gully and if a batsman has a history to get out in this region.

Leg slip:

This is located behind the wicket on the batsman’s leg side and is mainly the opposite of the slip position. You will rarely notice any fielder in this position. The team chooses not to place any fielder there. It is mainly a catching position, and not many batsmen get out there. The maximum numbers of fielders that are allowed behind the square on the leg side are two. No team is poor enough in decision-making to use these two fielders at gully. Why not place one at the boundary?

Skippers make such choices to use leg slip fielder to see the batsman getting slow at glance shots into the leg sides. As a consequence of the slow shot, the ball will fly towards the leg slip fielder, and the catch can be taken. The position usually is used when the spinners are bowling to turn the bowl towards the leg side.

Watch the video (the fielder taking the catch of Ian is the one standing on leg slip)

Leg Gully:

It is somewhat similar to the leg slip spot but is stationed slightly wider on the leg side. The two positions, leg slip, and leg gully, have similar uses. It is the best position to dismiss a player playing a sweep shot. The short-pitched balls are usually referred towards the leg gully fielders.

Silly point:

This point is very close to the batsman, just 1 meter away. The fielders standing there should not step up on the pitch when the batsman is up for the running in between the wickets. It is considered as one of the important positions when spin bowlers deliver during ODIs and Tests.

It is an aggressive choice of the leader who focuses on taking the wickets and pressuring the batsman. The spin bowling attack can misguide the batsmen, and they could edge the ball on their pad, and the ball can move in the air to the silly point. A defensive shot played on the spin can also probe the ball to a silly spot.

Silly mid-off:

This position is also close to the batsman on the offside of the field. In case if a player plays at the wrong time or stroke play. The fielder in this position is much straighter than the silly fielder.

Here are the silly positions explained:

Short-leg:

It is very similar to the silly position, and the only thing that differs is that the short-leg is pointed on the leg side of a batsman. Like silly, it is also an effective position in case if a batsman mistimes or edges the ball on spin deliveries. This fielding position is also used widely when the fast bowlers are operating as many batsmen cannot play the short-pitched balls. Consequently, the ball will bounce and strike the gloves; it can turn in the leg’s direction.

Silly mid-on:

It is just the opposite of silly mid-off and is located on the leg-side. It is straighter than the short-leg and is the last position near the batsmen on the pitch. It has the same uses as the short leg, silly mid-on, and silly mid-off.

The inner ring:

Point:

This position is square of the wicket on the on-side of the batsman. The distance between the point fielder and the batsman on the crease depends on the bowling pace. If a pro fast bowler is delivering, there should be a wide gap, and if a spinner or a slow bowler is fielding, then the gap should be lesser.

The bowlers try to target the batsman’s off stumps, so if he plays any attacking shot, the bowl will directly come to the point fielder. Such fielders are supposed to cover a wider area of the ground as they are required to run or dive and put pressure on the batsman running for singles throwing the ball in point’s direction. Many best catches in the history of cricket have been taken at this place.

Backward point:

It is almost similar to the point position but is slightly behind the wicket’s square on the offside. A captain may choose to place a fielder on the backward point rather than a point if a fast bowler delivers occurs more bounce, pace on the pitch. Consequently, the batsman will hit cut shots behind the square. Catch out can be the criteria for the fielding side.

Mid-off:

The mid-off fielder is placed a little wider than being placed straight on the offside. Such a fielders’ role is to stop the boundaries that a batsman plays towards long-off. The mid-off fielders are placed in such a spot to stop the batsmen if the batsman hits towards them. Notably, many shots drive through this area, so it the skippers’ duty to place fielders competent for the spot.

The fielders are required for quick movements as if any shot comes straight down the ground, between themselves and the cover field. The mentioned position needs a lot of diving. Captains often shift themselves to mid-off to be easily in conversation with the bowlers.

Cover:

A notable number of shots get in this area; hence, it is important to give at the cover. It is placed in front of the square on the offside, and the fielder stands on the edge of the inner field circle.

They are lying in mid of point and extra cover. The bowlers misguide the batmen to the drive to edge towards the slips. If played at speed, the ball can quickly pass through the covers. The bowling side might look for many run-out opportunities via fielders in this position.  Also, it requires a lot of diving like mid-off to stop the boundaries.

A few captains leave this position vacant, so the batsmen seeing the empty covers, will try to hit the ball hard. It can be risky and can pay off the fielding side as the bowl can come across the slips and be edged to the wk.

Extra cover:

Being somewhat similar to the cover, it only differs as the fielders must be placed a bit straighter. It is the captain’s choice to place the fielder either on the cover, extra cover, or both. For this, the skipper first needs to determine the pitch and game conditions. As the wide number of shots cover this area, placing the fielders can benefit the bowling side.

The fielders in this position are required for the same job as of covers.

Mid-on:

Mid-on is a similar position to mid-off, but it is placed on the leg-side of the field. The fielders at this spot do what a fielder is doing on mid-off. Covering the gap between themselves and the wickets, they must stop the drives on the leg-side. Like mid-off, captains can usually place themselves there to be in touch with the bowler.

Square leg:

On the leg-side of the field, a fielder is located on the square of the wicket. The fielder at this spot is very close to the square-leg umpire (an umpire who is not at the bowler’s end of the pitch).

The square leg fielders have many roles. Having a huge gap between them and the mid-wicket fielder, they are supposed to be quick to avoid singles if a batsman knocks the ball in this direction. Fast bowlers get help if a batsman plays hook or pull shot at square-leg, and spinners are benefitted if a batsman plays a sweep shot.

The bowl at the square-leg fielder can come at different speeds, and the fielder should be ready and should know what step should he take next to avoid any risk.

Backward square leg:

This position is just behind the square on the leg-side of the field. The fielders in these positions are identical to the square-leg position except that it is a few meters behind the batsman. As the fielders of the square leg do their job, similar is the job for the fielders placed at backward square leg.

Mid-wicket:

The position is placed in front of the square on the leg-side. The mid-wicket fielder is supposed to stand roughly on the edge of the inner circle. Many power shots are played in this area; hence, a mid-wicket fielder should be covering this space between square leg and mid-on.

The fielder can benefit his team as many shots come in this area so that many catches can be taken. The batsman can be pressurized while hitting singles as the fielder is supposed to run if a batsman cut off the boundary shots seeing no fielder deep behind him.

Read:

List of IPL winners since 2008

Fine leg:

This position is behind square on the leg-side of the field. Any fielder at the spot is required to be on a 45-degree angle to the batsman on the crease, placing himself at the edge of the inner circle. Short fine leg or fine leg fielder usually stops the batsman who plays sweep shot to a spinner or if he tucks the ball off their hip behind square on the leg-side of the field during fast bowlers’ deliveries.

You will not see any fielder at this point, but if a batsman plays any of the abovementioned shots, a fielder can quickly move into this position.

Fly slip:

Fly slip is placed on the offside that is a little deeper than the normal slip region. The fly slip fielder will be as deep as the edge of the inner circle. The batsmen are usually noted as glancing through fly slips during the absence of the normal slips. IThe defensive approach is used as an alternate for the slips being placed a bit deeper, giving more chances to avoid singles and boundaries.

Notably, slips and fly slips cannot be used at once. To get off strike, many batsmen usually adore playing in this area. Hence, to avoid boundaries or piles of runs, the fielders need to be active in the area.

The outfield:

Third man:

It is a position that lies behind a square on the offside of the field on the boundary. The position must be in line with the slip fielders. In case there are no-slip fielders, the third man is used widely. This position is often seen in white-ball cricket, where slips are not used.

Deep point:

The position is exactly the square of the wicket on the offside of the boundary. Not many catches are part of this area as it is more of a defensive position. Hence, a fielder should look forward to avoiding square-cut shots for 4.

Deep backward point:

Just like a deep point, it is located on the boundary but is behind the square on the offside. A captain might select a deep backward point instead of a deep point if space in the pitch or the batsman plays late. Just like deep point fielders, deep backward point fielders are used to avoid cut shots played for 4. This is one of the best Fielding positions in cricket

Deep cover:

It lies on the boundary in front of the square on the offside of the wicket. The deep cover is a defensive position if the batsmen are striking the ball through covers.

Deep extra cover:

There is a minor gap between the deep extra cover and the deep cover fielders. Its role is very similar to the deep cover fielder as it tends to avoid cover drives going for boundaries. Sprinting is needed in both; deep cover and deep extra cover. A batsman usually uses such Fielding positions in cricket.

Long off:

Long-off is widely straight on the offside of the field. Located on the boundary edge, the position is used greatly as the batsmen usually hit shots in this area. Straight and full-pitches bowls are at high chances to fly at this position after being hit by the batsmen.

The fielder’s job is to protect cut shots and take catches. The role of the boundary fielders is the same anyhow.

Deep fine leg:

The deep fine leg fielder is placed on the boundary behind the square on the legside. The position is widely used for placing the boundary fielders as the batsmen often target this area when the bowlers stray down the leg side with their deliveries to score runs. Commentators usually call fine leg during their commentary to describe this spot.

Long leg:

It is another position behind the square leg but is slightly squarer than the deep fine leg. The fielders in this position must fill the gap between the deep fine leg and deep square leg standing at 60-degree to batsmen.

Deep square leg:

The wicket Square on the legside is where the fielder stays on the boundary, knowing to be at the deep square leg. Usually, the hooks and pull shots come here; hence, the fielder’s job is to stop any boundary.

A few captains will choose to put a fielder out at deep square to bluff the batsmen misguiding him to receive a short-ball from the bowler. After misguiding, a yorker or another difficult delivery will come, and the bowl will be moving to the deep square leg with high chances of grabbing the batsmen’s wickets.

Deep-mid wickets:

Located on the legside of the field, it is another important boundary position for the fielders. It is slightly in front of the square, and the batsmen try to hit aggressive shots in this area. At the end of the innings, the fielding side should place the fielder to avoid high smashing. Consequently, many catches come in this way.

Cow corner:

It is another boundary position located in front of the square on the legside. The fielder here is required to be a bit straight than a deep mid-wicket fielder. The captain might use deep mid-wicket or cow corner or both. The duties for every boundary fielder are almost similar.

Long on:

It is the last fielding position staged at the boundary on the leg side of the wicket. Such fielders are often considered run-saving factors for their side as they are required to cover a wide area of the field into the leg side and cutting of the shots hit at the boundaries. They may be subjected to save the place directly down the ground.

When the fielding captain chooses to place its fielders on long-on or long-off, the batsmen only remain with a strategy to hit straight, making singles. Hence, it is an effective strategy to avoid boundaries.

 

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