Cricket is a popular global sport that originated in Great Britain. It is most popular in that country, as well as countries in which Britain once had a colonial presence. While cricket is played and enjoyed throughout the world, its rules and regulations can be confounding to anyone without experience in the sport. One area of cricket that frequently is misunderstood is the field and its parts. Learning about this aspect of the game is an excellent place to start.
General Shape - A cricket field is shaped like a large ellipse, usually 120 to 200 meters (393 to 653 feet) across. There is no absolutely fixed size for a cricket field, and different fields may have slightly different measurements. However, the field's surface is almost always made up of flat grass, and has a fence, rope, or some other sort of marker delineating its border. It is split into four rough quadrants, as well as a central portion called the pitch.
The Pitch - The pitch is the most important part of the cricket field. It is shaped like a long, thin rectangle and its surface is usually made up of closely mown and packed grass over hard-packed earth. The pitch is located in the center of the field, usually aligned with the longer axis of the field's ellipse. It usually measures 20 meters by 3 meters (65 by 10 feet).
Creases and Wickets - A series of lines and markers delineate the different parts of the pitch. They are called creases. Each shorter end of the pitch has one bowling crease, one popping crease, and two return creases. They are marked on the pitch in white. The bowling creases sit about 1.22 m (4 feet) from the shorter ends of the pitch, and are 2.64 m (8.6 feet) long. The two bowling creases should be 20.12 m (66 feet) away from one another. The popping crease is situated an 1.22 m (4 feet) inward from the bowling creases, and runs parallel to them, except that the popping creases run the entire length of the pitch, usually 3.66 m (12 feet). The two return creases run from the popping crease and intersect perpendicularly with the top and bottom ends of the bowling crease, respectively. They run the the far end of the pitch, measuring about 2.44 m (8 feet).Three wickets stand at two locations within the pitch. They stand at the center of each of the bowling creases.
Four Quadrants - When a batsman is batting, the cricket field is split into four quadrants. However, these quadrants are not actually marked on the field, but are just used as general reference points. The part of the field in front of him is the off-side, the part behind him is called the leg side or the on side. The half of the field in front of his wicket is called forward of square, and the part of the field behind his wicket is called behind square or backward of square.