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Fair and unfair play

Umpire David Shepherd warns Australia's Brett Lee in 2005
Stay on the right side of the law with our etiquette guide

Cricket has always been seen as the gentleman's game - and that means there are certain traditions which must be respected.

Footballers may be allowed to argue with the ref, but in cricket respect for the officials - and your opponents - is considered hugely important.

Make sure you stay in the umpire's good books with our guide to cricket etiquette.


Sadly this is a tradition that has gone out of the game at the highest level.

But there'll be times when you know you've got an edge through to the wicketkeeper that the umpire's missed.

But whether you own up and walk is your decision.


Some bowlers have a tendency to prolong their appeals longer than is necessary in an attempt to pressurise the umpire to give the decision in their favour.

However this practice is frowned upon in the game and can now be punishable by fines and suspensions in the first-class and Test arenas.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) both have disciplinary panels which decide whether a player is guilty of an offence after they have been reported by the umpires.


Once a decision has been made, there's no turning back. So that means no arguing with the umpire, even though you're adamant the batsman is out.

You'll soon find some decisions go your way and others against - it's what makes the game so interesting.


Whatever level you play at, it's good to clap the new batsman making their way to the wicket.


Polishing, drying or removing mud from the ball is fine - using any sort of artificial substance is not.

If any player is caught tampering with the seam or surface of the ball, they're in big trouble with the umpires.


As a fielder you can't distract or obstruct a batsman on purpose.

If this happens a dead ball will be called by the umpire and five penalty runs will be added to the batting side's total.


If a bowler keeps bowling short-pitched or high full-pitched balls which could injure the batsman, then these deliveries will be called a no-ball by the umpire.

They'll also be warned for dangerous bowling by the umpire.

If the bowler still keeps bowling dangerously, then they'll receive a final warning.

If the tactics are still not changed then the umpire can order the captain of the fielding side to take the bowler off.

The bowler will then not be able to bowl again for the rest of the innings.


If any player tries to waste time the umpire should give a first and final warning to the whole team.

If they do it again during the innings then the opposition will be awarded five runs.


All players are responsible for making sure the pitch is not damaged during play.

Bowlers must stay off "the protected area" of the pitch.

If a fielder damages the pitch then a caution will be issued to the fielding captain.

Any repeat action from any fielder during the innings and the umpire will add five runs to the batting side's total.

A batsman who damages the pitch will be cautioned by the umpire.

If they do it a second time in the same innings, they'll get a final warning and any runs scored from that delivery, other than no balls or wides, will be disallowed.

Any more damage from the batting team and the umpire will disallow the runs scored off that ball and award five penalty runs to the fielding side.


Batsmen are not allowed to try and steal a run during the bowler's run-up, unless the bowler has made an effort to run out either batsman.

Any attempt made to steal a run will see five penalty runs awarded to the fielding side.

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