Whenever cricket is talked about fielding positions form an integral part of the discussion. The placement of fielders & their performances plays an integral role in deciding the fate of any cricket fixture. In cricket, a Captain decides on Fielding positions & thus it becomes important for him to place his players aptly on the field.
People often get overwhelmed after hearing the technical terminologies used to address fielding positions. So a clear understanding of different fielding positions will help you to enjoy cricket a little more.
However, before getting an in-depth knowledge of different fielding positions let’s get an overview of the cricket field on the basis of which fielding positions are classified:
Basics of Cricket Field in Terms of Fielding Positions:
- The Close Catching Infield: This area is closest to the batters. Fielders in this area will be 15 yards closer to the batters. Players who are quick enough to take instant catches are placed in this area. Here the focus is to take quick catches instead of saving runs. For the unversed Legendary player, Sir Garfield Sobers was a close-catching infield specialist fielder.
- The Inner Ring: This area contains fielders who are almost 30 yards away from the batters. This area contains players who aim of stopping the batters from taking single runs. The best inner ring specialist fielder is former South African Cricketer Jhonty Rhodes.
- The Outfield: This area comprises all the other areas until the boundary on all sides of the wicket. Fielders who are placed in the outfield have the primary goal of stopping the batters from smashing a boundary or a maximum. The fielders placed in the outfield perform the rigorous task of running great distances to stop the ball from crossing the ropes.
Different Cricket Fielding Positions| Best Cricket Fielding Positions Explained:
As per the rule of cricket, 11 players of the bowling team are allowed on the field at different fielding positions. Apart from wicketkeeper & bowler, nine fielding positions are occupied by the players on the field. So let’s have a look at the different cricket fielding positions:
There is only one wicketkeeper in the Playing XI & his position is integral in cricket fielding positions. A wicketkeeper is placed behind the stumps at the batting end of the pitch. A wicketkeeper changes position as per the nature of the delivery. He stands near the stumps for a spinner while taking a few steps backward when faces a pace delivery.
2) Slips Cricket Fielding Position:
A Slip fielding position is next to the wicket-keeper. In slips four players are placed diagonally in line with the wicket-keeper, depending on the direction in which the bowler decides to bowl, whether he is bowling on the off-side or the leg side of the batter. There are four types of slip cricket fielding positions & they are first slip, second slip, third & fourth slip.
The third-man fielder stands a little bit finer than a 45-degree angle to the batter in line with the slip fielders. They are placed at the boundary line behind the square on the off-side position.
4) Gully Cricket Fielding Position:
Gully is one of the important fielding positions in the game of cricket. In the gully position, a fielder is placed diagonally in line with the slip fielder in a 30-yard circle.
A point fielder is placed to the right of the gully fielder. He basically stands square to the batter’s position & will come close or go far from the batter as per the delivery bowled. As it is a catching fielding position the role of a point fielder is given to the most proactive player of the team.
When cricket fielding positions are talked about, cover surely becomes a part of the list. This is an attacking fielding position where the fielder stands to the right of the Point fielder on the edge of the inner circle.
The mid-off fielder stands to the right of the cover fielder. A player in this position aims at stopping the drive shots toward the long-off boundary. A quick & aggressive player is chosen for this fielding position.
In the long-off fielding position, a fielder is placed near the boundary ropes behind the mid-off position. Mostly Virat Kohli is entrusted with this role. Here the fielder dismisses batters who play aerial shots on spin deliveries or slow full-length deliveries by pacers.
9) Long On Cricket Fielding Position:
The long-on fielding position is similar to the long-off position. But here the fielder is placed on the leg side of the batter. This fielding position is used to save boundaries & maximums when fast bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar & Dale Steyn bowl their overs.
The mid-wicket is regarded as one of the integral fielding positions in cricket. The player here is placed on the boundary at the leg side to prevent the batters from hitting huge shots. It is a catching fielding position that is at an angle of 135 degrees from the batting crease.
The mid-on fielding position is no different from the mid-off position. But here the player is present on the leg side of the field.
12) Cow Corner:
In this position, a fielder is placed a little bit straighter to the deep mid-wicket. The fielder here pushes himself forward to take some mind-blowing catches. A captain can keep either cow corner or deep mid-wicket position or go with both positions depending on the bowler’s delivery.
13) Square leg Cricket Fielding Position:
The square leg is one of the most widely used cricket fielding positions. This position is present at an angle of 180 degrees from the batter opposite to the point fielder. The player here stands behind the side umpire & is always ready to stop any fierce shot directed toward him.
In fine leg fielding position, a player is placed behind the square leg on the leg side of the batter at less than a 45-degree angle to the batter. The fielder in this position aims to stop inside edge shots that go straight away to the boundaries. Glenn McGrath and Muttiah Muralitharan are some of the most successful fine-leg fielders in World Cricket.
15) Silly Point:
In the Silly Point fielding position, the player is placed at a 45-degree angle in front of the batter at strike. The fielder in this position takes risks & stops aggressive shots from batters.
These are different types of cricket fielding positions that are widely practiced by players. Notably, a captain places fielders according to the bowlers’ delivery style & the shot that the batters intend to play. Fielding position is a major aspect of the game of cricket & it should be done right to ensure success in a match.