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The Batsman wears leg guards , batting gloves, and can also wear protective equipment under their clothing to shield their chest, upper thigh (the one facing the bowler, or pitcher) and crotch area. He can also wear a helmet, especially against fastballs, but often wears only a cap when the slower bowlers are on.
The Wicket Keeper also wears leg guards, more padded and bulky than "batting leg-guards". He also wears wicket-keeping gloves, which are really two sets of gloves...an inner one of soft cotton, and an outer one of heavily padded, rubber, leather or vinyl...calculated to heep his "catching hands" un-bruised through several hundred pitches ! Some wicket-keepers wear other items. such as helmets or body protectors, but this is not yet the norm.
The CRICKET BALL is, inside, very much like baseball's hardball...a wrapped cork center, weighing about 5-3/4 ounces. Outside, however, it is polished smooth...usually red, but white balls are used for night games and in the World Cup. It also has a singleheavy seam running around it, unlike baseball's "S" seam which curves around the ball.
The cricket pitcher (bowler) , by changing the angle of the seam in his hand, can get varying degrees of movement in the air, such as shallower or deeper curves or sliders...he can also use the seam to get different kinds of "bounce", which is allowed in cricket.
Typically, the same ball must be used all through an inning. In other words, cricket fans cannot keep the balls as souvenirs, as in baseball !
The CRICKET BAT is paddle shaped, with a ridge on the back. This allows the batter in cricket to aim his hits more accurately than in baseball, and even angling the face of the bat for deflection hits to either side.
As in baseball, there are light and heavy bats, and long- and short-handled ones...batters choose bats that suit their style of hitting.
Instead of a home plate to designate the strike zone, cricket has THREE STUMPS, or WICKETS, planted behind the batter..
On top of the sticks, two pieces of wood called BAILS are placed as shown in the diagram. The idea is that if the wickets are touched by a ball, one or both the "bails" will fall to the ground...so there will be no arguments about whether the sticks were hit or not !
The batter has to stop the pitcher from touching any of the sticks with a direct throw....if the sticks are hit, the batter is out (like a strike). TAGS, or RUN-OUTS as they are called in cricket, are also made by touching the wickets before the runner can reach safe ground near the sticks...and again, the "bails" are used to decide for sure whether and when the sticks have been hit.
Umpires might not be considered equipment ! But because cricket umpiring is very unique to the game, the signals used by umpires are included in this section...we hope you find them helpful.
Cricket umpires traditionally wear white jackets, and dark pants, to distinguish them from the rest of the fielders. They are true "judges", rather than controllers of the game as in baseball or football. They signal "outs" only when appealed to, by the cricketer making the play.
Umpires do signal illegal pitches without having to be asked, such as "no-ball" if the pitcher strays too far over the line from which he is supposed to deliver his pitch, or "wide" if the pitch is thrown too far away from the batter to give him a reasonable chance of hitting the ball.
A "no-ball" means the batter cannot be struck out or caught out, and a penalty run is awarded to the batting side. When a "wide" is called, a penalty run is awarded and the pitcher has to make the delivery again...hopefully, closer to the batter.
When a line drive crosses the boundary of the field, or reaches the fence, the umpire signals "four" (meaning, four runs) by waving his right arm. If the hit is skied over the fence, like a home run in baseball, the umpire signals a "sixer" (meaning, six runs) by raising both hands and waving them from side to side.
If you are able to read the umpire's signals, it will help you to follow the game.