Indoor cricket

This article is about the internationally recognised version of indoor cricket. For the variant of the game played exclusively in the United Kingdom, see Indoor cricket (UK variant).
Indoor cricket

A bowler bowling to a batsman.
Highest governing body World Indoor Cricket Federation
First played 1970s
Team members 8 players per side
Mixed gender Mixed gender until under-13 upwards.
Type Team, Bat-and-ball
Equipment Indoor cricket ball, cricket bat,
collapsible wicket
Venue Indoor cricket court

Indoor cricket is a variant of and shares many basic concepts with cricket. The game is most often played between two teams each consisting of six or eight players.[1]

Several versions of the game have been in existence since the late 1960s, whilst the game in its present form began to take shape in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[2]

Conventional cricket has been played indoors at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.[3] The codified sport of indoor cricket is not to be confused with conventional cricket played indoors, or with other modified versions of cricket played indoors (see other forms of indoor cricket below).

The game of indoor cricket

In terms of the concept of the game indoor cricket is similar to cricket. Like its outdoor cousin, indoor cricket involves two batsmen, a bowler and a team of fielders. The bowler bowls the ball to the batsmen who must score runs.[4] The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins. Despite these basic similarities, the game itself differs significantly from its traditional counterpart in several ways, most notably on the field of play and the means by which runs are obtained.

International rules overview

Playing arena

Main article: Indoor cricket court

The length of an indoor cricket pitch is the same as a conventional cricket pitch, and has 3 stumps at each end, but there the similarities end. The arena is completely enclosed by tight netting, a few metres from each side and end of the pitch. The playing surface is normally artificial grass matting. Whilst the pitch is the same length, however, the batsmen don't have to run the entire length. The striker's crease is in the regulation place in front of the stumps, but the non-striker's crease is only halfway down the pitch.[1]


Indoor cricket is played between 2 teams of 8 players. Each player must bowl 2 overs, and bat in a partnership for 4 overs. A faster version of the game exists, where each side is reduced to 6 players and each innings lasts 12 overs instead of 16.[1]


The stumps used in indoor cricket are not, for obvious reasons, stuck in the ground. Instead, they are collapsible spring-loaded stumps that immediately spring back to the standing position when knocked over. The ball used in indoor cricket is a modified cricket ball, with a softer centre. The ball also differs in that it is yellow in colour so to make it more obvious to see indoors against varied backgrounds. Both traditional outdoor cricket bats or more specialised lighter-weight indoor cricket bats may be used. The gloves are typically lightweight cotton with no protective padding on the outside. The palm-side of the gloves usually have embedded rubber dots to aid grip.[1]


Scoring in indoor cricket is split into 2 areas: physical runs and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net. Bonus scores for particular parts of the nets follow:

NB: For bonus runs to be scored, at least one physical run must be scored. The bonus runs are then added to the physical runs. For example, a batsman strikes the ball, hitting the back net on the full (6) and makes one physical run, for a total of 7 runs.[1]


A batsman can be dismissed in the same ways they can be in conventional cricket – with variations in the case of LBW and mankad (see below) – and with the exception of timed out. When a batsman gets dismissed, however, five runs are deducted from their total and they continue to bat. Batsmen bat in pairs for 4 overs at a time, irrespective of whether they are dismissed. A player can also be "caught" by a ball rebounding off a net, except off a "six", as long as it has not previously touched the ground. This negates any physical or bonus runs that might have been awarded.

A method of dismissal in indoor cricket that is far more prevalent than its outdoor counterpart is the mankad. A mankad is given out if the bowler completes their bowling action without releasing the ball, breaks the stumps at their end without letting go of the ball and the non-striker is out of their ground.

Whilst lbw is a valid form of dismissal in indoor cricket, it is a far rarer occurrence in indoor than it is in outdoor cricket. A batsman can only be dismissed lbw if he does not offer a shot and the umpire is satisfied that the ball would then have hit the stumps.[1]


Indoor cricket is officiated by one umpire who is situated outside of the playing area at the strike batsmen's end of the court. The umpire sits or stands on a raised platform that is usually 3 metres above ground level.[1] Secondary officials (such as scorers or video umpires) have sometimes been utilised in national or international competition.


The team with the higher score at the conclusion of each innings is declared the winner of the match. The second innings continues for a full 16 overs even if the batting side passes the first innings total due to the possibility of a side finishing behind a total even after they have surpassed it (see dismissals above).[1]

In most cases indoor cricket is played according to a skins system, where the batting partnerships from each innings are compared against one another and the higher of the two is deemed to have won the skin. For example, the second batting partnership in the first innings might score 5 runs whilst the second partnership in the second innings scores 10 – the latter would be deemed to have won the skin. The team that has won the greater of the four skins available is often awarded the win if the totals are tied.[1]

Types of match and competition

Indoor cricket is typically played either as a six- or eight-a-side match, and with six- or eight-ball overs respectively.[1] The game can be played in men's, women's and mixed competitions. Permutations of the game include bonus overs (where the bonus score is double, dismissals result in seven (7) runs (cf. five (5) runs) being deducted from the team score and fielding restrictions removed.)

Test Match

Test indoor cricket is the highest standard of indoor cricket and is played between members of the World Indoor Cricket Federation.[5]

The first international Test matches were played between Australia and New Zealand in 1985. Those sides have since been joined on the international stage by England (1990), South Africa (1991), Zimbabwe (1998), Namibia (1998), India (2000), Pakistan (2000), Sri Lanka (2002), the United Arab Emirates (2004), Wales (2007), France (2007) and Guernsey (2007).

Test matches are usually played in a group of matches called a "series" featuring two to four nations. These series can consist of three to five matches and where more than two nations are involved, may also include a finals series.[5] Matches played at World Cup events are also considered Test matches.

International competition is also organised for juniors and masters age groups. The matches are considered Test matches within their respective divisions.[5]

Since 1985, most Test series between Australia and New Zealand have played for the Trans Tasman trophy. Similarly, since 1990, Test series between Australia and England have been played for a trophy known as The Ashes, a name borrowed from the trophy contested by the same nations in outdoor cricket.[5]

National championships

Each member nation of the WICF usually holds its own national titles. In Australia, states and territories compete in the Australian Indoor Cricket Championships (as well as the now defunct National League).[6]

The national competition in New Zealand is referred to as the Tri Series and is contested by three provinces – Northern, Central and Southern.[7]

National championships contested elsewhere in the world include South Africa's National Championship[8] and England's National League.[9]

Minor Competition

In addition to social competition played throughout the world there are several state leagues and competitions within each nation.[10] Various states, provinces or geographical areas organise their own state championships (referred to in Australia as "Superleague" – not to be confused with the ill-fated Rugby League competition). Various districts, centres or arenas take part in these competitions.[11]

World Cup

The Indoor Cricket World cup was first held in Birmingham, England in 1995 and has run every two or three years since. The event usually also features age-group, masters' and women's competitions. The last World Cup was held in Wellington (NZ) in October 2014. Australia came first in the boys', girls', women's and men's competitions. Australia has won all 9 Open Men World Cup titles (since 1995) and all 8 Open World Cup titles (since 1998).[12]

Origin and development of indoor cricket

The first significant example of organised indoor cricket took place, somewhat unusually, in Germany. A tournament was held under the auspices of the Husum Cricket Club in a hall in Flensburg in the winter of 1968–69.[2]

It wasn't until the 1970s that the game began to take shape as a codified sport. Conceived as a way of keeping cricketers involved during the winter months, various six-a-side leagues were formed throughout England in the first half of the decade, eventually leading to the first national competition held in March 1976 at the Sobell Center in Islington.[2] This distinct form of indoor cricket is still played today.

Despite the early popularity of the sport in England, a different version of indoor cricket developed by two different parties in Perth, Western Australia in the late 1970s evolved into the sport known as indoor cricket today. Against the backdrop of the upheaval in the conventional game caused by World Series Cricket, torrential rain and a desire to keep their charges active led cricket school administrators Dennis Lillee and Graeme Monaghan to set up netted arenas indoors. Concurrently, entrepreneurs Paul Hanna and Michael Jones began creating an eight-a-side game that eventually led to the nationwide franchise known as Indoor Cricket Arenas (ICA). It was not long before hundreds of ICA-branded stadiums were set up throughout Australia, leading to the first national championships held in 1984 at a time where over 200,000 people were estimated to be participating in the sport.[2]

The sport underwent several organisational changes, most notably in Australia and in South Africa (where competing organisations fought for control of the sport), but the game has changed little since that time and has risen in popularity in several nations. Under the auspices of the World Indoor Cricket Federation the sport has reached a point where is played according to the same standard rules in major competitions throughout the world.

International structure of indoor cricket

The World Indoor Cricket Federation is the international governing body of cricket. It was founded prior to the 1995 World Cup by representatives from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England.[13]

Nations may either be full members or associate members of the WICF.[14] Each member nation has its own national body which regulates matches played in its country. The national bodies are responsible for selecting representatives for its national side and organising home and away internationals for the side.

Nation Governing body Member status
 Australia Cricket Australia[14] Full
 England England and Wales Cricket Board[14] Full
 India Rowan Tree Sport[14] Full
 New Zealand New Zealand Indoor Sports[14] Full
 South Africa Indoor Cricket South Africa[14] Full
 Sri Lanka Ceylon Indoor Cricket Association[14] Full
 Singapore Indoor Cricket Singapore[14] Associate
 Wales England and Wales Cricket Board[14] Associate

Other forms of indoor cricket

Conventional cricket indoors

Conventional cricket matches have taken place at covered venues (usually featuring a retractable roof) and can thus be regarded as cricket being played indoors. Such matches are relatively infrequent and come with added complications in the event that the ball makes contact with the roof while in play.[15]

UK variant

A version of indoor cricket (bearing greater resemblance to conventional cricket) is played exclusively in the United Kingdom. This variant sees the six players on each team utilise the same playing and protective equipment that can be found in outdoor cricket, and is played in indoor facilities that differ greatly from the international form of indoor cricket.[16]

Despite lacking international competition, this form of indoor cricket enjoys a strong following in the UK, and, like its international counterpart, enjoys the support of the ECB[17]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Rules of Indoor Cricket" from Cricket Australia
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Shorter, simpler, sillier" in ESPNcricinfo, 7 September 2007.
  3. "Article on enclosed Docklands Stadium" from ESPNcricinfo
  4. "Laws and Spirit of Cricket" from MCC
  5. 1 2 3 4 "International competition" from WICF
  6. "Australian Open Championships tournament wrap" from Cricket Australia
  7. "Tri-Series results" from NZ Indoor Sports
  8. "National Championships" from Indoor Cricket South Africa
  9. "National League" from ECB Indoor Cricket
  10. "British Open" from ECB Indoor Cricket
  11. "Superleague" from Indoor Sports Victoria
  12. "2009 world cup results" from Cricket Australia
  13. World Indoor Cricket Federation
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Countries" from WICF
  15. "Roof hits now a six in BBL" from Sportal, accessed 28 January 2012
  16. "Competition Rules" from ECB Indoor Club Championships, accessed 28 January 2013
  17. "Lord's joy for Whitstable" from ECB, accessed 28 January 2013

External links

National Bodies

Australian State Bodies

New Zealand Provincial Bodies

Other Links

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