Understanding cricket commentary is challenging if you don’t know the difference between gully and backward point fielder. It’s the reason we are here to discuss all the cricket fielding positions.
Among the eleven players of a cricket team, there are nine fielders excluding the bowler and wicket-keeper. We will give you all the details about the placements of these fielders. We will also discuss the scenarios when the captain decides to place a fielder in a particular position. But, let’s talk about some basic terms about a cricket ground. Check the given diagram if you face any confusion.
Before we get into the details of each position
specifically, let’s run over the basic facts about the cricket field!
Basics Of The Cricket Field
The cricket ground is primarily divided into two parts: off-side and the leg-side. The leg-side is also called the on-side. The captain can set the fielders anywhere in these two hemispheres. The skipper can stand anywhere as per the requirements, but generally, his or her position is nearby the bowler. The next section is about the division of cricket grounds based on the fielding placements.
The cricket ground is further divided into three different parts.
- The close catching infield: The area closest to the batter on the strike is called the close catching infield. It’s the 15-yard region from the striker. Look at the image given below if you are feeling confused. Do you see the smallest circle? It contains all the close catching fielding positions. The fielders in this circle react quickly to take the catches.
- The inner ring: This region is around 30 yards from the on-strike batter. The fielders placed in this area focus to save runs. They try their best to stop the ball before it goes for a boundary. Check the image for a better understanding. Stay attentive if you are standing in this circle. Be ready to sprint or dive on your left or right if the batter hits a bowl towards you.
- Outfield: The biggest circle of a cricket ground is called its outfield. The fielders standing in this region are responsible to try and save the boundaries.
The Close Catching Infield
A necessary fielding position in the game of cricket, the wicketkeeper stands behind the on-strike batter. The wicket-keeper collects the ball if the batter misses or edges it. The distance between the bowler and the keeper depends upon the bowling speed.
For instance, the keeper stands 30 yards away from the wickets if a pacer bowls. On the other hand, the wicket-keeper generally stands near the stumps under spin attack. They wear helmets and gloves all the time but can choose to remove them. Some of the keepers tend to take out the helmet if a spinner bowls.
Apart from collecting the missed bowls and taking the catches, the keeper is also responsible to stump the on-strike batter if he or she is not inside the crease. In addition, the keeper collects the bowl from all the on-ground fielders when the batters are running between the wickets.
The wicket keepers are extremely fit and flexible. And it’s easy to understand why? The bowlers cannot throw all six deliveries at the same point. So, the keeper is required to dive frequently to save runs.
This region is closest to the wicket-keeper. The captain can use four slips, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. However, it’s not required to fulfill all the positions at once. The skipper has to decide the placements according to the match’s conditions. Plus, the number of slip fielders depends upon the bowling speed. You might not see more than one slip under a spin bowling attack.
The slip position changes according to the on-strike batter stance. But, the slip fielders have to be quick and responsive because the bowl comes fast in this region. Plus, they have to concentrate for long durations because the batter avoids hitting the bowl in this direction. The captain generally removes the slip fielders if the on-strike batter dominates the bowlers. You will not see any slip fielders if there are no movements in the air.
The gully is diagonal to the slip region. The gully fielder looks like an extension of the slip placements, but there is a significant gap between them. The captain places a fielder at the gully in the initial overs or if the wicket falls and a new batter comes on the strike. The gully fielder also takes charge on a slow pitch where the ball can travel towards this region. In addition, the batter has to deal with a gully fielder if the former tends to get caught out in this area.
The skill set of slip and gully fielders is the same. Both of them have to stay fit so that they can dive on their right or left. Excellent hand-eye coordination and agility are also crucial because the ball comes at a high speed in both areas.
This area is behind the wicket on the batter’s leg side. Take a look on the opposite side of the slip fielders in the image. Generally, you might not notice a fielder in this region because batters do not get out at this position.
The maximum number of leg-slip fielders allowed in a cricket match is two. But, none of the teams uses two fielders in this region. Captain prefers to place a leg slip fielder if the batter is slow at picking balls at the leg side. The leg slip defense also comes into action if the spinner is trying to turn the balls towards the leg side.
A leg slip fielder is used to stop scoring runs due to a paddle sweep shot. If the batter attempts this shot and gets the top edge, then a leg slip defense can take the catch. High levels of agility and incredible hand-eye coordination are required for leg slip fielders. Do not worry about running around if you are standing in this position. However, you have to be quick to collect fast catches.
The leg gully is near the leg slip fielder, but a little wider on the leg side. Take a look at the image to understand the difference. Both the positions are used to dismiss an on-strike batter, especially for sweep shots. The leg gully fillers are also responsible for shots played on short balls. They can also give you a wicket if the batter makes a mistake while playing a bouncer. The ball could hit the gloves and the leg gully fielder can break the partnership.
The ball comes to the leg gully region quickly. So, a leg gully fielder has to stay alert. Diving towards the left or right is also frequently required in this region.
Another fielding position close to the batter, silly point is an aggressive choice of a captain who needs wickets. It’s also useful to pressurize the batter, which can often lead to mistakes. A silly point fielder plays an important role under spin attack. The strike batter can edge the ball and the silly point fielder can take the catch. Defensive shots can also turn into a wicket if the spinner can misguide the batter.
The silly point-fielders stay close to the pitch. So, they should never step up on the pitch. However, it’s an injury-prone position. Hence, a silly point fielder has to wear a helmet and shin guards. Moreover, you have to be fast and responsive. Otherwise, you will miss sharp catches. Above all, a lot of stamina and endurance are required to field in this area in the test matches.
This area is also close to the batter, but a bit on the off side. If the on-strike batter mistimes a shot, then the silly-mid off fielder can give you a breakthrough. Generally, the captain places a fielder in this region under spin attack.
A silly mid-off fielder wears all the safety gear, including a helmet, shin guard, and cup. You have to be alert and responsive if you are standing on silly mid-off. Work on your reflexes to be successful at this fielding placement.
Similar to the silly point, but the short leg is the area on the leg side of an on-strike batter. This field placement also reaps wickets if the batter mistimes or edges a spin delivery. It’s also effective under pace attack, especially if the batter cannot play short-balls.
A short-leg fielder stands close to the batter and hence, you have to wear all the protective gear. Plus, you have to be brave to take fast catches.
This region is on the leg side of an on-strike batter. The silly mid-on is the last field placement on the pitch and nearby the batter. A bowling captain uses this position to get the breakthrough when the batter mistimes a shot. Hence, this position is similar to short leg, silly point, and silly mid-off.
All the protective gear is required if you stand as a silly mid-on fielder. You have to be alert and protective because the ball can come toward you very fast.
The Inner Ring
The point fielding placement is square of the wicket on the offside. The distance between the on-strike batter and point fielder depends upon the bowling speed. The gap is significantly wide under pace attack, but the fielder stands nearby if spinners are in the action.
The catch goes directly to the point if the batter mistimes an attacking shot. The point fielder has to cover a wide area to stop the run flow and put pressure on the batting team. Hence, only a fit, agile and flexible player can be successful at this point. A lot of top-class catches are taken in this region.
Similar to the point placement, but the backward point is a bit behind the square of the wicket on the offside. A bowling captain prefers to place a fielder at this area when the pace attack delivers more bounce. Such bowling forces the batter to play cut shots behind the square. So, the backward ward point fielder can break the partnership by taking the catches.
The mid-off region is a little wider than the straight on the off side of the cricket ground. See the image for clarification. The mid-off fielders are responsible to stop the boundaries and singles towards the long-off. An on-strike batter generally plays a lot of shots in this region. So, the bowling captain needs one of the most competent fielders at mid-off.
A lot of shots go towards covers, so the bowling captain needs to place a top-notch fielder in this region. The covers are in the front of the square of the off side. A cover fielder stands on the inner circle’s edge.
The fielder at covers can be useful if the bowler misguides the batter and gets the edge. Apart from taking catches, the cover defense can also give you some runouts. A lot of diving is required in this region. Hence, agility, speed, and excellent hand-eye coordination are some prerequisites to being a successful cover fielder.
A lot of captains tend to leave covered areas defenseless. It’s a trap, which allows the batter to hit the bowl hard, which is risky and could be a catch-out by the wicket-keeper or slips. Sometimes this action pays off, but sometimes the results are unfavorable.
Similar to the covers, but the fielder at the extra cover stands a little straight. See the image to understand the difference between these two placements. It’s the decision of the bowling captain to place protection at extra covers or covers or both. A wide range of shots goes toward these regions. So, placing a fielder in extra cover yields wickets.
The skills and roles of the fielder used in this position are largely the same as the one for the cover position!
Similar to the mid-off, but mid-on is on the leg side. See the given image to avoid any confusion. Therefore, the responsibilities of a mid-on fielder are also similar to mid-off. The former has to stop leg-side drives. A lot of times the captain stands in this region to be in conversation with the bowler.
The square leg region is on the wicket’s square, near the square leg umpire. For the unknowns, the square leg umpire is not on the bowler’s end. This umpire judges bouncers, no-balls, run-outs, and hit-wickets.
A square leg fielder plays multiple roles in a cricket game. First, this fielder has to stop the singles because there’s a significant space between the square leg and mid-wicket. Second, take catches if the batter hits a pull or hook shot under pace attack. Third, the square leg fielders also take catches if the batter plays sweep shots on spin deliveries.
The bowl comes at different speeds in the square leg region. So, the fielder has to be alert to stop the singles and take catches. Therefore, the captain places a fit and athletic fielder in this position.
Backward Square Leg
The backward square leg area is right behind the square on the leg-side of a cricket ground. The responsibilities of a backward square leg fielder are similar to a square leg fielder. However, the latter stands a few meters behind the on-strike batter.
A backward square leg fielder is responsible to try and stop the ball before it runs into the outfield. Batters play aggressive shots in this region. So, the fielder has to be ready for hooks, pulls, and sweeps.
The mid-wicket area falls in front of the leg-side’s square. Its fielder stands near the edge of the inner circle. The mid-wicket fielder has to cover a significant region between mid-on and square leg. Check the image for a better understanding.
The on-strike batter plays a lot of scoring hits in this region. Hence, the chances of catches increase. If a mid-wicket fielder stops multiple boundaries, then the batting duo comes into pressure.
The fine leg area is behind the square on the cricket ground’s leg side. A fielder covering this region stands at a 45-degree angle from the on-strike batter, at the inner circle’s edge. This fielder stops sweep shots under spin attack and several other hits when their pacers come into action.
(Short) fine leg is mainly put in place to stop 2 things:
- The batsman tucking the ball off their hip behind
square on the leg side of the field while a fast bowler is bowling
- The batsman playing the sweep shot to a spinner
The captain does not place a fine leg fielder in general. But the scenario changes as soon as the batters play a few shots in this region. If you stand in this position, then be ready to move immediately. Try to anticipate the shots. Collect the ball and throw it back to the wicketkeeper as soon as possible.
The fly slip fielder stands on the offside, a bit deeper than the slips. The batter sends the ball to the fly slips if the regular slip fielder is absent. Hence, placing a fielder at fly slip could be useful according to the conditions. However, it’s a defensive field setting. Still, placing a fly slip saves a lot of runs and boundaries.
The fielding captain does not use slip and fly slip at once usually. Regardless of the field placements, a fly slip placement has to be active because a lot of batters play shots in this region, especially to get off-strike. So, be ready for a lot of sprints if you are a fly slip fielder. Collect the ball quickly and pass it back. Pressurize the batters if they try to take singles in the fly slip region.
The third man area lies behind the ground’s square on its offside. The given image can explain what we mean. The third-man fielder has to be in sync with the slips. This fielder is generally used in the absence of slips, which generally happens in ODIs. The third man fielder can give you a breakthrough if the batter mistimes an uppercut. Moreover, this placement saves a lot of ones and twos.
The deep point region is at the square of the wicket on the offside. See the given image for clarification. The deep point fielder does not have to collect a lot of catches because it’s a defensive placement. However, you have to stop the square cuts that generally cross the boundary for four runs.
This is a defensive position, and as such there won’t be
many catches to take when you’re out there! Your main role will be to cover the
boundary edge and stop the batsman playing square cut shots for 4.
Deep Backward Point
Located on the boundary, but the deep backward point is a bit behind the square on the off side. Check the image to understand the differences between deep point and deep backward point. The captain prefers to place a deep backward point fielder instead of the deep point when the batter plays late. The former is responsible to try and stop the cut shots played for four runs.
Deep cover is another boundary dwelling position that
lies just in front of square on the off side of the wicket! The following
diagram shows the position clearly!
The deep cover region is also located at the boundary. It lies on the offside, in front of the square. Placing a deep cover fielder is a defensive field setting, which is preferred by the captain when the batters are playing well through the covers. The batters hit this area when there is no movement in the air. A deep cover placement has to cover a lot of areas on the left and right. Plus, this fielder has to try and save the boundaries.
Deep Extra Cover
The responsibilities of the deep cover and deep extra cover fielders are the same, try and save the cover boundaries. However, there is some distance between these two regions. Take a look at the given image and you will understand what we mean. The batters use the deep extra cover to score runs. So, its fielder has to be ready for sprints.
A little wide of the straight towards the offside, the long off region is near the boundary. The long-off fielder can take catches because this region is used by the batters to score runs. Full and straight-pitched bowls are generally mistimed by the batters and become an easy catch in the long off. Apart from taking the catches, the long off placement is also responsible to save runs scored by cut shots.
Deep Fine Leg
The deep fine leg is on the leg side. Its fielder is responsible to stop the boundaries because the batters generally use this area to score runs. The deep fine leg is also called a fine leg by the commentators.
The deep fine leg fielder is placed in test matches and one-day internationals. It’s a favorite among the batters. So, you have to cover a significant amount of ground as a deep fine leg fielder.
As you might understand from the name, the long leg is on the leg side, a bit more square than the deep fine leg. The long leg fielder covers all the ground area between the deep square leg and deep fine leg. The long leg placement stands at 60-degree from the on-strike batter. Check the given image to get clarity on the long leg region.
The long leg fielder is responsible to stop the boundaries on the leg side, behind the square. Generally, the captain places only one fielder in this area. So, the placement could be near a deep fine leg or long leg.
Deep Square Leg
The deep square leg is another fielding position on the boundary, on the leg side. It’s on the square of the wicket. The deep square leg fielder generally deals with pull shots and hooks. So, the primary job of this fielder is to save boundaries.
A lot of captains place a deep square leg fielder to bluff the batters. They expect a short ball, but get a yorker or something challenging. Hence, the chances of a breakthrough are high if the deep square fielder is fit and active. Some captains also place fielders in this region to test the short ball handling abilities of a batter.
The deep mid-wicket region is slightly in front of the square, on the leg side. Batters generally try to score boundaries in this area. Hence, the deep mid-wicket has to try and stop fours and sixes, especially in the T20s. Also, the fielder can take multiple catches. Hence, the captain ensures a high-quality fielder for deep mid-wicket.
Located at the front of the square, cow corner is on the leg side of the cricket ground. Check the given image to see this field position. The cow corner fielder stands a bit straighter than the deep mid-wicket placement. So, the captain can place both deep mid-wicket and cow corner if required
Location Of The Cow Corner Fielder
Here comes the last fielding position on the leg side of an on-strike batter. The long-on is a wide region. Hence, its fielder saves a lot of runs. Also, the long-on fielder has to be ready for cut shots.
If the long-on fielder is active, the batter is forced to score singles instead of hitting the boundaries. Hence, placing a long on fielder could be effective in all the formats of cricket. Moreover, using long on and long off fielders together pressurizes the batters because they cannot score big.
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Mayank Chowdhary is a professional cricket player in domestic cricket in India. He is very passionate about cricket and knows ins and out of cricket betting. With this long experience, now he has decided to share his experience with other cricket lover like you. Know more at the about me page.