The laws of cricket are a set of rules framed by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) which serve to standardise the format of cricket matches across the world to ensure uniformity and fairness. There are currently 42 laws, which outline all aspects of how the game is played from how a team wins a game, how a batsman is dismissed, through to specifications on how the pitch is to be prepared and maintained. The MCC retains copyright in the laws and only the MCC may change the laws, although nowadays this would usually only be done after discussions with the game's global governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Cricket is one of the few sports for which the governing principles are referred to as 'Laws' rather than as 'Rules' or 'Regulations'. However for the various forms of the game – they in essence follow the Laws of Cricket by variations are permitted under the respective sections as 'rules' – e.g. ODI Rules.

Cricket is one of the few sports for which the governing principles are referred to as 'Laws' rather than as 'Rules' or 'Regulations'. However for the various forms of the game – they in essence follow the Laws of Cricket by variations are permitted under the respective sections as 'rules' – e.g. ODI Rules.

History of the Laws

Cricket started out as a game played by children, but expanded to become a betting game, and where rich aristocrats were involved, the wagers could be large. The earliest laws were drawn up in that context, to help regulate a game on which large sums of money were being staked.


The earliest existing known Code of cricket was drawn up by certain "Noblemen and Gentlemen" who used the Artillery Ground in London in 1744. A printed form of the laws was published in 1775 and a further revision to the laws was undertaken by a similar body of Noblemen and Gentlemen of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and London in 1786.


On 30 May 1788, the Marylebone Cricket Club, which had been formed by the leading noblemen and gentlemen playing the game just one year before, produced its first Code of Laws. Whilst the MCC's version of the Laws were not accepted fully immediately, or applied consistently, it is the successor of these Laws that governs the game today.

 
 
 
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