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. 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 duration of the game.

Playing arena

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 half way down the pitch.


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.


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.


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:

  • Zone A (front net - behind the keeper): 0 bonus runs
  • Zone B (side nets between the striker's end and halfway down the pitch): 1 run
  • Zone C (side nets between halfway and the bowlers end): 2 runs
  • Zone D (back net - behind the bowler):
    • On the bounce: 4 runs
    • On the full: 6 runs
  • Zone B or C onto Zone D: 3 runs

N.B. For bonus runs to be scored, at least one physical run must be scored. The bonus runs are then added to the physical runs.


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 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 still a valid form of dismissal in indoor cricket it is a far rarer occurrence in indoor than it is in outdoor cricket. A batsmen can only be dismissed LBW if they do not offer a shot and the umpire is satisfied that the ball would then have hit the stumps.


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 10 feet above ground level. 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).
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.

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. 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.
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. 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.
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.

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). The most successful state to date has been Queensland with numerous titles in each contested division.
The national competition in New Zealand is referred to as the Tri Series and is contested by three provinces - Northern, Central and Southern.
National championships contested elsewhere in the world include South Africa's Provincial Championship and England's National League.
Most nations draw their national representative sides from the players who take part in their national championships. As a result, national sides are selected for one year and will contest any Test matches played between their selection and the selection of the next national side.

Minor Competition

In addition to social competition played throughout the world there are several "minor" leagues and competitions within each nation. 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.

World Cup

A World Cup is held every 2 years, the last being held in 2007 in Bristol, UK and was won by Australia in both the Mens and Women's division.
The next World Cup will is being held in Queensland, Australia in 2009.

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