In cricket, 11 players per team are on a circular field called the pitch. Similar to baseball, in cricket a ball is pitched to a batsman with a cricket bat. Behind the batter is a wooden stand consisting of three stumps and two bails, called the wicket.
In a standard game, one side pitches the ball, trying to knock over the bails supported by the three stumps, while the other team bats and tries to keep the ball from knocking over the bails. The pitching side tries to dismiss the batting side by knocking over the bails (called being bowled), or fielding the ball after it is hit into the air before it touches the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the teams switch sides.
Arm guards are one of many different kinds of protective equipment in cricket. Although the game is not a contact sport, it is not uncommon that fielders and batters can be struck by the heavy ball. These guards are typically slipped on like gloves and cover a player's forearm. They are made of a spandex material with either a foam or plastic piece to guard the outside of the arm. Individual pieces can be sold in the $15 to $20 range.
A chest guard serves a similar purpose, especially for batters. A chest guard rests like a plate underneath a player's shirt and is attached with straps around his or her back. The plate can either be made of plastic and covered with a material that makes it more comfortable for the wearer or shock absorbent padding that molds more to the player's chest shape. They are typically sold by the same manufacturers of cricket arm guards and sell for around $25.
Cricket bails are rounded pieces of wood that are placed on top of the wickets at the end of each pitch. The objective of the bowler delivering the pitch is to hit these wickets so that the bails are disturbed and fall. This is one way a batter can be gotten out or dismissed from their turn. It's important to have more than the required two bails on hand at every game because their size and shape makes it easy for them to be misplaced and they are very important for game play. Standard sets of these can be sold for $10.
Cricket balls are dense, hard and traditionally red. They are made with a cork center and covered in leather. They can weigh between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces and can pack a punch on contact. Their impact is what led to the introduction of many different pieces of protective equipment in the game of cricket. A pack of six balls can be sold for about $60 while an individual ball can be as expensive as $15.
Cricket bats are one of the most unique parts of the game. The bats themselves are exclusively made of wood with a rounded handle wrapped in leather or rubber to grip and a flat blade on the bottom. The bat as a whole must be equal to or less than 38 inches with a 4.25 inch wide blade. These bats can come in different shapes depending on the type of batsman you are and how much power you'd like for each hit. Professional cricket bats can cost up to $500 but can be found for more reasonable prices for beginners.
A cricket field is marked with rope boundaries. The pitch as a whole is an oval shape without one official regulation size. Cricket fields typically fall within the 450ft to 500ft range. These rope boundaries must be three yards from fencing of the field. While any rope can be used in a more casual cricket setting, there are official sets of boundaries sold in packs of either actual rope or more unique wedged triangles with room for sponsorship and advertising. Sets like these can be sold for over $100 and can have a variety of different dimensions.
A cap is a traditional piece of cricket gear that almost every player wears. They are flat brimmed, tight to the head hats typically made out of some kind of felt or polyester cotton blend. There is great variety in cricket caps in terms of color and style and often vary as a part of a team or school's uniform. Not dissimilar to baseball caps, they are worn most often by players when fielding. You can buy a cricket cap online for less than $20 at most sports retailers.
A cricket helmet is a critically important part of the game. A blow to the head by a ball could cause serious damage to a batter's skull so these helmets are a necessity when it comes to protection. A cricket helmet is flat brimmed like the caps but are made of a protective metal material with paint coating and a titanium cage attached to cover a player's jaw. It is not uncommon for these helmets to be styled to match the uniform of the team. Professional cricket helmets with different kinds of ventilation panels and comfortable material on their interiors can cost up to $200.
Choosing the right shoes for cricket is very important for a player's game. Players in different field positions will choose lightweight or heavyweight shoes depending on their style of play. The different kinds of spikes at the bottom of cricket shoes are imperative for good grip while running and even batting because they have different levels of traction. Wearing the correct shoes can also protect a player from different kinds of ankle injuries while playing. Cricket shoes are actually not unreasonably expensive; it is not uncommon to find a quality pair with ventilated material for less than $50.
Sight screens in cricket have a very important job: to distinguish between the flying red ball coming at you and the background. They make it possible for batsmen to be able to see properly and hit the ball at their desired angle. Sight screens are normally several yards tall and wide and made up 12 different panels and set up near the boundaries of the field. The panels with slats separating them are put in place to ensure the sight screen does not fall when it encounters a strong wind. Professional sight screens can cost upwards of $4,000 so this is a piece of equipment typically provided by a club or organization for players.
Stumps in cricket are used to build the wickets that hold bails. They come in groups of three rods with pointed stakes at the bottom to be placed in the ground. Stumps are made of wood and typically given a waterproof coating because of the nature of the outdoor game. Some can be made of metal with a built in base but these are not for professional use. They are critical for cricket because these wickets are what bowlers are aiming for when trying to knock down the bails and dismiss a batsman. They are always bought in sets and can fall anywhere in the $20 to $45 range.
Elbow guards serve a very similar purpose as arm guards. They are attached in the same matter (slipping them on like gloves) and are usually made of the same protective materials. The elbow is a particularly vulnerable part of the arm when playing cricket, especially when batting, so it is very important that they be shielded from any incoming balls. They can be sold for as low as $10 and as high as $65 depending on the flexibility of the guard.
Gloves in cricket are primarily used by batsmen. They are used for grip and protection from incoming balls. They are often quite padded around the fingers with divisions in the foam to allow for flexibility. They have a thin rubber coating on the palm for maximum grip on the bat handle but are rather bulky on the backside to protect the wearer's knuckles, wrists, and finger bones. Some players like to express their individuality in the design of their batting gloves. Depending on the brand and style, cricket gloves can be sold for $15 to $40. They are sometimes layered with cotton inner gloves to prevent chafing.
A jockstrap and cup combination is a critical piece of equipment for protection during cricket. When balls are being thrown at batsmen at sometimes 80mph, it is important to have quality guard on your body's most sensitive parts. Jockstraps are not uncommon in most contact and/or stick and ball sports. They are relatively inexpensive and can be bought through retailers like Amazon and Star Sports for about $12.
Leg pads or guards are another type of essential protective equipment for cricket batters. They extend from the knee down to the player's ankles and have thick padding all the way down. They are meant to protect the knee and shin bones should they come in contact with the hard cricket ball. They are typically rounded at the top to make it easier for players to have a full range of motion. They can be sold by cricket equipment suppliers for about $45 a pair.
Thigh guards are another piece of protective equipment that a cricket player needs. This gear is worn around the waist as a spandex band with two thigh shells attached. It's possible to also wear them separately as sleeves around each thigh but the purpose is the same regardless. The shells protect the sensitive area above the knees. The pairs are sold for $20 but the set that is worn around the waist can go for over $50.
A water bottle is essential for any sport. Reusable plastic and metal ones are the best for the environment and can be found at any sports retail store for about $15. It isn't easy to use them during the innings as a fielder but those waiting to bat will often use their time to rehydrate. Teams sometimes choose to have matching water bottles.
More so than other fielders in cricket, wicket keepers are at risk for getting hit with the ball. They are responsible for tending to the wicket and bails behind the batsmen. They have a similar protective covering and padding as the batter's gloves to ensure the safety of all fingers involved in the game. On official cricket gear supplier websites, wicket keeper gloves are sold for anywhere from $50 to $150. The quality of gloves depends entirely on the level of protection the gloves will provide.
When playing cricket, there is some essential equipment you will need.
Regardless of protection and uniforms, you will need a bat, ball, and wicket to play cricket. However, it is heavily recommended to use protective equipment, so we suggest also using:
In addition to safety gear, you'll need a traditional cricket uniform:
Cricket equipment is very unique, especially at the highest level of play. The cricket bat is one of a kind, and heavily resembles an undersized oar. The wicket is also one of a kind and is not utilized in any other sport. It's very hard to replicate these things so having official equipment is vital to playing.
The most important equipment to buy to play cricket would be:
Anything else would help, but these are the most important equipment to purchase.
A fundamental cricket set would cost you around $50, but the higher quality sets with more equipment in them will run you anywhere between $75 and $100. Of course, you could buy equipment individually. This price also does not take into consideration the play area, which is essential to cricket.
A high-quality cricket bat can be found anywhere between $30 and $50, but lower quality bats can be found for less than that.
You can purchase a set of cricket balls for about $20 that will be of match quality, but there are likely cheaper sets for lower quality.
A wicket and all of its parts will run you upwards of $50. That's pretty good value, considering that official cricket bails used for league contests can cost upwards of $40,000 a match due to the technology within them.