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The Basics

This quick guide aims to show you the basic and most common signals used in umpiring a cricket game and a brief outline of the rule associated with each of them.

The role of the umpire is to control the game as required by the Laws, with absolute impartiality.

Below are some of the more common signals you will use in a game.

The Wide Ball (Law 25)

When a Wide Ball is bowled the umpire signals:

A ball is a Wide if in the umpires opinion the ball passes wide of the striker where he is and also would have passed wide of him standing in a normal guard position.

The ball will be considered as passing wide of the striker unless it is sufficiently within his reach for him to be able to hit it with his bat by means of a normal cricket stroke.

A penalty of one run shall be awarded instantly on the call of Wide ball.

The No Ball (Law 24)

When a No Ball is bowled the umpire signals:

The are many conditions of a No Ball, in general the two most significant are:

1. For a delivery to be fair in respect of the feet, in the delivery stride

  • the bowler’s back foot must land within and not touching the return crease appertaining to his stated mode of delivery.
  • the bowler’s front foot must land with some part of the foot, whether grounded or raised.

2.The umpire shall call and signal No ball if a ball which he considers to have been delivered, without having previously touched bat or person of the striker, if:

  • the ball bounces more than twice.
  • the ball rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease.


Four Runs Scored (Law 19)

When a Four is scored the umpire signals:

4 runs are scored if the ball having been struck by the bat pitches inside and touches or travels past the boundary rope.

4 runs are also awarded if:

  • a fielder with some part of his person in contact with the ball, touches the boundary or has some part of his person grounded beyond the boundary.

Six Runs Scored (Law 19)

When a Six is scored the umpire signals:

6 runs can be scored if the ball having been struck by the bat pitches beyond the boundary rope.

The ball shall be regarded as pitching beyond the boundary and 6 runs shall be scored if a fielder:

  • has any part of his person touching the boundary or grounded beyond the boundary when he catches the ball.
  • catches the ball and subsequently touches the boundary or grounds some part of his person beyond the boundary while carrying the ball.

Byes (Law 26)

When a single Bye occurs the umpire signals:

If the ball delivered by the bowler is not a No ball or a Wide and passes the striker without touching his bat or person then any runs completed will be signaled as Byes.

Any completed runs or boundaries from that delivery are credited as Byes to the batting side.

The Dead Ball (Law 23)

When a Dead Ball occurs the umpire signals:

In general the ball is dead when a boundary is scored, the ball reaches the wicket keeper or the batsman is dismissed.

In some cases the umpire may need to signal a ‘Dead Ball’ to inform the players.

This may be if:

  • a player is not ready to receive the delivery.
  • the umpire intervenes in a case of unfair play.
  • the striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while he is receiving a delivery.

You can learn more of the rules and signals of cricket by visiting the Lord’s Home of Cricket website, just click the link below. Alternatively you can look at the Laws of Cricket pdf file supplied by the MCC.

Lord’s Home of Cricket – Laws of Cricket

laws-of-cricket-In Play from 2010-4th-edition.pdf