To understand the basic cricket fielding positions we've compiled a quick guide to cricket players and their on field positions so you know your silly mid off from your short fine leg.

Cricket can be a baffling sport to the uninitiated with a host of cricket terms - and with 13 players plus two umpires usually on the field at any given time, it is not surprising people struggle to get to grips with who does what. From the cricket captain to wicket-keeper and bowler and fielder, each player has a specific role to play in the side.

Cricket field diagram

The fielding positions have some peculiar names which can be a touch mind boggling, but the following cricket diagram (based on a right-handed batsman) should help you get to grips with the fielding positions.

Cricket field and positions diagram

The cricket XI

A cricket side is made up of 11 players, including a captain, a wicketkeeper and several batsman and bowlers. When their side is not batting, each is considered a fielder.

It is up to each side how many bowlers and batsmen are in their team, but ideally there needs to be a good balance of both.

  • The captain – the most responsible position in the side. The captain usually has a say in the selection of the team. He or she is responsible for making the call (either to bat or bowl first) at the toss of the coin before the start of the match. The captain also sets out the tactics by telling his fielders where to position themselves.
  • The wicketkeeper – one of the biggest positions of responsibility. The wicketkeeper is responsible for retrieving the ball every time almost every time it is bowled, unless it has been hit to another part of the field by the batter. He or she must be on their toes to take every ball that comes their way.
  • Bowlers – are responsible for taking wickets by bowling the batter out. They must bowl consistently to prevent the batsmen scoring easy runs. A bowler usually bowls six balls before the next bowler on his side has his turn from the other end of the cricket ground.
  • Batsmen or batswomen – are responsible for scoring the runs when it is their turn to bat. They must seize upon the bad deliveries from bowlers and protect their stumps at all times.

When the other side is batting all the opposing teams the players do the fielding. There are numerous positions in which a player can field and often determined by a number of factors including their speed, catching ability, the tactics required at the time and sometimes even bravery or seniority!