Cricket has its own special language - here you'll find the more unusual terms, references to the skill drills in which they appear and explanations of what they mean

Basic Batting Drills

Popping Crease

Why is it called this?

The odd name of the popping crease refers to the early history of the game of cricket, in that batsmen used to have to 'pop' their bats into a small hole that was located in the middle of the crease for a run to count. For a player to run a batsman out he had to pop the ball into the hole before the bat was grounded in it.

What is it for?

The popping crease is the most forward of the two creases (furthest away from the stumps) and serves two purposes:

  • it marks the beginning of safe ground for the batsmen (they cannot be stumped or run out if their feet or bat are grounded past this line.
  • it is the ‘no ball’ mark for bowlers (more on that in later skill drills).
  • Just to confuse things, it is also called the batting crease.

Where is it?

The line with the two footmarks denotes the popping crease.

Pitch of the Ball

This simply refers to the point at which the ball first bounces after the bowler releases it from his or her hand. The action of bowling the ball in cricket is called a ‘delivery’.

  • A delivery that lands around the middle of the wicket is said to be ‘short-pitched’ or a 'long hop' and these are often used by quick bowlers to bounce up high and worry batsmen.
  • A delivery that lands quite near the batsman is said to be on a ‘good length’ and may be played off the front or back foot.
  • A delivery that can be hit easily just after it bounces is said to be ‘over-pitched’; also called a ‘half-volley’.
  • A fast delivery that bounces just in front of the batsman at the base of the bat is called a ‘yorker’ and will often clean bowl the batsman if bowled accurately. To play yorkers, try and block them witha defensive shot as they can damage your bat if you try to hit them too hard.
  • A delivery that can be hit without bouncing is called a ‘full toss’ and will usually result in a scoring shot.

There are lots of other special deliveries that we will cover in later skill drills.


The V section at the top of a cricket bat where the handle joins the blade - always give this bit a miss when oiling your bat.

Fielding Drills


means taking a few steps forward as the bowler releases the ball to make sure you on your toes ready to move if you need to field the ball.


extra runs taken by the batsmen resulting from poor fielding and forgetting to back up the incoming throw.


fumbling or failing to pick up the ball cleanly first time.


the central line of stitching around a cricket ball.


a cricket ball thrown with the ‘seam up’ may move in the air. This movement is good for bowlers but bad for fielders - so always grip across the seam (scrambled) when fielding.

Cow Corner

this is so named because very few ‘correct’ shots are aimed to this part of the field, so fielders are rarely placed there. So – in theory - cows could happily graze in that area undisturbed by the game!

Basic Bowling Drills

Your ‘target Arm’

  • When bowling, this is the arm you don’t hold the ball with.
  • Use this to establish a ‘line of sight’ between you and the target.

Leg-spinner, Top-spinner, Googly, Slider and Flipper

  • Are all variations of leg spin achieved by varying the position and rotation of the wrist.
  • They all use the same basic grip except for the flipper which is the hardest technique to perfect.
  • They all react slightly differently when the ball pitches.

Advanced Batting Drills

Rolling the Wrists

A term you will often hear. It is the cricketing equivalent of ‘top spin’ in tennis.
By rolling the wrists over the ball as you hit it, you direct it down towards the ground reducing the risk of giving a catch.

Forcing Shot

A forcing shot is an attacking shot where the batsman uses the full face of the bat to hit the ball in front of square on either side of the wicket. This is as opposed to using the speed of the ball in a glide, cut or glance.

Shoulder Arms

This is the process of bringing the bat close to the body and offering no stroke to leave the ball to go through to the keeper.

Advanced Bowling Drills


The inswinger moves in the air from the off side of a right handed batsman to the leg side.


The ball swings from the off stump of a right handed batsman towards the slip fielders.

Off Cutter

 A fast spinning ball that moves the ball off the pitch from the off-side of a batsman towards the leg-side.

Leg Cutter

A fast spinning ball that moves the ball off the pitch from the leg-side of a batsman towards the off-side.


Night Watchman

A player sent in to to bat during a critical part of the innings following a late wicket (usually in the last ten overs before close of play). Often a middle or late order batsman, not usually a shotmaker, who has the job of seeing out the close of the innings by playing defensively. This tactic is sometimes used by captains who do not want to risk losing the wicket of one of their better batsman but it often backfires with the nightwatchman being out before the close of play.


Sledging is a term used in cricket to describe the practice whereby some players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating the opposing batsman. The purpose is to try to weaken the opponent's concentration, thereby causing him to make mistakes or underperform. It can be effective because the batsman stands within hearing range of the bowler and certain close fielders; and vice-versa. The insults may be direct or feature in conversations among fielders designed to be overheard. Sledging is a feature of the modern game and often involves close fielders like wicket keeper and slips talking at the batsman on strike. Sometimes it just gestures or hard stares between bowler and batsman and it usually relates to performance on the cricket field but, in some cases, can get personal and quite nasty.

Let's be crystal clear about Aldershot's policy on this: our view is that there is no place for sledging in junior cricket.

Acknowledging a good ball by your bowler, giving encouragement to team members is, of itself, pressurising for batsmen without resorting to insults on a personal level. Certainly any behaviour that is deemed to be discriminatory in terms of gender, disability or race will not be tolerated by umpires under any circumstances and will almost certainly result in immediate or subsequent sanction against the players involved.