What is no ball in cricket?

Within the sport of cricket, a “No ball” is a designated term utilized to denote a situation wherein the ball administered by the bowler transgresses specific conditions delineated within the comprehensive regulations governing the game. In cricket, an umpire is tasked with calling and signaling ‘No ball’ when a delivered ball, prior to touching either the bat or the person of the batter, bounces more than once or rolls along the ground beyond the popping crease.

The popping crease delineates the boundary that a batsman must duly cross in order to safeguard themselves from the possibility of being put out by means of a run out. Hence, the rule pertaining to ‘No ball’ warrants that the bowler dispatches the ball in a state that furnishes the batsman with an equitable opportunity to take a shot at the ball. The principle of ensuring equity and promoting healthy competition is fostered in the domain of cricket.

No ball rules in cricket

In the sport of cricket, a no ball is an instance of an illegitimate delivery by the bowler, which leads to the batting team gaining an extra run and a consequent opportunity for a free hit in games with limited overs. This delivery of illegitimate nature does not contribute towards fulfilling the mandatory quota of six deliveries to complete an over.

In the formats of One-Day and T20 cricket, a subsequent free hit is awarded in the event of a No ball being called. The awarding of free hits in cricket was initially limited to front-foot No balls; however, a modification in 2015 that was sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) has extended the applicability of free hits to include all types of No balls in the context of one-day and T20 cricket.

Irrespective of the type of No ball, the ruling of not declaring the batsman out on the following delivery holds true, except in circumstances involving run-out, stumping, obstruction of the field, or hitting the ball twice. The aforementioned regulation pertains to free hits in both one-day and T20 forms of cricket.

No ball in cricket - how many types?

Cricket comprises a total of fifteen variations of No balls, each determined by distinct modes of delivery by the fielding team. The infractions that incur the penalty of a no ball in cricket comprise of several types, namely front foot no balls resulting from the bowler’s foot crossing the popping crease, back foot no balls that occur upon the trailing foot crossing the return crease, waist height no balls that present themselves when a full toss exceeds the batter’s waist, and no balls triggered by bounces over the head or multiple times.

There are, in addition, restrictions imposed on various methods of delivering the ball in cricket, including the use of balls for throwing (chucking), the execution of underarm deliveries, the act of throwing the ball towards the batter prior to delivery, the failure to notify the umpires of the delivery mode, and the interception of the delivery by a fielder. Further classifications comprise of violations such as exceeding the number of fielders on one side, the failure of the ball to reach the batter, and the presence of the wicket-keeper positioned in front of the stumps. Each transgression incurs an additional point and a costless opportunity for the adversary.


The objectives of these regulations are to establish equity and protection within the game. The prescriptions stipulated in the sport of cricket encompass a broad spectrum of regulations, encompassing details such as the management of the bowler’s stance and the elevation at which the ball is delivered, as well as the positioning of the wicketkeeper and fielders. Any breach of the regulations shall incur a sanction, comprising an additional run and a free hit granted to the team at bat, thereby potentially altering the trajectory of the contest. Hence, strict compliance with the aforementioned regulations on the part of the bowling team assumes paramount significance in preserving the authenticity and equitable nature of the sport.

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