The rules that govern the game of cricket can be found in the ‘Laws of Cricket’ from The Official MCC Website.

What we typically think of as the rules of cricket are in fact a set of laws that are overseen by the MCC ( Mareylebone Cricket Club) in London, for more on this go to the section on the history of cricket.

The MCC are the framers of cricket’s laws.

These rules or laws as they are known have evolved over hundreds of years, going back to what is believed to be the the first known records of the game in England, in the middle ages.

In 1299-1300 it is recorded in the Royal Wardrobe Accounts for the then Prince Edward the II, to play ‘creag’ and other games.

It is too tenuous to suggest that ‘creag’ is the game that cricket is based upon, but games like ‘creag’ and ‘criquet’, a variation of club ball, (a game that Edward the III had sought to eradicate in 1369), are believed to be the early origins of what we now know as cricket.

In 1744 the rules/laws of cricket had been codified and in 1788 were revised by the Marylebone Cricket Club, they covered the length of the pitch, the distance between creases, wicket size, and ball weight.

The MCC version was not immediately accepted, nor necessarily applied with any consistency, but over time they became the standard by which clubs and counties began to apply rules to the game.

The codification and revisions in 1744 and 1788 are the foundations of the rules of cricket that are applied universally throughout the cricketing world today, they are amended when it is appropriate to keep pace with the game’s development.

Major changes were brought in to accommodate players wearing pads and ( the LBW law ) and over arm bowling.

On 1st October 2010, a new edition of the Laws of Cricket came into force. This edition, known as the 2000 Code 4th Edition – 2010, is displayed on the MCC website and is the most up to date version, for use in all competitions.

Spirit of Cricket

Since the introduction of the 2000 Code, the Spirit of Cricket Preamble has been an important feature, providing the context in which the game is intended to be played.

Learn more about the Spirit of Cricket and MCC’s initiatives to promote it.

MCC’s Open Learning Manual is a comprehensive guide for umpires and students of the Laws who want to gain a better understanding of the Laws and their application.

The Laws of Cricket cover :

Law 1 : The Players

Law 2 : Subs and Runners, Batsman or Fieldsman Leaving The Field, Batsman Retiring, Commencing Innings

Law 3 : The Umpires

Law 4 : The Scorers

Law 5 : The Ball

Law 6 : The Bat

Law 7 : The Pitch

Law 8 : The Wicket

Law 9 : The Bowling, Popping and Return Creases

Law 10 : Preparation And Maintenance Of The Playing Area

Law 11 : Covering The Pitch

Law 12 : Innings

Law 13 : The Follow-On

Law 14 : Declaration And Forfeiture

Law 15 : Intervals

Law 16 : Start Of Play; Cessation Of Play

Law 17 : Practice On The Field

Law 18 : Scoring Runs

Law 19 : Boundaries

Law 20 : Lost Ball

Law 21 : The Result

Law 22 : The Over

Law 23 : Dead Ball

Law 24 : No Ball

Law 25 : Wide Ball

Law 26 : Bye And Leg Bye

Law 27 : Appeals

Law 28 : The Wicket Is Down

Law 29 : Batsman Out Of His Ground

Law 30 : Bowled

Law 31 : Timed Out

Law 32 : Caught

Law 33 : Handled The Ball

Law 34 : Hit The Ball Twice

Law 35 : Hit Wicket

Law 36 : Leg Before Wicket

Law 37 : Obstructing The Field

Law 38 : Run Out

Law 39 : Stumped

Law 40 : The Wicket-Keeper

Law 41 : The Fielder

Law 42 : Fair And Unfair Play