Cricket Umpires

The umpire presides over the game, interpreting and implementing the laws of the game and ensuring it is played in the right spirit.

The umpires discuss the use of an aluminium bat by Australian player Dennis Lillee during the 1st  Test between England and Australia in Perth in December 1979. They insisted that Lillee subsequently use a traditional wooden bat for the remainder of his innings.

All cricket matches have two on-field umpires. Matches which have television cameras at the ground have a third umpire. The two on-field umpires are located at different locations on the field. One stands at the opposite end of the crease to the batter. This umpire watches the bowling and batting. The other umpire stands adjacent to the batter, monitoring the stumps and observing any run outs.

The umpire uses a range of hand and arm movements to signal various decisions.



Signalled by pointing the index finger up. ‘Not out’ is indicated by a shake of the head.


No Ball

A ball that is illegally bowled (Law 24), for example because it is dangerous, it has been thrown, or because the bowler’s feet are incorrectly positioned at the point of delivery. Usually signalled by holding one arm out horizontally and calling ‘no-ball’. One run is added to the batting team’s total and the ball is re-bowled.



A ball judged by the umpire to be too far from the batter to be hit within a normal stroke (Law 25). A wide is signaled by extending both arms out horizontally and is accompanied by a call ‘wide ball’. One run is added to the batting team’s total and the ball is re-bowled.


Dead Ball

A ball no longer considered in play (Law 23). Signalled by crossing and uncrossing the wrists below the waist with the call ‘dead ball’.




Used when a batter scores four runs by hitting the ball across the boundary (not by actually running them). Signalled by waving the arm back and forth in front of the chest. This signal must finish with the arm across the chest to avoid confusion with the ‘no ball’ signal.



A six is scored by hitting the ball over the boundary on the full and is signalled by the umpire raising both hands above the head.



A run scored which is not off the bat or person (Law 26). For runs to be scored as byes, the batters must run. The umpire holds one open palm above the head to signal a bye(s).


Leg Bye

A leg bye is scored when the batter has made an attempt to strike the ball, misses and the
ball hits the batsman. The batters must have completed a run to score. Leg byes often result when the ball makes contact with the batter’s body. Signalled by the umpire touching a raised knee.



Short Run

When a batter turns to complete a second or subsequent run without grounding his or
her body or bat behind the popping crease. Signalled by tapping the fingers on the
shoulder. The short runs are not recorded


New Ball

In unlimited over games, a new ball can be requested by the fielding captain after 80 consecutive overs. Signalled by the umpire at the batter’s end of the pitch holding the new ball above the head (Laws 5 and 24).




A break for ‘Lunch’, ‘Tea’ or ‘Stumps’ is usually signalled by the umpire raising a hand to the mouth or by pointing to the pavilion.

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