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Know How Did The Cricketing Fielding Positions Get Their Names

Unveiling Cricket's Lexicon: Exploring the Origins of Fielding Position Names

Know How Did The Cricketing Fielding Positions Get Their Names

Cricket, often termed as a gentleman’s game, is steeped in tradition and history. From its humble beginnings in England centuries ago to becoming a global phenomenon today, cricket has evolved in many ways. One fascinating aspect lies in the nomenclature of its fielding positions, each carrying a unique history and significance. Let’s delve into the origins of these names, unraveling the rich tapestry of cricket’s heritage.

Cricket Fielding Positions: A Strategic Guide | by Sports324 | Medium

  1. Slips: The name "slips" originates from the early days of cricket when fielders stood very close to the batsman, and any deflected ball would 'slip' past them, typically resulting in a missed opportunity. Over time, this position evolved to a more strategic placement behind the batsman, aiding in catching edges off the bat.

  2. Gully: This position's name finds its roots in the 19th century, referencing the natural channels or 'gullies' on the field where water would flow during rains. Fielders in the gully stand beside the slips and are well-placed to catch deflections off the bat that travel square of the wicket.

  3. Point: Positioned near the backward point region, this fielder is called the "point." The term likely stems from the concept of pointing the fielder towards that specific angle or point behind square on the off side.

  4. Cover: The cover position is located straighter on the off side, covering the area between point and mid-off. Its name comes from covering the region straight in front of the batsman's off-stump, emphasizing its strategic importance in restricting runs.

  5. Mid-off and Mid-on: These positions are named based on their relative placement to the batting crease. Mid-off is positioned roughly halfway between the non-striker's end and the bowler’s end, while mid-on is its counterpart on the leg side. These positions are crucial for stopping straight shots down the ground.

  6. Square leg and Fine leg: "Square leg" refers to the fielder positioned at a right angle from the batsman on the leg side, covering the square area. Conversely, "fine leg" is finer, closer to the leg stump. The terms describe the angular positions relative to the batsman's stance.

  7. Third man: Positioned finer than the slips on the off side, the name "third man" is thought to have originated from the gambling game of three-card monte, where the 'third man' had a crucial role, much like this fielder who often saves boundaries.

  8. Deep positions (long-on, long-off, deep midwicket, deep square leg): These positions are named based on their distance from the batsman and the angle they cover. "Long-on" and "long-off" are straight and deep, while "deep midwicket" and "deep square leg" are angled towards the leg side, but deep to prevent boundary hits.

  9. Short leg and Silly point: These close-catching positions are aptly named due to their proximity to the batsman. "Short leg" stands close on the leg side, while "silly point" is very close to the batsman on the off side, with fielders often having to be quite brave or "silly" to field in such a dangerous position.

  10. Wicketkeeper: Lastly, the wicketkeeper is named for their primary duty of guarding the wicket. They stand right behind the batsman, ready to catch any deflection off the bat or execute a stumping or run-out.

Understanding the etymology behind these fielding positions not only adds depth to cricketing knowledge but also highlights the game's rich history and evolution. Next time you watch a cricket match, take a moment to appreciate the significance of each fielding position and its intriguing name, connecting the modern game to its storied past.