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No Ball in Cricket Explained and the Different Types of No Ball

No Ball in Cricket Explained and the Different Types of No Ball by 11ic Blog

If you're just starting to play or watch cricket, a "no ball" can be one of the complicated things to wrap your head around.

Simply put, a no ball is a delivery by the bowler that does not fall within the rules of the game. Cricket has a complex set of rules designed primarily to ensure it is a fair game.

If you go to watch cricket you will find that balls are not signaled and called by the umpire regularly enough, especially in formats such as T20 and One day cricket.

Why this rule exist?

Without the ability to call a no ball, bowlers would be free to use tactics and techniques that give them an advantage and make it nearly impossible for the bowler to hit the ball. Some of these methods can even endanger the bowler.

If a no ball is called, the major methods of dismissal are ruled out for that delivery (bowled, LBW, and caught), and there is usually a free run and the pitcher must bowl again. A no ball also results in a free hit, where the batter can swing without fear of being put out. Runs scored off the no ball also count.

Brace yourself as we discuss all the different ways a bowler can be called out for a no ball! Some of these you'll see in virtually every cricket match you watch, while others you'll only see once in a while.

Front Foot

The rules state that part of the bowler's front foot must be behind the crease when bowling, that is, as the ball leaves their hand. As long as part of the foot is behind at this point, it's a legal delivery, and even if the foot slips forward, it's legal. However, if the foot crosses the line, it will be called as a no ball.

Bowler Touching the Return Crease

There are vertical lines on either side of the stump which represent the return crease and the bowler must stay within these lines when throwing. If one foot swerves to the side, it's a no-ball.


It is a no-ball and cannot be confused with a mistake. No underarm bowling is allowed in modern cricket, although it was quite common.


Another common reason a no ball is called is that it may endanger the batsman. If the pitch is above waist height when it reaches the pitcher as a full toss, it must be scored as a no ball.

Multiple Bounces or Outside of the Strip

If the ball bounces more than once before it hits the batter, it is a no ball. Deliveries can only bounce once and cannot roll on the ground.

Over Head Height

If the ball is higher than the batter's head when he hits it, it's a no ball, regardless of whether it bounced. The square-leg umpire makes this call because he has the best view, and he decides based on the height of the batter, not position. If they crouch, it makes no difference.

Bowler Hits Wickets

If the bowler runs into the wickets and catches them with their delivery stride, a no ball is called. This is a relatively recent addition to the rules. This means that bowlers must be careful not to hit the wicket when bowling.

Failure to Declare Action

Before bowling, you must assert the action you are going to use. If you suddenly go around the wicket after saying you were about to bowl over or change the arm you're using, it's called a no ball. You must give a warning of your intended method.

Throwing Rather Than Bowling

The Bowler arm must be directly on the delivery point. This is called "bowling" instead of "throwing", but if there is more than one corner of 15 degrees, it is considered a throw and it must be called a no ball.

Fielder Intercepting the Ball

If any fielder including the wicket-keeper intercepts the delivery before it reaches the striker and gives him a chance to play the ball, it should be called no ball. You may never see this in your lifetime watching cricket.

Leg Side Fielding Restrictions

This is rare, but you see, there's a chance it could happen due to a field error. A leg side no ball is called when field time has more than two fielders behind the square leg.

Wicket Keeper in Front of the Stumps

Even if the bowler throws a perfectly legal pitch, the wicketkeeper must take the ball behind the stumps unless the ball has hit the batter's clothing, body, or bat when counting as a strike.

Back Foot

One of the simplest rules is that the back foot should not break the return crease of the back foot. Rarely to see these rules violated

Ball Stops Before Striker’s Wicket

Of course, if the ball doesn't even reach the bowler's wicket, it's a no ball. This does not usually occur in professional play, but can occur in village cricket, or sometimes when a professional bowler slips or the ball slips out of hand on the way to deliver.

Throwing the Ball Before Delivery

This is another very rare no ball. When the bowler throws the ball forward before throwing it. Otherwise, there could be an attempt to prevent batters from stealing a run quickly.

Dangerous Bowling

This is open to certain interpretations and is intended to give referees more control over the play in front of them.


If you've watched cricket and noticed a lot of wide balls, you might be wondering why they're called that. When you first start watching, this can be one of many confusing elements, along with pitch positions, scoring, and some of the terminology. Our guide tries to make it much easier to understand the ways in which a no ball can be judged.

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