Cricket is a beloved sport that has attracted players and spectators across the globe for centuries. Its roots can be traced back to the 16th century in England. The free hit rule is one of the sport’s most exciting and integral components that has been introduced in the game recently. This rule allows a batsman to hit the ball and gain runs regardless of the outcome of the ball.
Free hit deliveries have changed the way the game is played. As a result, coaches have become increasingly creative in their approach to making the most of the free hit rule. In this blog post, we will explore the history of the free hit, its evolution, and the strategies that have been developed to maximize its impact.
Definition of a Free Hit in cricket
A free hit in cricket is a play in which the batting team is granted an extra delivery, but with no risk of being dismissed. This is awarded when a no-ball is called by the umpires. During a free hit, the batsman can score as many runs as he or she can, but cannot be out. The only way a batsman can be dismissed during a free hit is through a run out. The other nine players on the fielding team have to remain in the same fielding positions as they were at the start of the delivery.
Explanation of when a free hit is awarded
A free hit in cricket is awarded when a no-ball is bowled by a bowler. This rule is applicable only for all ODI and T20 matches. This means that the ball was legally deemed to be a no-ball. Therefore, the batsman is not liable to be dismissed on the delivery of the ball. When a free hit is awarded, the batsman can only be dismissed by the fielding team through the method of run out. Additionally, the batsman is unable to be stumped off the free hit delivery.
Rules governing the free hit
The free hit is an enhancement of the no-ball rules to further protect the batsman. It is governed by the following rules:
- A free hit shall be awarded after any no-ball.
- The ball following the no-ball shall be a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it.
- The batsman can only be dismissed off the free hit under the conditions that apply for a no-ball dismissal.
- The batsman will not be given out LBW off a free hit, regardless of the delivery.
- Fielders are not allowed to move until the ball has been touched by the batsman, except the two fielders who can remain behind the popping crease.
How a free hit differs from a no-ball
A free hit is a delivery in cricket which does not count as a ball and hence, there is no chance of a wicket being taken off the delivery. The batsman can play without any fear of dismissal and hence, can take a more aggressive approach. The umpire signals a free hit by raising his arm and calling out ‘Free Hit’. It is awarded as a result of a no-ball being bowled or a batsman being obstructed while running between the wickets. The free hit follows the no-ball and all runs scored off the free hit delivery will be added to the score. The batsman is able to take a single or multiple runs off the free hit delivery.
Benefits of a free hit for the batsman
Free hits in cricket provide the batsman with a number of benefits. Firstly, a free hit provides the batsman with an opportunity to score runs without risk. Since the delivery of a free hit cannot dismiss the batsman, he is able to play the ball without much worry and hit the ball hard to make it a boundary or over-boundary.
A free hit provides the batsman with an opportunity to hit the ball further and score more runs. Finally, free hits provide the batsman with an opportunity to play a shot without a fielder being allowed to take a catch.
Strategies for bowlers when a free hit is in play
A free hit gives the batting team one additional delivery of the same ball without any penalty. To prevent the batsmen to take the opportunity, bowlers should be aware of the following strategies:
- Avoid attempting to bowl a yorker if you are not confident. Doing this could result in a wide delivery for an additional run.
- Bowl a slower delivery and try to bowl the batsman out on a slower, more comfortable delivery.
- Bowl a short-pitched delivery to prevent the batsman from getting in a scoring position.
- Bowl a full-length delivery, targeting the batsman’s stumps.
- Aim to bowl a delivery that will be difficult to hit for a six.
- Bowl an off-cutter, as this could surprise the batsman.
- Bowl a bit wide delivery that the batsman will find difficult to hit towards the boundary.
What field changes can be made for a free hit delivery?
During a free hit delivery, the fielders must remain in the same position they were standing in when the illegal delivery occurred. They are not allowed to change their fielding positions, even if they deem it strategically beneficial. This is to ensure that the team batting receives the same treatment that they should have received prior to the illegal delivery.
Does a batsman have any special privileges during a free hit delivery?
A batsman is afforded certain privileges during a free hit delivery in cricket. These privileges are in place to enable the batsman to play the ball more freely, as they are not liable to be dismissed when playing a shot.
How does a free hit differ from other deliveries?
A free hit differs from other deliveries in a number of ways. For example, the batting team is not liable to lose a wicket on that one delivery. Instead, the batting team is given the opportunity to score runs without the risk of being dismissed.
When will a free hit be taken?
A free hit will be taken after certain types of no-ball have been bowled by the fielding team, such as a full-toss above waist-height or a delivery that is greater than the width of the batsman’s body.
Free hits have been a great addition to cricket and have given batsmen more freedom to take risks and score runs. Although the introduction of free hits in cricket has led to more aggressive batting, the game has become more exciting and the outcome of matches can hinge on a single delivery. Ultimately, free hits have been a great addition to the game of cricket and will continue to revolutionize the sport for years to come.