Understanding fielding restrictions in Test Cricket

fielding restrictions in test cricket

Test cricket is known for being the oldest format of cricket sport. Above all, it has been used to test a team’s cricketing aptitude and general competency in playing cricket. With such good use, there are also some restrictions imposed on every format of a cricket match. One of them is known as fielding restrictions in test cricket. It not only acts as a limitation but rather as a means for better strategic playing and imposing a courageous game impact. Even more useful as it serves as invisible cords that make up the entirety of the cricket game and add layers to its structure.

These functionalities let us understand more the fielding restrictions in test cricket. Thus, allows us to know its purpose, applications, and workings once imposed. In this post, we are going to examine the fielding restrictions even more and know how they work in the test cricket format. 

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What are Fielding Restrictions in Test Cricket?

Regarding fielding restrictions in test cricket, there are almost no limits regarding such rules. Test cricket fielding restrictions do not impose where exactly each fielder must stand. However, with the exception that the two people must be behind the square leg boundary, which is the core rule. The captain of the team has the freedom to create a dynamic field based on the current situation. However, in all forms of cricket, including test cricket, only two fielders are permitted in the area separating square leg and long stop as mentioned earlier.

It is important to take note that regardless of overall positioning, no fielder can be on the pitch (central area) at the moment of the bowler’s delivery until the batsman has played or attempted to play the ball. Overall, the captains have the freedom to deploy the other fielders within the boundaries. However, except for the two people in the square leg boundary. As it can be one way to increase their chances of winning.

What is power play fielding?

The term “Powerplay” is more relevant and implemented in limited–overs cricket formats, especially with One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty 20 (T20) cricket. The powerplay is a specific period in a match where at the beginning of an innings the fielding restrictions are eased and lifted. Thus, allowing the batting team to score more runs and providing them with the best advantage over the fielding team. However, the powerplay also can be used by bowlers to capitalize on their fielding advantage by putting additional fielders around the batsman. This only makes it more difficult to score runs and increases the likelihood of dismissals throughout the runouts.

What are the cricket fielding rules?

In cricket, fielding refers to the act of catching the ball after it is struck by the batter and returning it to the bowler. This is to restrict the number of runs that the batsman scores in the said cricket match. However, this can be achieved by running out a batter before they can finish their current run or by catching a hit ball before it bounces.

Concerning the meaning of fielding in cricket, let us understand two major rules that apply to it. 

Limitations of Side Fielders

If the bowler delivers, there should not be more than two side fielders. But, it does not count the wicketkeeper on the playing field. The fielder should be behind the line unless his or her entire body, whether grounded or in the air, is in front of the line. However, in the event of a violation of this rule by a fielder, the striker’s end umpire will call and suggest No Ball.

Fielders Not to Trespass on Pitch

During play and until the ball has passed the striker’s bat, contacted their body, or both. No fielder aside from the bowler—may have any part of their body grounded on or stretched over the pitch. However, the bowler’s end umpire is compelled to call and signal No ball as fast as possible, following ball delivery in the case that any fielder, aside from the wicketkeeper, breaks this existing rule on trespass on the pitch.

Overall, these are some of the fielding restrictions in test cricket, and hope you get some idea of its applicable rules. 

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How many fielders are allowed?

In test cricket, there is no restriction on the total number of fielders allowed on the field at any given time. However, there is a certain restriction that applies in the entire innings. There should be two fielders behind the square leg on the pitch. This is a major rule that they should be positioned in the field behind the square leg borderline. However, beyond this mentioned restriction in Test Cricket, captains have the power to deploy the remaining eight fielders. While excluding the bowler and wicketkeeper within the boundaries of the playing field. Therefore, there is no overall limit on the total number of fielders.

Here is how you can calculate the follow-on in test cricket.

What does outside the circle in T20 mean?

In T20 cricket, the term “outside the cricket” is about the fielders who are positioned outside the 30-yard circle around the center of the wicket. This circle is an important reference point for Powerplay Fielding Restrictions. In the case of powerplay, these given restrictions limit the number of fielders that are allowed outside the 30-yard circle. Typically, two or four fielders are allowed, depending on the specific tournament rules. However, during non-powerplay, there is no given restriction on the number of fielders outside the circle. Captains can deploy all their fielders anywhere on the playing field.


The fielding restrictions in test cricket may not be as many as others and almost nothing at all. Nevertheless, it adds a layer of strategic depth and shape to the flow of the cricket matches. Still, the two-fielder behind square leg should be followed above all. In essence, the fielding restrictions are beyond its imposed limitations. They serve a purpose for the game, promoting a balance on the playing field and ultimately contributing to the actions in the cricket match. In the end, it gives a captivating charm and appeal to the test cricket games. In such great purpose, fielding restrictions in test cricket play a crucial role by all means.

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