Free Hit Rules in Cricket

Updated on: Jul 4, 2023 3:39 pm IST

Free Hit Rules in Cricket

Cricket is a sport known for its intricacies and unique set of rules. One such rule that has added excitement and drama to the game is the introduction of the “Free Hit.” So, what are Free Hit Rules in Cricket?

What is a Free Hit?

A Free Hit is a delivery that follows a no-ball due to overstepping or a front-foot illegal delivery (usually a foot fault by the bowler). When a no-ball is called by the umpire, the subsequent delivery is designated as a Free Hit. This means that the batsman cannot be dismissed by any means other than a run-out.

The Free Hit rule, introduced in 2007 by the International Cricket Council (ICC), has had a significant impact on the dynamics of the game.

Free Hit Rules in Cricket

A no-ball can occur for various reasons, such as the bowler overstepping the popping crease or delivering a high full-toss above waist height. Once the umpire signals a no-ball, the subsequent delivery is declared a Free Hit. This gives the batting side an opportunity to score runs without the risk of losing their wicket, except in the case of a run-out.

Implications of the Free Hit Rule

The introduction of the Free Hit rule has added an extra dimension to the game. It has made the bowlers more cautious, as a no-ball not only results in an extra run but also gives the batsman a chance to unleash their shots without fear of dismissal. Additionally, it has provided batsmen with an opportunity to capitalize on a poor delivery and score freely, thereby increasing the scoring rate.

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Impact on the Bowling Strategies

The Free Hit rule has forced bowlers to be more disciplined with their deliveries, as any overstepping can prove costly. It has also led to creative field placements and variations in deliveries to restrict the batsman’s scoring opportunities. Bowlers need to be careful not to give away unnecessary runs, as a Free Hit can quickly change the momentum of a game.

While the Free Hit rule has added excitement to the game, it has also faced criticism and controversies. Some argue that it overly favors the batsmen, as they can play freely without the fear of getting out. Critics also claim that the rule puts additional pressure on the bowlers, who must be more cautious and precise in their deliveries.

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