How Many Players Are in a Cricket Team?

England’s 11 (and twelfth man) after winning the 2015 Ashes – Image Source

How many players are in a cricket team? Cricket is a sport that is enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and one of the most crucial elements that makes up the foundation of the game is the number of players in a cricket team, which very rarely varies (unless you’re playing with your mates at the park of course).

Cricket teams have 11 players in virtually every instance.

Understanding the Basics of Cricket

Cricket is a sport that originated in England and has spread across the world to become one of the most popular sports. The objective of the game is for one team to score more runs than the other while the opposing team tries to prevent them from doing so.

It is played in innings with each team taking turns to bat and bowl. The batting team tries to score as many runs as possible, while the fielding team tries to take ten wickets by getting all ten batters out.

This rule of getting the ten batters out is crucial to the reason there are eleven batters. A batter cannot be at the crease alone, and they need a partner at the other end. So, in a team of 11, there will always end up being a batter who is “not out”.

The Composition of a Cricket Team

Within the eleven players who all have different roles to play in the game. These roles include batsmen, bowlers, and wicketkeepers. Everybody in the team fields, and if the innings are completed, everyone bats.

Batsmen have the goal of scoring runs by hitting the ball into open spaces on the field and running (or better, hitting the ball over the boundaries).

Bowlers try to get the batsmen out in one of the numerous methods that can be used for taking wickets, or failing this, make it hard to score runs. Wicketkeepers are responsible for catching the ball and stumping the batsman if they leave their crease.

The modern game sees a lot of players who can do more than one role. Wicket keepers are expected to be able to bat, and a lot of players can both bat and bowl (these tend to be the players that people pay big-money for in the auctions). So as well as the question of how many players are in a cricket team, their roles should absolutely be considered.

Considerations When Picking a Team

There are three different formats of cricket: Test cricket, One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 (T20) cricket. Each format has a specific number of overs, which are a set of six deliveries bowled by a single bowler.

The number of players in each team stays the same, but the way the teams are picked may not be!

Test Cricket and Longer Formats

Test cricket is the longest format of the game and is played over five days. In domestic cricket, there are also four-day games that have a longer format, similar to test cricket.

Each side plays two innings, and the team with the highest overall score at the end of the game wins. In test cricket, of course, each team consists of 11 players. As the bowlers can bowl as many overs as they are able to, there is not so much emphasis on having six or seven bowling options like in some formats.

Here is an example of a scorecard showing the 11 batters in a recent four-day game.

BatterHow OutBowlerRunsBalls4s6sMinsSR
Streetc Nisbetb Tremain945107020.00
Lovellc Edwardsb Tremain01400210.00
Claytonlbwb Tremain010010.00
Bryantc Nikitarasb Nisbet3357508857.89
McDermottlbwb Edwards12000255.00
Peirsonlbwb Edwards614101542.86
Wildermuthlbwb Sangha2450306948.00
Bartlettc Hughesb Tremain7075758993.33
Steketeec Edwardsb Tremain1300433.33
Swepsonc Konstasb Tremain010010.00
Vidlernot out0900140.00
Total(48.1 overs)144 all out

One-Day Cricket and One-Day Internationals (ODIs)

ODIs are played over a single day and consist of two innings, each limited to a maximum of 50 overs. The team that scores the most runs at the end of the game wins. In ODIs, each team consists of 11 players, but bowlers are limited in how many overs they can bowl, which means that all-rounders have become more valuable.

When picking the teams, players who can both bat and bowl are very valuable as they help with the rotation. In a 50 over game, players can bowl a maximum of 10 overs each, so somebody who is known mainly as a batter may also do some bowling.

Twenty20 (T20) Cricket

T20 cricket is the shortest format of the game and each team is limited to a maximum of 20 overs. The team that scores the most runs at the end of the game wins.

11 players is still the norm here, but once again, the roles of the players might vary. For instance, somebody like Glenn Maxwell may have huge value, as he is known for being an explosive batter and still being able to bowl well, too. The all-round player is more of a consideration in these formats.

Substitutes and Extra Players

In certain circumstances, cricket teams are allowed to have substitutes and “12th men” to step in as required, but there will always be 11 men on the pitch at a given time, for the fielding team (two for the batting team).

The 12th Man

The 12th man is a substitute player who is available to field in the place of an injured player. The 12th man is not allowed to bat, bowl, or keep wicket during the game. However, up until the start of the game, the 12th man can step in and play instead of another player if there is an injury.

Village Cricket

Cricket isn’t just a game for the pros. Asking how many players are in a cricket team should also refer to the lower levels of the game, and this means we need to think about the team playing on their village green this Saturday.

In these games, if somebody doesn’t show up or play then it is likely that a team may play with fewer men. This is allowed by the umpires in most cases. Cricket is a good-natured sport, so the opposition may even donate their 12th man to the cause and let them field for the opposition.


In the professional level of the sport, eleven players is the norm for all cricket teams. In the park, at nets, or in other amateur levels you may see teams have to play with fewer players to make ends meet.

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