Kids playing backyard cricket with a wheelie bin as stumps

Top 12 Rules for Backyard Cricket

The sun is shining and the BBQ is sizzling, it’s time to get the family together for Australia’s favourite summer pastime – Backyard Cricket! 


But as we all know, a friendly game can quickly turn pretty competitive when rules aren’t clearly defined, so we’ve put together our top 12 rules for Backyard Cricket.

Sometimes our enthusiasm to impress Nanna can get the better of us, so think twice about taking that screamer or over extending while diving for the ball. Take care when playing backyard games to avoid an emergency time-out!

Our team will be here if you need us over summer (except the public holidays) for regular care and to deal with any unfortunate festive mishaps. Enjoy the backyard cricket, be super careful with any family footy, and better yet, play it safe with a game of French Cricket!

Wishing you a relaxing and joyful holiday season from the Melbourne Hand Rehab family to yours.

Our Top 12 Rules for Backyard Cricket


1. Choosing teams

  • Teams should be equally balanced in terms of numbers, abilities and sobriety
  • Kids v Adults is a terrible idea and will end in tears (not always the kids’)
  • The dog does not count as a team member, Nanna does


2. Equipment

  • Only tennis balls less than three years old may be used. No taped balls
  • If the dog gets hold of the ball it is the bowler’s responsibility to clean off the slobber
  • Crease must be clearly marked by chalk, a crack in the cement or by a dead section of grass


Black and white dog with old tennis ball in its mouth

3. Wheelie bin wickets

  • Wheelie bins are an easy substitute for cricket wickets, on hand at households and local parks, saving the need to always set and reset. But remember, if the bowler hits anywhere on that green wheelie bin – you’re gone.


4. First ball not out

  • A batsman cannot go out on the first ball
  • This slightly annoying rule has been designed to minimise the amount of tears soaking the lawn
  • No running between wickets (it’s too hot and we’ve all eaten too much dip)


5. No LBW

  • The LBW rule is too hard to enforce
  • Bowlers cannot be trusted to offer an impartial ruling
  • If any batsman is caught deliberately blocking the ball, they will be sent to the end of the BBQ queue at lunch


6. Tippity run

  • If it nicks the bat, you have to run
  • Tears will not be tolerated
  • Hysterical screams of “Tippity run! Tippity run!” can help remind the batsman of the rules


7. Underarm bowling

  • Only permitted for people under the age of 12 and over the age of 78
  • The kids will usually get bored after the first hour, so suck it up and let them have a go


bowlers throws a wet tennis ball during a game of backyard cricket

8. Sledging

  • Sledging is encouraged, but swearing is off-limits – players must get creative instead
  • Acceptable topics include clothing choices, personal hygiene, chosen sports team and grooming ability
  • Mums cannot step in and force the sledging to stop (unless child begins to cry)


9. One hand one bounce

  • If the ball only bounces once, fielders can catch with one hand and batsman is considered out
  • This rule helps avoid the batsman’s temptation to show off


10. Six and out

  • Smashing the ball over the fence or into the pool will get you 6 runs, but you’re automatically out
  • Batsman has to retrieve the ball
  • Any ball caught by the dog falls under the “Six and out” rule
  • This rule is non-negotiable


11. Enforced retirement

Batsman must instantly retire if any ball:

  • Smashes a window
  • Knocks over a plant
  • Hits the cat (the dog can handle it)
  • Hits a small child and causes tears
  • Dents a car
  • Lands in the food


12. End of the match

  • An empty esky is not a reason for the game to end
  • Game shall be deemed over when lunch is ready
  • Game shall be deemed over if all the balls have been hit over the fence and are considered irretrievable
  • Game shall be deemed over if it’s too dark to see anymore


Sausages in BBQ during backyard cricket match

Try a Game of French Cricket 

We like this version of French Cricket, it’s perfect if younger kids are playing or if space is tight. Low risk of injury, high probability of fun!

Equipment: Cricket bat & tennis ball, a few markers for the batter’s 1 metre circle, and 4 eager participants

Batter plants feet firmly together on the ground and must not let the ball hit their legs below the knee, or they’re out. The batter may only turn their feet to face the bowler if they made contact with the previous delivery, otherwise they just have to swivel their body to protect themselves.

Fielders stand around (no closer than 2 metres) and throw the ball to each other or at the batter. Bowlers may choose to throw the ball to each other to catch the batter out from behind. Underarm throws only and only from the spot they retrieved the ball (no running in)

The batter is out if the ball makes contact below their knees or they move their feet while defending themselves. Bowler becomes the next batter.

Regardless of your preferred backyard game, grab some family and friends and enjoy some safe summer fun.

Melbourne Hand Rehab


Image credit: Tadeusz Lakota, Karla Rivera, Bruno Kelzer – Unsplash