Got people coming over to your house for a barbie? After their bellies are full, why not challenge them to a game of backyard cricket? It’s pretty much an Aussie tradition on a hot day. But don’t forget to follow the rules! Sure, you can make up your own, but if you like, here are some to stick to or add to your list.


Zinc up and get out the bat, ball and wickets. Then make sure you have these rules handy.

Rule 1: One hand off the obstacle – Any catch must be taken with one hand if the ball comes off a house, tree, fence, person…

Rule 2: Six and out – If you hit the ball over the fence, you’re out … plus you have to get the ball.

Rule 3: No LBWs – This ends up being too contentious, unless Dad agrees to be the umpire.

Rule 4: You can’t go out first ball – This is to stop your younger brother from blubbering or so you can give Granny a chance.

Rule 5: Tip and run – You have to run if you hit the ball, no matter how small the hit.

Rule 6: Magic wickets – You can run out a batsman batting alone by hitting the wicket at either end.

Rule 7: Automatic runs – If you hit certain backyard landmarks – a faraway fence or outside dunny, perhaps – you are awarded a prearranged number of runs.

Rule 8: One hand one bounce – Catches can be taken with one hand if the ball only bounces once.

Rule 9: Out on the full – Under this rule the batsman is given out if they hit any stationary object on the full; unless it is a window or Mum hanging out the washing, then it is … well … everyone goes home. You could say: ‘Stumps are drawn’.

Rule 10: Retire on X – All batsmen must retire (give up their turn) once they reach a certain number of runs (such as 20, 50 or 100) to make sure all players receive a fair go, and the game doesn’t go until the wee hours.


Former Aussie cricketer, Steve Waugh led Australia in 15 of the world-record 16 consecutive Test wins and also to the 1999 World Cup title. He played 168 Tests and collected 10,927 runs on the way. Here are his ‘official’ rules for backyard cricket.

Rule 1: First ball reprieve – This is great for those who are terrible at cricket. Go for gold on your first ball, because you can’t lose a wicket. It’s kinda like a warm-up … and a welcome one at that.

Rule 2: One hand, one bounce – You need a drink in one hand, which then opens up the chance to dismiss a batsperson on the first bounce by catching the ball with one hand. Just don’t spill your drink.

Rule 3: Six and out – Smashing a ball over the fence gets you six runs, however you’ll instantly be out and you’ll also probably have to go collect the ball from the neighbours backyard.

Rule 4: No LBW – It’s every man for themselves, so LBW can’t be called at all. So when you’re batting, just stand in front of the wicket as much as you want.

Rule 5: No running between wickets – It’s bloody hot, and you’ve probably just eaten a huge BBQ feast so who wants to run?  Thought so.

Rule 6: Three over spell – If you stay at the crease for longer than three overs, you need to change over. But an over in backyard cricket is a loose term, so bat until someone complains.

Rule 7: Everyone’s a bowler – Everyone MUST bowl, no matter how bad you are. Just pelt it at the batsperson … or the wicket.

Rule 8: Deal breaker – Don’t take it too seriously. It’s all a bit of fun. However, when you hear the sound of glass it’s game over.  And you probably should run and hide.


Denis is a cricket writer and the host of the ‘Can’t Bowl Can’t Throw Cricket Show’ heard nationally Tuesdays at 7pm on EON Sports Radio. Here is his redacted copy of the ICC’s Laws of Backyard Cricket.


1a – First Ball

No player can be dismissed first ball.
The purpose of this law is to ensure your Star Trek loving cousin will at least feel compelled to field for a little bit after you get him out 2nd ball.

1b – Auto Wiki

The ‘auto wiki’ playing conditions vary from ground to ground.  As a general rule, auto wiki will extend to a virtual 3rd slip and may / may not include a leg slip.
In situations where a wicket keeper is present, the match referee may still allow for the auto wiki law to be in force.
The auto wiki never drops a catch. The exception is Pakistan, where the auto wiki rarely holds a catch.

1c – One Hand, One Bounce

The Law is only enforceable when the fielder has his other hand occupied with a beverage contained in a glass vessel or sausage in bread.
The One Hand, One Bounce law ensures that batsmen will attempt to keep the ball along the ground, therefore not losing them in the neighbour’s gum tree or down a gutter in the street.

1d – No LBW:

The bowler can never be trusted to form an impartial view on the bona fides of any LBW appeal.
Therefore, an appeal for LBW is automatically declined the moment the appeal begins.
Batsman deliberately blocking the ball with their legs are deemed to be “shit blokes”.

1e – Six And Out

Selfishly hitting the ball over the fence shall lead to the following procedure being enacted:
1) The batsman shall be awarded 6 runs; and
2) The batsman will be deemed Out; and
3) The batsman must recover the ball.

In the event that the ball is unrecoverable, the following procedure shall be enacted:
1) A new ball shall be found; and
2) Should a new ball be found, the batsman who lost the previous ball will no longer be allowed to bat; and
3) Should no new balls be available, all players shall gather in front of the BBQ and remind the batsman what a terrible human being he is.

1f – DRS

Any child under the age of 16 may ask for a review from an adult once per innings. Tears are known to be an effective way to sway the review in your favour.
A person of any age may ask for a review by the host if at a BBQ.
Law not applicable in India

1g – Magic Wickets

A player will be deemed Run Out if the fielding team throws down either wicket with the batsmen out of his ground.
The fielding team shall be the arbiter of whether the batsman has made his ground.


2a – Standard Over:

The bowler will continue to bowl until either:
1) The batsman asks how many balls left. The bowler is to reply “3” and finish out the over; or
2) Another fielder asks how many balls left. The bowler is to reply “This is my last ball” and finish the over;

2b – Legal Delivery:

Those under 15 years of age may bowl under arm.
The bowling crease shall be loosely marked, either by a crack in the driveway concrete or an imaginary mark on the grass.
The length of the pitch will be variable.


3a – Esky:

The esky shall be placed at either end.
The esky shall be filled with ice and beer.
The esky shall act as the wicket.
Any player spilling the esky will be deemed a “shit bloke”.

3b – Balls:

Only tennis balls shall be allowed.
Taped tennis balls may be used where the pitch is rated dead or you are playing at Damien Fleming’s house.

3c. Dog:

Dogs are to be treated like a loose impediment in golf.
Any ball hitting the dog is “rub of the green”.
Any ball caught by the dog is Out.
Any slobber on the ball is bad luck and must be taken care of by the bowler.

3d – Bat:

Only bats with well worn grips, a fake Allan Border signature and a Gray Nicolls moniker may be used.
Visiting players may bring their own equipment.
Double scoops are prohibited.


4a – End of Match:

The game shall be deemed over when:
1) The ladies have brought out the salad and the sausages are ready; or
2) All the balls have been lost; or
3) [name] is batting / [name] is bowling on the TV; or
4) Bad light stopped play

4b – Damage to the Garden:

All flower damage shall be deemed to have occurred prior to the start of play.

4e – WAGS:

WAGs shall be permitted to bat by either:
1) invitation; or
2) they have fielded for at least 10 minutes; or
3) they have brought food and / or beer to the players at some stage during the day; or
4) they have been looking after the kids.

WAGs shall bat at their own risk, noting that the bowler may be inebriated.

Do you have any rules you’d like to add? Share them in the comments below.

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