If you’re watching a game of cricket, live in person or on TV, it will help to follow play if you understand the various umpire signals. This is also true for players so please read on.
Cricket Umpire Signals
An Out decision means that the umpire has upheld an appeal by the fielding side and the batsman has been dismissed.
Umpire signal: Raised index finger in the air.
Effect: The batsman is now ‘out’ and must leave the field of play.
2. Not Out
If an ‘out’ decision is successfully overturned on review, the umpire should confirm that the batsman is ‘not out’
Umpire Signal: The signal is made by waving the arms in a sweeping motion out in front of the chest.
Note that if the umpire is turning down an on-field appeal, they do not have to signal not out. A shake of the head or a call of ‘not out’ is sufficient.
3. No Ball
This signal is made when a bowler has sent down an illegal delivery which constitutes a No Ball under the laws.
Umpire Signal: One arm fully extended horizontally.
Effect: One run is added to the batting side’s total (two runs in certain limited overs forms of cricket)
Note that no balls can occur in a number of circumstances including the bowler overstepping or pitching the ball off the wicket.
4. Free Hit
A Free Hit will follow certain types of No Ball deliveries.
Umpire Signal: One hand held above their head and making a circular motion.
Effect: The batsman can now hit the ball without being dismissed, other than by run out, obstructing the field or hit the ball twice.
5. Wide Ball
If a wide ball passes the batsman and is deemed to be out of reach when they are standing in their normal stance.
Umpire Signal: Both arms extended horizontally.
Effect: One run will be added to the batting side’s total and the bowler must deliver that ball again.
Note that wides can also be given based on height.
6. Four Runs
Four runs are signalled when the ball passes the boundary after bouncing at least once.
Umpire Signal: The signal is made by sweeping the right hand across the body three or four times.
Effect: Four runs will be added to the batting side’s total.
If the four runs come as a result of byes, leg byes, no balls or wides, the umpire will make the relevant signal before signalling four runs.
7. Six Runs
Six runs are scored when the batsman hits the ball over the boundary without it bouncing.
Umpire Signal: Both arms held high above their head.
Effect: Six runs are then added to the batting side’s total
A bye is scored when the ball travels past the stumps and the batsmen are able to run. The ball must not hit the bat or any part of their body.
Umpire Signal: One arm held extended above their head.
Effect: The number of runs completed will be added to the team total
9. Leg Bye
Leg byes are scored when the batsmen run after the ball has hit the batter’s leg or any part of their body, excluding the glove.
Umpire Signal: Raising a knee and tapping it with their hand.
Effect: The number of completed runs are added to the batting team total.
If a ball bounces above shoulder level, the umpire will signal a bouncer.
Umpire Signal: The signal is made by the umpire tapping their right shoulder.
Effect: The bowler and batsmen are made aware that a bouncer has been called and the relevant restrictions on short pitched bowling apply.
11. DRS or Third Umpire
The batting or fielding side can call for the decision review system if they want an on field decision reviewed.
Umpire Signal: Forming a square with their hands.
Effect: The third umpire will review the decision and either uphold or overturn it.
12. Dead Ball
A dead ball can be called in a number of circumstances. Typically, the batter may pull away when the bowler is in their delivery stride.
Umpire Signal: The umpire will sweep both arms across their knees and call ‘dead ball’.
Effect: The dead ball is not counted as a delivery and must be bowled again.
13. Short Run
If a batsman fails to ground their bat beyond the popping crease, the umpire should declare a short run.
Umpire Signal: The umpire will tap their shoulder with their arm extended and call ‘one short’
Effect: The incomplete run will not be added to the batting side’s total.
14. Penalty Runs
Penalty runs are awarded to batting or bowling sides for a number of different offences.
Umpire Signal: The umpire brings his or her hand across their chest and places it on their shoulder. If they tap their shoulder, runs go to the batting side but, if the hand stays in place, runs go to the fielding side.
Effect: The number of runs, usually 5, will be added to the respective team’s total.
15. Revoke Decision
A decision is revoked if it is overturned by the third umpire on review
Umpire Signal: The umpire will cross their arms across their chest and then make a sweeping motion below their waist.
Effect: The original decision is then overturned.
Powerplays apply in limited overs cricket with fielding restrictions in place.
Umpire Signal: The umpire rotates their arm in the air in a ‘windmill’ motion.
Effect: The relevant powerplay will now commence.
17. Soft Signal
The soft signal is an indication to the third umpire as to what the decision is more likely to be.
Umpire Signal: The umpire will make either the regular out or not out signals.
Effect: The third umpire has to disprove the soft signal beyond doubt or they will uphold it.
18. New Ball
A new ball can be taken after every 80 overs in first class cricket.
Umpire Signal: The umpire holds the new ball in the direction of the scorers.
Effect: The fielding side will now take the new ball.
19. Last Hour
First class cricket has a final hour in place on the last day of the match.
Umpire Signal: Wrist held above their head and pointing to their watch.
Effect: The last hour will now commence.
20. Cancel Call
If, for any reason, the umpire has made an incorrect decision, they can use the cancel call signal.
Umpire Signal: Arms crossed and touching the shoulders with the opposite hand.
Effect: The original signal is now cancelled and will no longer stand.
Having read through these signals, you should now be able to have a greater understanding of cricket. Who knows, you may even take that knowledge a stage further and become a local umpire yourself.