How Many Umpires Are There in Cricket?

Total Number of Umpires in Cricket

If you are a cricket enthusiast, being an umpire is a fun job. In cricket, various individuals are tasked with different roles in the game. The role of a cricket umpire is ensuring the match follows the fundamental rules of cricket. Typically, most cricket games appoint two umpires. However, there can be up to five umpires in today’s cricket games depending on various situations in the field. One umpire stands at the square legend and another behind the stumps at the bowler’s end.

Roles of Umpires

The umpires stand at opposite ends of the field. Umpires should be impartial, meaning they should not take any side of the teams. All umpires are required to show up at the area 45 minutes before the start of each game. They should make their presence known to the executive ground officer.

Umpires are in charge of establishing the hours of play. It means that they select the durations of intervals for the game.  Umpires work closely with the team’s captain and consult on various matters. They are tasked with inspecting the area of the stump on a field. The measure is taken to ensure the rules are followed. Umpires must ensure that the player’s equipment meets the required standard of cricket.

In cases of time-wasting, random fights, or pitch damages happen, the umpire must intervene. If a player argues with an umpire, he is fined by the referee who handles disciplinary cases. When there are poor weather conditions during a game, the umpire must give way forward. When umpires are unsure of their decisions, the batsman is consulted.

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The Bowler’s End Umpire

The bowler’s end umpire judges appeals of whether the batsman hit the ball or not. Additionally, he makes various signals involving wides, leg byes, boundaries in the wicket, no balls, etc. In cases where the ball crosses the head height, the square-leg umpire will signal to indicate a wide. He must also adjudicate on the run-outs and stumpings.

The Square Leg End Umpire

The umpire standing at the square legend is in charge of making decisions on the various appeals made. In scenarios where the weather conditions present challenges during the matches, square leg umpires help to simplify the requirements. If the umpire on the pitch is unsure about decisions, the square-leg umpire is consulted. In cricket games, there are two balls, each at opposite ends of the pitch. One ball is, however, not in use. The square leg umpire keeps it and releases it when there is need. Additionally, since he stands next to the batsman, he has the final say if the batsman dragged his feet or not.

The Third Umpire

Remarkably, in this modern error, cricket games sometimes appoint more than two umpires. The International Cricket Council introduced the third umpire in 2008. The objective was to challenge the decisions made in the field by the on-field umpires. The third umpire watches replay videos on television and advices the on-field umpires on the best call to make. The International Panel of ICC Umpires appoints third umpires. His primary responsibility is to finalize the decisions made by the players or the other umpires in the field. In most cases, the third umpire stands on the sidelines.

 Interestingly, the third empire uses replays from videos to make his rulings. The third umpires’ rulings mainly involve stumpings, run-outs, and cases where the ball stops on the boundary. He can only make decisions if the other umpires consult him on the field. The influence of the third umpire is growing since fans are advocating for the use of technology for appeals.

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The Fourth Umpire

In cases of test matches or international matches, there are four umpires appointed. Two of the umpires are on the field, the third one deals with video replays, and the fourth one deals with match balls.  The fourth umpire supplies refreshments for the on-field umpires. He supplies balls and ensures the light meter is fully charged. He also ensures that the pitch is not damaged during tea breaks or lunch breaks. When the third umpire is absent or has an injury, the third umpire will assume the role.


Cricket is an exciting game for all. Umpires play a crucial role in ensuring the game goes as per the plan. They are in charge of making significant decisions concerning the game. They deal with various cricket appeals, keep game records, and ensure delivery laws are followed later. There can be a maximum of five umpires.

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Dave P
Dave P
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