Gully in cricket is an aggressive field position where the fielder stands close to the slip cordon but deeper and almost square to the batsman. He is there to take catches if the batsman tries to play a cut shot.
Have you ever wondered what is a gully in cricket? Is it the same as a slip fielder? If you have also been confused about this particular fielding position, don’t worry. We will explain everything that you need to know here.
Although cricket is essentially considered to be a sport that’s played between a batsman and a bowler, fielders are as important in the game. Sure, the battle between bat and ball is extremely exciting and provides for interesting viewing, but a match is quite often decided on the basis of the fielding.
An old cricket adage suggests that ‘catches win matches.’ Good fielding can often prove to be the difference between two teams on any given day. Stopping the flow of runs, taking outlandish catches and restricting boundaries is the primary job of any responsible fielder.
This is the reason why different field positions are marked depending on which zone a particular player is occupying with respect to the field, the boundary ropes and the pitch. Field positions are numerous and they can be often confusing and difficult to keep a track of.
Fielding positions can also be of two types: off side or leg side, depending on whether a player is standing on the side of the batsman’s leg or the opposite. Field positions can also be varied in nature. They can be aggressive or defensive depending upon the choice of the captain and the team management.
Aggressive field positions are usually employed to induce a wicket. A bowler delivers the ball into areas where a batsman is likely to hit and the chances of the fielder taking a catch at the point are higher. A defensive field is usually utilized to restrict the flow of runs or to protect the boundary.
The rules of cricket also state that only two fielders are allowed outside the inner 30-yard circle during the powerplay in ODI and T20I cricket.
Now that we’ve discussed what fielding is, let’s talk about what gully in cricket means and what makes a player a good gully fielder.
Gully in cricket: What is it and why is it used?
A gully is an aggressive field position in cricket. It is an extension of the slip cordon but the gully fielder stands squarer and deeper than the slips. The gully fielder is almost square to the batsman.
A fielder standing at gully would essentially be standing on the imaginary straight line that extends from the on-side corner of a batsman’s popping crease to the middle stump towards the slip cordon.
In fact, that entire area of the field is also called gully in cricket. It is the part of a cricket field where one of the slip fielders (known as gully) stands. It is located on the off side just behind the square of the wicket.
The position of the gully was invented by Arthur Jones at the Bedford Modern School in Bedford. Jones later went on to become England captain and is a noted former all-rounder of the game.
While it may sound similar to gully cricket, the two are completely different entities. Gully is a field position in cricket while gully cricket is essentially street cricket that is extremely common in India.
Gully in cricket: Exact fielding positions
The gully is expected to be in the game when a batter tries to cut the ball off the back foot. If the ball is mishit, a catch is on in that position. If it is played down the gully is there to save the boundary with a reaction stop, often requiring a dive.
As the ball comes off the face of the bat when hit through the gully, it usually travels faster than it typically does to the slips where it is mostly edged. Therefore, the orthodox gully fielder often needs to stand deeper in order to accommodate for the ball speed and allow time to make a quick dive or a reflex action.
However, that also depends on the nature of the wicket where the match is being played. On fast wickets, standing deeper is a good idea as the ball mostly ends up carrying through the distance. However, if the match is being played on a slow wicket, gully fielders will have to be brave and get closer to the batsman even if it might make them uncomfortable. On slow wickets, the ball doesn’t travel as fast or gets high in the air.
How square a gully fielder needs to stand often depends on the match situation as well as a knowledge of where the batsman is likely to hit the ball. A good rule of thumb is to follow the imaginary line that we had discussed earlier. It is to stand on that line with on side corner of the batter’s popping crease to the middle stump towards the slip cordon.
Gully in cricket: Shared similarities with the slip cordon
Slips and gulley have plenty in common and fielders standing in both areas should have some basic skills. The gully position and positions in the slip cordon are often interchangeable as the stance and catching techniques are nearly identical.
Although a gully fielder usually has more time to decide and track the ball, but they also need to be focused and concentrated as they are still standing inside the 30-yard circle. A smart fielder should also be ready when he sees the batsman attempting to play the cut shot. Because of these reasons, the gully fielder not only has to watch the ball, but also has to keep an eye on the batsman and his movements.
What is a point in cricket?
It is a field position located square of the wicket on the off-side and fielders have the responsibility of stopping forceful shots played off the back foot like the square cut. It’s regarded to be a very busy area of the cricket pitch as batsmen often try to cut or drive the ball on the off-side.
What is leg slip in cricket?
The leg slip position is behind the wicket on the leg side of the batsman and is essentially the opposite of the normal slip positions. Whenever a batsman tries to flick the ball, leg slip fielders are expected to stop the runs or take a catch if the ball is mishit.