Table Cricket

To the able bodied observer, the adapted tasks in Table Cricket will appear quite easy. However to young people with impairments, including co-ordination and perceptual difficulties, it is quite a challenge to strike the ball with control and score runs in a consistent manner.

The game

Table Cricket is a developmental game for young people, traditionally for the age range seven to 19 years, in which the players should be able to take up the sporting challenge and become involved in the spirit of the game by learning different procedures, terminology and basic tactics.

To simulate a game of cricket the game uses:

  • a table tennis top (or an equivalent surface area)
  • side panels with sliding fielders
  • a ball launcher
  • a plastic ball
  • a wooden bat.

Each team begins with a total score and has runs deducted if a wicket is lost. An individual innings lasts for two overs, and batters have to judge where best to strike the ball to obtain two, four or the optimum six runs.

Further information on the development of Table Cricket.

The rules

1. Equipment

  • Side panels (10 cm high).
  • Bat and launcher used for Table Cricket are those contained in the SportSability/Table Cricket equipment supplied by Davies – see resources. No other equipment is acceptable.
  • Plastic cricket ball - biased and non-biased types (35mm diameter).
  • Nine sliding fielders with a central catcher zone marked (30cm long).
  • No other equipment can be used except for devices to help with the grasp or, for example, head batting devices.

2. Pitch

  1. A table tennis table or an appropriate equivalent surface area, which is stable, safe and level.
  2. The alignment of the table must be adjusted so it is as level as possible. Any misalignment shall ensure that the slope shall allow the ball always to travel towards the batter and not the bowler. Tape can be placed over any central join to reduce any bumping of the ball over the gap, or the table legs could be adjusted.
  3. The 'wide ball markers' should be taped as indicated in the wide ball details diagram below.
  4. A white taped batting crease must be marked 36cm out from the batting end of the table, and extending the same distance as the wide markers across the table.

table tennis table set up for table cricketdiagram showing wide balls and bowling zones for table cricket

3. Teams

Each team shall consist of six players and two reserves (substitutes). Teams can be of either gender with an upper age limit of 19 years.

4. Substitutes

Substitutes may be used from game to game but not during a game, except in the event of any injury or illness, or if a player needs to leave the game for a short period.

5. Umpiring

Ideally there should be two umpires per table. The main one stands next to the bowler and controls the game, the other stands to one side of the batter co-umpiring and scoring. In important area finals and national finals it is recommended that there are two umpires and one scorer.

6. The start

  1. The umpire shall toss a coin to determine which captain wins and thus whether that team will either bat or bowl first.
  2. The batting team then decides the order of the rankings for batting and the respective order of the fielding positions as illustrated in the fielder rotation diagram, shown after rule 9.

7. Batting and Scoring

  • Prior to the match, the six players from each team must be ranked in order of physical ability by the respective team coaches and the details submitted to the scorer/umpire. Players must wear a badge indicating their ranking. See rule 12 - classification for further information.
  • During an innings the same ranked players of the opposing teams bowl and bat in that pair for one over.
  • At the end of each over the next ranked pair take their positions.
  • Once the batting team has completed all of their overs, a five-minute break will be taken before the other team bats.
  • The batting side starts with a total of 200 runs, with five runs being deducted every time a wicket is lost.
  • Each batsman stays in for the full over, even when bowled or caught.
  • Standing batters must adopt an action in which the bat is held at a high angle to the table so the stroke is played with the bat in that position. Standing batters must not strike the ball before it crosses the ‘batting crease’.

A batter shall be out if:

  1. In the hitting action, the ball is struck and goes over the side or rear panels of the table, either on the full stroke or after bouncing on the table.
  2. The bowled ball hits any part of the batters fingers, hand, arm or body - leg before wicket (with the exception of the ruling on Class 1 (TC1) – see rule 12, 3rd bullet point)
  3. The ball touches any part of the 'caught out’ zone of a side panel.
  4. The ball is struck backwards and does not touch either of the side panels - caught behind.
  5. In attempting to play the ball the batter misses and the ball goes over the batting end table edge in between the 'wide ball area' - out bowled.
  6. The ball is hit and contacts any part of the launcher – caught and bowled.

Runs shall be scored if:

  1. The ball is hit in-between the fielders within the allocated two, four or six run gaps or either side of the launcher for two runs.
  2. A wide is called if the ball is left or missed by the batter and is outside the marking tape.
  3. The ball ricochets around the table no multiple scores are used - only the first contact counts.
  4. However, a struck ball that becomes stationary and does not touch the side panels or launcher is a dead ball and counts as a bowl and does not score.
  5. Four runs shall be awarded for a wide with an extra delivery allowed.
  6. See rule 8, 3rd bullet Point.
  7. See rule 9, 4th bullet point.

Runs shall not be scored if:

  1. A ball that is struck becomes stationary and does not touch the side panels or launcher. The ball shall be called a 'dead ball' and count as a ball in the over.
  2. A ball that is struck hits the white part of the fielder.
  3. A batter strikes the ball twice. That ball shall be called a 'dead ball' and count as a ball in the over.
  4. The batter in the attempt to strike the ball the first time misses but has further attempts and connects thus a ‘dead ball’ - no score.

8. Bowling

  1. No warm up bowling shall be allowed in between batting or team innings.
  2. Each bowler shall bowl two times six ball overs to their respective ranked opponent.
  3. Any bowled ball which becomes stationary before the batter can strike it is a no ball call. (One run penalty and extra ball).
  4. A fair delivery is one that rolls in between the two wide indicator markers at the batter's end (i.e. within the bowling area). See the wide ball details diagram.
  5. Bowling takes place from one end of the table only, for all the games.
  6. The bowling action can be a nudge or a push with the fingers/hand or any other body part (however, no ballistic, flicking or jabbing action can be used).
  7. For those participants who cannot use their hands umpires, teachers, coaches or assistants may place the ball on the ramp, including the 'biased balls' best position.
  8. Helpers may only change the direction of the launcher under the direction of the bowler.
  9. A bowler may not change the direction of the launcher as the ball is launched.
  10. The swing ball may be used by the bowler a maximum of twice per over in any order.
  11. The swing ball does not have to be shown to the batter before it is used and does not have to be used by the bowler.
  12. If the ball falls or is bowled off the side of the launcher, it shall be taken again.
  13. A very thin friction pad may be placed under the launcher to make it steadier.
  14. Once a batter has indicated which way they are going to face the bowling, all strokes must be made from that position - i.e. no reverse sweeps.
  15. Bowlers, who in the umpire’s view are taking too long to bowl each ball, will be cautioned.

9. Fielding

  1. Fielders shall take up their positions around the table according to the selected rankings order of the batting side. See image below. This order must not change. The positions of the fielder panels may be changed by the fielding side providing the change is undertaken before the bowler delivers the ball - except rule 9, 3rd bullet point.
  2. At the start of each set of two innings one fielding player on each side of the table shall be nominated as an ‘active’ fielder. After a ball is struck they may slide their respective panel to create a catch or field the ball - only players capable of doing this without dislodging the panel should be nominated.
  3. If, in the event of sliding the fielding panel towards an adjacent fielding panel, they touch, even by accident, then four runs are awarded to the batter - in addition to any other runs which are scored off that ball.
  4. If an active fielder has to bowl – because of the rotation - another active fielder must be nominated.
  5. There must be four fielders positioned on the leg side. See image below.
  6. The gap between each sliding fielder must be at least the width of the bat – except when active fielders move a fielder after the ball is struck - however see rule 9, 4th bullet point.
  7. The two permanent fielders either side of the bowler shall not be moved throughout the match.
  8. At the end of each pair of overs for the individual innings, the fielders and bowler rotate. See fielder rotation diagram below
  9. White tape marks 30 cm from the batter’s end of the table on each of the respective side panels indicate the furthest distance the two respective first fielders can be placed away from the batting end of the table - see wide ball details diagram. This prevents a large gap for only two runs.
  10. When batters ranked 1, 2 and 3 are playing, an additional strip of marking tape is placed on both sides of the side panels, 15cm from the batting end of the table. This is used to indicate where the nearest edge of the sliding fielders can be moved towards the batting end of the table. Ranked players 1, 2 and 3 must always have this minimum space available to score runs (two runs). Fielders however, may wish to increase this area according to their fielding tactics for other parts of the table. For batters ranked 4, 5 and 6 the opposition may move the sliding fielders up to within one batters width from the batters end of the table on both sides, i.e. see rule 9, 9th bullet point still applies.

diagram showing an example of fielder rotation in table cricket

10. General aspects

  1. The batting action should be coached as a timed and directed push and not an all out uncontrolled ballistic hit - umpires will give one warning and then not allow runs to be scored from any subsequent 'ballistic hit' strokes.
  2. The use of cricketing terms should be promoted.
  3. Tactical aspects relating to bowling and field placings should be developed.
  4. No coaching is allowed during a team's bowling and fielding session - the umpire and/or technical official can be consulted about supporting requests by coaches.
  5. Coaches can, however, sit with the batting team but shall not coach the actual batter.

11. The result

  1. The competition organisers shall define the format of the competition - i.e. set innings/overs/average runs etc. – and circulate the details to the respective team officials with all other appropriate documentation before the commencement of the match(es).
  2. The team with the highest score wins. In the event of a tie, the team losing the least number of wickets wins. If this is equal, then the team with the highest number of fours wins; if this is equal then the team with the highest number of sixes wins, if they have bowled the fewest wides and no balls, if all of the aforementioned is equal - toss a coin!
  3. It is within the remit of the organisers/technical officials to introduce alternative competitive formats, i.e. average scoring rates, if during a match the time constraints become critical. The decision must be communicated to all coaches as soon as this is made.

12. Classification Requirements

a) A team of six must be selected according to the following guidance and criteria and accounting for participants who may be   unable to play and thus need an equivalent substitute. This form of contest is for those with mainly physical impairments and not learning disabilities - some youngsters with visual impairment could be used to complete teams. The special nature of the game means that it is devised for those with the more severe physical impairments. Classification preserves this situation and the parity of teams. Players must be ranked from No.1 - the most severely impaired (i.e. TC1), to the least impaired (i.e. TC3) - No.6.

b) Team composition

Teams must conform to the combination(s) below.

  1. Four wheelchair participants and two ambulant participants.
  2. Six wheelchair participants altogether (reserves must be selected according to the type of teams above).
  3. Two players in the wheelchair category must be from the classification class (TC1). See point 4 below.
  4. Class1 (TC1) players must be capable of being realistically involved in the game with dignity, whilst the top ability (TC2 and TC3) players must be able to demonstrate that they have some difficulty in performing the batting task in a consistent manner. See rule 12, bullet points c) and d).

c) Class 1 (TC1) Players must have the ability to:

  1. Independently 'launch' the ball off the launcher - although the ball can be placed on the launcher for them.
  2. 'Hit' the ball so it consistently reaches at least halfway down the table on either side.
  3. Note: it is acceptable to include young people who will need to nudge the ball off the launcher with their head, nose, foot or other body parts. Batting can also be completed with a head device or a nominated arm using only the first 30 cm from the fingertips upwards - marked with a pen.

d) Class 2 (TC2) and 3 (TC3) Players Class TC2 players (wheelchair) and class TC3 players (standing) must have an observable challenge due to one or more of the following aspects.

  1. Motor co-ordination
  2. Perception
  3. Concentration and control
  4. Eyesight
  5. Body-posture
  6. Balance
  7. Grip and manipulation

e) Better ability class 2 (TC2) and 3 (TC3) players who have similar levels of playing ability are not eligible to play if, for example, they can participate in recreational table tennis. Coaches should note, therefore, that this means young people in wheelchairs must have a challenge in this game as should any ambulant participants. Thus many young people with amputations; spina bifida; diplegia; paraplegia; or hemiplegia will not be eligible unless the additional aspects in rule 12, 5th bullet point above can be demonstrated.

f) Classification: Three profile classes:

  1. Lack of strength; very poor co-ordination; high or low muscle tone; poor perception - e.g. muscular dystrophy, severe spasticity and or athetosis, restricted growth, associated body movements after hitting; lack of power for depth; too much uncontrolled power; possible limited reaction to the ball; very poor handgrip; or restricted reach. They are likely to miss a swing ball.
  2. Table Cricket 2 (TC2) (wheelchair): Spasticity and co-ordination which causes inconsistent performance or a combination of misjudgement and action. Can bat and aim the ball in a controlled manner, but the ability to be consistent and pattern the shots is a challenge especially when the bowling is varied. See rule 12, 5th bullet point e).
  3. Table Cricket 3 (TC3) (standing with or without support): Participants have a challenge with their batting actions similar to class 2 (not all hemiplegics will be eligible for the game). Can bat and aim ball in a controlled manner, but ability to be consistent and pattern the shots is still a challenge, especially when trying to aim. Pupils who normally stand or are ambulant can sit to play and count as class 2 players as long as their performance ability is within the guidelines above for class 2. See rule 12, bullet point e). Otherwise they must play standing up.

g) Technical officials' discretion

  1. Prior to competition, video recordings of team members’ performance may be requested to be submitted to the technical officer so the 'profile abilities' match rule 12.
  2. To make sure competitions are viable with the required number of teams, the technical official may waiver the strict adherence to the classification rules if, in the umpires view, the overall balance of ability in the team profiles does not place the opponents at a disadvantage.
  3. Similarly if, before or during a competition, it is clear to the technical official that a player's profile has too much function for the 'letter and spirit' of the game, rule 12, bullet point e), will have to be invoked and the player not allowed to continue in any further play - a substitute will then be allowed.
  4. As Table Cricket is a youth development sport there are no protest systems in place. Coaches can, however, make representation to the technical official so matters can be clarified or action taken.
  5. Given the classification criteria and the pressure some teams have placed upon the competition organisers with the inclusion of “less severely involved standing team participants” teams must always play four permanent wheelchair users as participants (not just seated players) in every game. Two of these must have the more severe challenges when performing. Any standing players must have an observable physical challenge(s) when performing.

REASON: To protect the nature of the population for which the game was created. A number of players in recent years could have played a semi-dynamic version of Kwik Cricket. Table Cricket is not for youngsters with this movement potential. The implications of this rule will mean that mainstream schools will have to enquire in their county – via PE Advisor – as to where they could find more severely disabled individuals – especially for rankings 1 and 2 – possibly integrated into other mainstream schools, special units and/or special schools.

Appendix

Coaching the game

The game has been designed to create a balance between the bowling and batting aspects of the contest so there is a real challenge for each participant. The following suggestions are offered to assist coaches, teachers and helpers develop the young person's individual techniques, team cooperation, enjoyment and identification within the game. The game also has particular strengths in assisting pupils with these profiles to access the national curriculum for PE and completing the tasks with dignity.

Batting

  • Encourage the young person to hold the bat steady until the ball has almost reached them.
  • The action should be like a guided push - not a hit.
  • They should be made aware of how best to control their individual batting actions.
  • After a while they should be able to work out their most productive direction and shot.
  • Appropriate ways of playing the different balls bowled (swing) should be discussed and shared.

Bowlers

  • Young people should practice placing and aligning the balls on the launcher.
  • They need to be taught the use of variation in bowling. The variation should be matched to the batters weaker areas.
  • Follow the advice of the Captain.
  • Bowlers can eventually direct where the fielders are placed.

Fielders

  • Need to learn to encourage and support their bowler.
  • Observe how batters have problems with certain balls.
  • Suggest where to change field placings with the bowler.
  • Need to observe how the bowler is directing the ball.
  • Active panel fielders need to practice intercepting the ball without dislodging the side panels - thus some players will not have the ability to be active panel fielders.

Teachers and coaches will find that as with any game, Table Cricket will soon develop its own nature and rhythm. Young people will soon be intrigued by the possibilities of bowling alternatives, batting challenges, tactical fielding strategies and even invent their own informal versions.

Integrated Settings

Every attempt should be made to provide youngsters integrated in mainstream schools with the opportunity to play the game as a modified version with other pupils.

Resources

Supplier

Davies Sports
Leigh Fold
Hyde
Cheshire
SK14 4LL
Telephone: +44 (0)845 1204 515

  • Table top cricket set: bat, two x balls, sides, fielders, clips, launcher. Cat No. PCSD73126 or SCSD73126
  • Mini table top cricket set: bat, two x balls, ramp, fielders. Cat No. PCSD73187 or SCSD73187

Practicalities

Two or four plastic sides can be screwed to a wooden batton, this can then be just slotted into two guide brackets fixed to the table side (DIY), this saves the use of clips or tape so youngsters can be independent.

Still need help?

Doug Williamson
+44 (0)1949 829 313