What Do These Umpiring Signals Mean In Cricket?

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In cricket, umpiring plays a crucial role in deciding the game. An umpire decides on the ground and his decision is final. The decision is communicated to scorers who update the score of batting and bowling teams accordingly.

How Do Umpires Communicate Their Decisions in Cricket?

Umpires give signals for Out, Not-Out, No-Ball, Boundary, and other events to scorers on the pavilion. Also, the players and audiences get updates on the match. But the biggest advantage of using signals for communication is to maintain speed and transparency in the decisions. 

Here are the important communication signals of cricket umpires. Also, the decision is always conveyed by the ground umpire. The scorers take signals from the ground umpire.

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1. Out

Raising the index finger above the head signals the dismissal of the batsman. It could be a clean bowled, stump out, catch out, run out, or any other form of dismissal. But the fielding team has to appeal for the dismissal of a batsman.   

2. Not Out

The umpire will waive his arms in a sweeping motion to overturn an Out decision. This signal is made when an Out decision is overturned. It happens when the second umpire on the ground disputes the Out decision by the first umpire or the batting team requests a review of the dismissal.

3. No Ball

One arm fully extended horizontally signals a No Ball and adds one run to the batting team. The umpire monitors the bowler’s foot to indicate a No Ball if the bowler crosses the line. No Ball results in no result even when a batsman is clean-bowled.

4. Free Hit

Making a circular motion with one hand held above the head signals a Free Hit. Certain types of No Ball deliveries are compensated with free hits that allow batsmen to take liberty in hitting shots without getting dismissed.

5. Wide Ball

Botha arms extended horizontally signal a Wide Ball that is beyond the mark. The batting team gets an extra run and the bowler makes one more delivery.  

6. Four Runs

Sweeping the right hand before the chest signals Four Runs to the batting side if the ball crosses the boundary. If the boundary comes from a Bye, Leg Bye, Wide Ball, or No Ball, the umpire will make a signal like first a Wide Ball and then Four Runs. 

7. Six Runs

Both arms held high above the head signal Six Runs to the batsman. It is the only decision that goes undisputed. The batsman takes a short and the ball goes high over the field and lands beyond the boundary line.

8. Bye

One arm extended above the head signals the ball running past the batsman without touching the bat and the batsman takes a run.

9. Leg Bye

Raising a knee and tapping it signals Leg Bye when the ball hits one of the legs or any other part except the gloves of the batsman and the player takes a run.

10. Bouncer

Tapping on a shoulder signals a bouncer. The signal alerts the bowler and the bowling team as a limited number of bouncers is allowed to bowlers. There are specific rules like height for throwing bouncers.

11. DRS or Third Umpire

Forming a square calls for Decision Review System by the third umpire. An umpire sends the decision to DRS when the ground view was obstructed or the umpire misses it somehow.

12. Dead Ball

Sweeping both hands across the knees signals a dead ball requiring the bowler to bowl again. It shows that the batsman wasn’t ready to play. The ball has to be delivered again and no run is added to the batting side.

13. Short Run

Tapping the shoulder with an extended arm signals a short run that is removed from the score. It shows that one of the batsmen has failed to complete a run between the wickets. Running between the wickets includes touching the crease with a bat. If the bat is just hovered over the crease or remains short of the line, it is called a Short Run.

14. Penalty Runs

Crossing one hand across the chest and placing it on the other shoulder and “Holding” or “Tapping”. Holding indicates runs to the bowling side and tapping indicates runs to the batting side. A maximum of 5 runs are added to the concerned team. 

15. Revoke Decision

First crossing the arms across the chest followed by a sweeping motion below the waist indicates revoking the earlier decision. This situation happens when the third umpire interferes to correct a wrong decision. The ground umpire has to signal to revoke the decision.

16. Powerplay

Rotating one arm clockwise indicates the commencement of powerplay in a game. Powerplay involves fielding restrictions in a limited-over match. The players get ready to go into the powerplay mode and the audiences become more excited to see the powerplay. 

17. Soft Signal

Making an out or not-out signal for the third umpire to approve or disapprove the signal. The ground umpire gives a soft signal to the third umpire to check which decision is correct.

18. New Ball

Holding a new ball in the direction of the scorer signals a new ball will be used. A new ball is introduced when the existing ball gets damaged due to hard-hitting.

19. Last Hour

The wrist held at shoulder level and pointing to the watch signals the start of the last hour in a match. Every match has its last hour of play and the last hour of a match is always interesting. 

20. Cancel Call

Touching the shoulders with crossed arms signals canceling the earlier decision. The ground umpire decides to Cancel Call after realizing that a wrong decision has been made.


Watching a game of cricket will become more exciting after understanding the decision signals by umpires. Also, you can even make your opinion on bowling and batting and even on umpiring decisions. As soon as a ball is played, you will know what the umpire’s decision would be.