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In cricket, play usually stops temporarily when spectators or personnel walk or stand in front of the (live) sight screen. What about fielders? Should they move elsewhere on request?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The role of the sight screen is to help the batter see the ball at the start of its flight, as it leaves the bowlers hand. If you think about the angles involved, it is mainly the upper portion of the sight screen that is used, so a fielder standing in front of it would not block this view.

The problem with spectators is typically not that they are in front of the sight screen, but that they are moving in front of the sight screen. Humans are very tuned in to movement visually, so having someone move in the line of sight of the batter is distracting. Under the laws of cricket, fielders are not permitted to move laterally as the bowler is running is (they can move towards or away from the batsmen under Law 41.7, 41.8). Therefore, a fielder in front of the sight screen but stationary will not be distracting the batter. They probably wouldn't notice given that the Umpire and Bowler are also in the way.

Fielding directly in front of the sight screen would be a very poor field placement in any case.

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"Neither long-on or long-off, but sort of floating between the two (And not quite deep enough): In most forms of cricket, an extremely unusual position; in the village game, however, an almost compulsory one, designed not so much to cover two distinct positions as to distract the batsman by having someone legitimately stand in front of the sightscreens - that is, where the sightscreens would usually be found in higher levels of the game. For this reason, if this fielder is sufficiently portly, his lilywhite-clad girth may well serve to assist the batsman, in which case he should be moved." :) –  user1564 Jul 20 '13 at 9:57
    
^ From here. –  user1564 Jul 20 '13 at 9:58

It is not unlawful to field between bowler and side screen. In fact there is a fielding position for that and it is called straight hit.

enter image description here

Usually the fielder is placed at an angle and I don't remember any captains using this fielding position. You can see all the rules here.

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Helpful picture. However, I do not know of any law that prevents a fielder being placed directly behind the wicketkeeper, and, indeed, the picture in your answer shows just such a position, long stop. If there is a regulation that makes such a restriction in one-day games could you please provide a reference to the details of it? –  Spinner Jul 19 '13 at 9:12
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I already have, but the Wikipedia page provided no citation for the assertion it makes, and therefore I don't see the basis for it. –  Spinner Jul 19 '13 at 18:12
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I know that the Wikipedia page makes that quoted claim. What I am querying is where the Wikipedia article gets that information from. I have not been able to find any reference to support it in either the Laws of Cricket or the ICC Playing Conditions. –  Spinner Jul 19 '13 at 18:18
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If there is no law or regulation that prohibits the captain from placing a fielder there, he/she is perfectly free to do so; whether he/she would want to do so is another matter (one reason might be to save 4 byes on a very fast outfield). Why would such a prohibition exist? –  Spinner Jul 19 '13 at 18:44
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@ACB I think Wikipedia may very well be right on this, but without the preceding "In some one-day matches:" (note the "some") the quote seems false. So, Wikipedia may be right, but I doubt that this part of your answer is right. –  user1564 Jul 21 '13 at 6:41

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