In cricket, how is it decided from which end to start the match? Is this a per-ground convention, a decision of the umpires, or either of the captains? Is each innings necessarily started from the same end?

  • Nice question, in all the rule books it says start from the "bowling end" but doesn't clarify which end you begin bowling from. I would guess it is the Pavillion End in most cases.
    – JoseK
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 8:35
  • 5
    What happens if the pavilion is at midwicket? ;)
    – Unsliced
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 14:15

7 Answers 7


The fielding captain decides from which end he wants to start the match and informs the batsmen who then decides who will face the first ball.

Usually this is decided by the preference of the bowler who is going to bowl the first over.

  • 6
    [citation needed]
    – corsiKa
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 1:45
  • As mentioned y ZVenue, there are no written rules regarding this. It is the privilege of the fielding team to decide from which end he wants to start.
    – rest_day
    Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 6:13
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    @spiceyokooko: That is incorrect. The batting order is not decided at the start of the match. Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 14:09
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    @spiceyokooko: It's whoever faces the first ball or comes in next after a dismissal. You don't have to tell anyone beforehand. Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 14:42
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    +1 to answer. It is correct. I have seen Lasith Malinga change his end for the first over. The umpires had to relocate themselves. Also, the bowler is decided first, and then openers decide among themselves who will take the first ball.
    – xylon97
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 15:48

There is nothing in the laws to govern this point.

Most competitions have local rules to cover points where the laws aren't always clear (e.g. number of overs, time limits and so on). So they might wish to define the starting end (or - by induction - the finishing end of a limited overs game): if so, those responsible for the rules of that competition may wish to prescribe. (Note that in most indoor versions of the game, playing in moderately large gymnasia, all the bowling is done from one end, with the batsmen changing ends at the completion of each over).

Certainly in practice the fielding captain will nominate his bowler. Regular bowlers familiar with a ground will usually have a preferred end from which they wish to deliver, and it would be wrong for the laws to override the captain's wishes without good reason. Similarly some batting openers like to take the first ball and will switch over if the senior man has a preference.

Certainly the laws are silent on what should happen in a dispute. Suppose the fielding captain wants Bowler A to bowl the first ball to Batsman Z, but batsman Y wants to face him. Law 42.2 states that the umpires are sole judges of fair and unfair play, so they would intervene if they felt that either side was trying to manipulate a particular striker to face (or not face) the first ball. Reading between the lines of the law, the batsmen's wishes will have precedence, because if they have selected ends, the fielding side would be guilty of time wasting if they then decided to change the identity of the bowler (see Laws 42.9 fielding side & 42.10 - batsmen wasting time) or the end from which he bowled. In such a situation most umpires would tell the fielding captain to get on with it. The batsmen have the thinner end of this particular wedge, because the fielding captain can always switch his bowling around in a manner which he decides will best irritate and perplex them.

In practice the one of the opening pair who plans on taking the first ball will check with the umpires/fielding captain who is bowling and from which end; a refusal to disclose is pretty much unheard of.

  • Would I be correct in summarizing this answer as being "If the competition organizers wish to decide the end, they may, and if not, then the fielding side choose the starting end"?
    – Fillet
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 15:13
  • @Fillet Pretty much. In practice most grounds have a traditional opening end and in televised games this will have been agreed with the broadcaster in advance, too.
    – Unsliced
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 15:20
  • The opening batsman will just head for the end where the wicketkeeper is standing. Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 3:26
  • @DavidWallace that's not in the laws, though ;)
    – Unsliced
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 19:35
  • It's not specifically in the rules, true. I can imagine a situation where the fielding team wait for the two batsmen to get settled at their respective ends; then the wicketkeeper and slips run to the other end of the pitch, and a bowler bowls from the unexpected end. I would argue that this constitutes a "breach of the spirit of the game", as covered by rule 42, part 18. But I don't know exactly what the umpires would do about it. Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 7:18

I am by no means a cricket expert, but this page seems to suggest that the bowler determines the bowling end based on his technique, preference and variations of an individual pitch.

Depending upon the variations in pitch the bowler chooses his end.

Since the team who bowls first is determined by the captain who wins the coin toss, it seems that there could conceivably be a considerable a strategic advantage to winning the coin toss, choosing to bat second and allowing your bowler to choose his end.

  • Rather like deferring to the second half so you can take the wind in American football. Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 23:08
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    I'm not too sure the bowler/captain chooses which end to begin the game from though. What that link refers to is that the bowler will inform this captain which of the two ends he prefers bowling from, during the game.
    – JoseK
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 3:43
  • There are lots of huge potential benefits of winning the toss and batting/bowling first (maybe worth a new question), but the starting end is a very minor matter. Whichever end the first bowler starts from, the next bowler will bowl the second over from the other end 5 minutes later.
    – Fillet
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 7:39
  • In a limited overs game, the end for the last over could offer some advantage (perhaps the strip is closer to one side of the field having much shorter boundaries compared to the other, making it preferable for a team with predominantly left or right handed batsmen) in which case the first over could be preferable. But yes, compared to the toss and that choice, it is much less important.
    – Unsliced
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 14:19

There are no set rules on this. This is how it happens in the real world. Fielding captain obviously decides which two bowlers start the proceedings. He then chats with the two bowlers and asks them their preference. The senior bowler or the bowler who starts first (in some cases) will get their choice first. There is rarely a conflict as usually bowlers are able to compromise quickly if there is a disagreement.


The fielding captain or the bowler who balls the 1st over of the match decides it. The factor mostly considered are wind direction. The umpires do not explicitly say anything about the end which the game play starts. There is no rule also based about it. Maybe the people who wrote the rule book might have thought this as a Minor part of the Game.


Quoting Bill Frindall, aka the Bearded Wonder from this BBC article.

At the start of each innings of a match the fielding captain decides from which end play will begin. He usually makes this choice in collaboration with his opening bowlers.

When they have decided their individual preference of ends, the captain then decides which bowler he wants to open with and that will determine his choice of end.

So, preference of opening bowlers will help the fielding captain determine from which end play will begin.


It is decided by fielding side captain and the bowler himself.

Few key points which come into the consideration while a bowler chooses an end are:-

The flow of wind:- which helps a swing bowler. He chooses whether he wants to bowl with the wind or against it. Both helps in the movement of the ball a lot.

Longest side of the field:- normally we see this when a spinner starts the attack. The fielding side captain usually opt for longest side boundary to be on the leg side of a right-handed batsman.

Amount of grass on the pitch:- Sometimes, the grass covering on a pitch varies from one end to another. In this case, the fast-bowler chooses the end with grass covering to begin the attack(I am considering that the best bowler of the team will ball the first over).

Superstition:- Few bowlers are there who are superstitious, they choose an end which is away from pavilion or some any other mark.

more form icc world cup:-

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