Cricket is a game of rules, and one of the most important rules is the no-ball rule. A no-ball is a prohibited delivery not counted as one of the six legitimate deliveries in an over.

This rule encompasses various factors like the bowler’s foot positioning, ball height, and the number of bouncers bowled. 

In this article, we will look into the 17 types of no ball in cricket that everyone should know.

17 Types of No Ball in Cricket:

1. Front Foot No Ball 

A front foot no-ball occurs when the bowler’s front foot lands over the bowling crease while delivering the ball. 

It is a common infraction often seen among fast bowlers with long strides.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence:

In the 2019 Cricket World Cup, during a crucial match between England and New Zealand in the final, Trent Boult bowled a front foot no ball that went unnoticed. 

The delivery led to a six instead of a wicket, influencing the outcome of the match.

Law: Covered under Law 21 of the Laws of Cricket.

2. No Ball When the Ball Bounces Over the Batsman’s Head

If a delivery bounces too high and goes over the batsman’s head, it is considered a no-ball. This rule is in place to ensure the safety of the batsman.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

While not directly related to height, notable incidents involve bowlers deliberately bouncing the ball aggressively. 

One such instance is the ‘Bodyline’ series in the 1932-33 Ashes, where England’s aggressive tactics led to debates on sportsmanship.

Law: Covered under Law 21.6 of the No Ball Rule.

3. Bowling a Beamer

A beamer is a dangerous delivery that reaches the batsman directly without bouncing and rises above the waist height. 

This type of delivery, intentional or unintentional, is considered a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence:

In 2011, during an India vs. England test match, James Anderson bowled a beamer at Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir, leading to tensions on the field.

Law: No specific law for beamers, but covered under general no-ball rules.

4. Chucking No Ball

Chucking refers to an illegal bowling action where the bowler flexes the arm beyond the permissible limit during the delivery stride. 

Umpires assess this action to ensure fairness.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

In 1995, Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan faced controversy over his bowling action, with umpires repeatedly no-balling him. 

The incident sparked debates on the legality of certain bowling actions.

Law: Covered under the 15-degree rule, Law 24.3.

5. Back Foot No Ball

Similar to the front foot no ball, a back foot no ball occurs when the bowler’s back foot touches the return crease during the bowling action.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

During the 2016 World T20, West Indies bowler Kesrick Williams had his match-winning wicket against Pakistan nullified due to a backfoot no ball.

Law: Covered under Law 21 of the Laws of Cricket.

6. No Ball for Dangerous Short-pitched Deliveries

Umpires can call a no-ball for short-pitched deliveries that are deemed dangerous to the batsman, even if protective gear is worn.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence:

In the 1974 Ashes series, England’s fast bowler John Snow bowled a series of short-pitched deliveries, leading to confrontations with Australian batsmen.

Law: Covered under general no-ball rules.

7. No Ball for Failing to Notify the Mode of Delivery

The umpire must be informed of the bowler’s intended delivery mode, whether right or left-handed and over or round the wicket. 

Failure to communicate changes leads to a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

No specific famous instance, but this rule emphasizes the importance of clear communication between bowlers and umpires.

Law: Covered under Law 21.4 of the Laws of Cricket.

8. Underarm No Ball

Bowling underarm was once a legal practice but is now considered a no-ball. The rule change followed the controversial underarm delivery by Trevor Chappell in 1981.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: The infamous underarm incident in 1981 during a match between Australia and New Zealand, where Australia bowled an underarm delivery to prevent New Zealand from scoring a six.

Law: The rule changed after the Trevor Chappell incident.

9. No Ball due to Wicketkeeping Error

The wicketkeeper cannot position themselves in front of the stumps before certain conditions are met. A no-ball is called if this restriction is violated.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

In a T20 match between India and Bangladesh in 2019, Rishabh Pant collected the ball in front of the stumps, resulting in a controversial no-ball call.

Law: Covered under Law 41.16 of the Laws of Cricket.

10. No Ball for the Bowler’s Contact with the Wickets

If the bowler disturbs the wickets at the non-striker’s end during the delivery stride, it is considered a no-ball, provided it doesn’t result in a run-out.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

While not directly related, instances of ‘Mankading’ fall under this category. Notable incidents include Vinoo Mankad’s dismissal of Bill Brown in 1947.

Law: Covered under Law 21.6 and Law 41 of the Laws of Cricket.

11. No Ball for Ball Bouncing More Than Once

If the ball bounces more than once or rolls along the ground before reaching the popping crease, it is deemed a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

In a match between England and President’s XI in 1999, Mark Taylor got Angus Fraser out with a ball that bounced twice, though Taylor argued it should not have been a no-ball.

Law: Covered under Law 21 of the Laws of Cricket.

12. Throwing the Ball Before Delivery 

If the bowler throws the ball toward the batsman during the delivery stride before completing the delivery, it is considered a rare no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: 

In a match between West Indies and New Zealand, Darren Powell threw the ball towards the batsman out of frustration, resulting in a no-ball call.

Law: Covered under Law 21.4 of the Laws of Cricket.

13. No Ball for Off-Pitch Bounce

If the ball pitches outside the cricket pitch before reaching the striker’s wickets, it is called a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence:

In a test match between India and England, Ravindra Jadeja’s delivery bounced multiple times off the pitch, resulting in a no-ball call.

Law: Covered under general no-ball rules.

14. No Ball for Fielder Intercepting a Delivery

If a fielder intercepts or stops the ball after it has been bowled and before it reaches the batsman, it is a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: While no specific recorded instances, the rule is in place to prevent fielders from intervening in the delivery.

Law: Covered under Law 21 of the Laws of Cricket.

15. No Ball for Non-Reaching Deliveries

If a delivery fails to reach the batsman at the striker’s end and comes to rest in front of the line of the striker’s wicket, it is a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: No specific famous instance, but this rule ensures that deliveries are viable and reach the batsman.

Law: Covered under Law 21.8 of the No Ball Law.

16. On-side Rule Breach No Ball

Umpires can call a no-ball if the bowler or the bowling team breaches the on-side rule, limiting the number of fielders behind the popping crease on the leg side.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: Instances are less documented, but the rule adds a strategic element by preventing overloading on the leg side.

Law: Covered under Law 28.4 of the Laws of Cricket.

17. No Ball for Fielder Contact: Fielders Encroaching the Pitch

If the ball delivered by the bowler makes contact with any part of the fielder before it makes any contact with the bat or the batsman, it is a no-ball.

Related Famous No-Ball Occurrence: While not extensively documented, this rule prevents fielders from unfairly affecting the trajectory of the ball.

Law: Covered under Law 21 of the Laws of Cricket.

What is the penalty for a no-ball? 

The penalty for types no ball in cricket can vary based on the type of no-ball committed. Here are some consequences: 

Additional Run

In most cases, when a bowler delivers a no-ball, the batting team is awarded one additional run.

Free Hit

For certain types of no ball in cricket, such as overstepping or front foot no-balls in limited-overs cricket, the delivery after a no-ball is often declared a free hit. 

The batter cannot be dismissed except for a run-out during a free hit.

No-Ball Retake

In some instances, if a bowler bowls a no-ball, they may have to re-bowl that delivery. 

It is particularly applicable in cases where the no-ball is due to the bowler overstepping or other technical errors.

Warnings and Disqualification

Persistent or deliberate no-ball offences may result in warnings, fines, or even the bowler being disqualified from bowling further in the innings.

It’s important to note that the specific penalty can depend on the competition rules, the level of the game (professional or amateur), and the nature of the no-ball. 

Umpires enforce these penalties to maintain fairness and uphold the rules of the game.

Evolution of No Ball Rules

The evolution of no-ball rules in cricket is a fascinating journey that reflects the sport’s commitment to fairness, safety, and the continuous refinement of its regulations. 

Over the years, cricket’s governing bodies have adapted and modified these rules to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the game and address emerging challenges. 

Here’s a brief exploration of the evolution of no-ball rules, including recent changes:

Historical Perspective

In the early years of cricket, the rules regarding no-balls were relatively straightforward. 

Umpires primarily focused on overstepping by bowlers, ensuring they didn’t breach the popping or return crease.

Introduction of Front Foot No-Ball Technology

The evolution of technology brought about a significant change in how no-balls are monitored. 

With the advent of front-foot no-ball detection systems, such as the third umpire reviewing each delivery, umpires gained a more accurate tool to identify front-foot overstepping.

Height Restrictions and Dangerous Deliveries

The rules around deliveries bouncing too high, beamers, and dangerous short-pitched deliveries have been refined to prioritize player safety. 

Umpires now have clear guidelines to judge whether a delivery poses a threat to the batsman’s safety, leading to more consistent decisions.

Chucking Regulations

The 15-degree rule was introduced to address concerns related to illegal bowling actions, commonly known as chucking. 

This rule empowers umpires to assess the flexion of a bowler’s elbow during the delivery stride, ensuring fair play and maintaining the integrity of the game.

The key points regarding the 15-degree rule are as follows:

Limit on Elbow Extension

According to the rule, a bowler’s elbow is not allowed to straighten or extend by more than 15 degrees during the delivery stride.

Monitoring and Assessment

Umpires and match officials closely monitor bowlers’ actions during matches. If a bowler’s action is deemed suspect, the umpires may report it to the cricket board of the relevant jurisdiction.

Biomechanical Testing

Bowlers with reported or suspected illegal actions often undergo biomechanical testing to analyze the degree of elbow extension during their deliveries. 

This testing is conducted in specialized laboratories equipped with motion-capture technology.

Adjustments and Remedial Measures

If a bowler is found to be exceeding the 15-degree limit, they may be required to make adjustments to their action. 

This can involve working with coaches and specialists to modify their bowling technique and bring it within the legal limits.

Suspension and Clearing the Action

In extreme cases, where a bowler continues to breach the 15-degree limit after remedial measures, they may face suspension from bowling in international cricket until their action is deemed legal. 

Clearing a bowler’s action involves retesting and receiving approval from the cricketing authorities.

Changes in Free Hit Rules

Limited-overs cricket witnessed a significant change in how no-balls are penalized.

The introduction of the free-hit rule for certain types of no-balls, such as overstepping, added a new dimension to the consequences, providing the batting side with an opportunity to capitalize on the next delivery.

Continuous Review and Adaptation

Cricket’s governing bodies, particularly the International Cricket Council (ICC), regularly review and update the laws of the game, including those related to no-balls. 

These changes are often driven by a desire to maintain the balance between bat and ball, uphold the spirit of cricket, and ensure a fair contest.

Technology and Innovation

Ongoing advancements in technology, including ball-tracking systems and artificial intelligence, contribute to more accurate and efficient decision-making regarding no-balls. 

These innovations aim to reduce human error and enhance the overall integrity of the game.

Most No Balls in ODI Cricket

The team that has bowled the most number of no balls in an ODI match is India. During the India vs. Pakistan ODI match in 2004, India bowled a total of 20 no-balls 

Most No Balls in T20I Cricket

The team that has bowled the most number of no-balls in a T20I match is the Ghana cricket team. 

They bowled a total of 10 no-balls in a match against Uganda in September 2022. 

Most No Balls in Test Cricket

The team that has bowled the most number of no balls in a Test match is the West Indies cricket team. 

During the West Indies vs. Pakistan Test match in 1977, West Indies bowled a total of 103 no-balls. 

Most No Balls in IPL History

The bowler with the most no-balls in IPL history is Jasprit Bumrah. He has bowled a total of 28 no-balls in 120 games at an average of 23.30


The no-ball is like a hidden code that ensures the fairness and safety of the game.

Knowing these 17 types of no-balls in cricket is not just about following rules; it is a key to unlocking a deeper understanding of the sport. 

For players, it is a reminder to stay sharp; for officials, it is a tool to maintain a level playing field. 

And for fans, it is a way to appreciate the skill and strategy behind every play. 

As cricket evolves, these no-ball nuances add new layers to the sport’s rich history. 

It’s not just about runs and wickets; it’s the unspoken language that makes cricket truly special.


  1. Who are the cricketers who never bowled a no-ball in their international career?

Lance Gibbs, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Dennis Lillee, and Kapil Dev are some cricketers who never bowled a no-ball in their international career. 

  1. Why are there so many types of no-balls in cricket?

Each type of no-ball addresses specific aspects of the game, such as fair play, safety, and maintaining the integrity of cricket. These rules ensure that the competition remains balanced and adheres to the spirit of the sport.

Also, check out 7 Box Cricket Rules That You Should Know

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