In the sport of cricket, different fielding restrictions are imposed depending on the type of match. They are used to discourage certain bowling tactics, or to encourage the batsmen to play big shots, enabling them to hit fours and sixes. Each team has nine fielders other than the wicket-keeper and bowler. The captain decides the fielding positions usually after consulting with the bowler. In Test cricket matches, the fielding restrictions are relaxed as compared to a One Day International.
In all forms of cricket, only two fielders are allowed in the quadrant between the fielding positions of square leg and long stop. This is to prevent the outlawed and controversial bodyline tactics from being used. Also fielders can't be placed straight ahead of batsman that would hinder the view of sightscreen.
Various rules concerning have applied during the history of one day cricket, with the aim of encouraging the batsman to play shots and make the game faster and more exciting. The current rules applying to One Day Internationals were first introduced as trial rules in July 2005, and are also used for some other limited overs tournaments.
An oval shall made by drawing two semi-circles on the field of play. The semi-circles shall have as their centre the middle stump at either end of the pitch. The radius of each of the semi-circles shall be 30 yards (27 m). The semi-circles shall be linked by lines which are drawn parallel to the pitch. This line, is commonly known as the circle. Further, two circles centered on each wicket of 15 yards (14 m) radius are drawn and combined encompasses an area known as the close infield. During the first 10 overs of a 50-over innings a maximum of two fielders are allowed to be deployed in the outfield. Before July 2015, a minimum of two fielders (other than the bowler and wicket-keeper) had to be deployed in the close infield during Powerplay 1 . If the number of overs in the innings is restricted to less than 24, the length of the fielding restrictions is reduced to eight or nine overs. At least 3 fielders must remain on either the Off or Leg Side.
In the Women's game the infield and close infield circles are smaller than in the Men's game. With the semicircles of the infield having a radius of 23 metres (25 yd) and the close infield circles having a radius of 12 metres (13 yd)
The restriction of having a maximum of three fielders in the outfield is applied for a further two blocks of five overs, with the captains of the fielding and the batting sides deciding the timing of one block each. These five-over spells are called Powerplay 2 and Powerplay 3 and may be shortened if the length of the innings is restricted (Powerplay 1 is the first block of 10). Powerplays were first encountered in the One Day International between England and Australia on 7 July 2005.
For the rest of the innings, a more generous maximum of five fielders in the outfield applies.
Fielding restrictions were first introduced in the Australian 1980-81 season. By 1992, only two fieldsmen were allowed outside the circle in the first fifteen overs, then five fieldsmen allowed outside the circle for the remaining overs. This was shortened to ten overs in 2005, and two five-over powerplays were introduced, with the bowling team having discretion over the timing for both. In 2008, the batting team was given discretion for the timing of one of the two powerplays. In 2011, the teams were restricted to completing the discretionary powerplays between the 16th and 40th overs; previously, the powerplays could take place at any time between the 11th and 50th overs.
On October 30, 2012, changes to the rules for fielding restrictions in one-day matches were officially implemented by the ICC. The number of Powerplay blocks were reduced to two; the first occurs within the first 10 overs, restricting the team to two fielders outside the 30-yard circle. The second block, the Batting Powerplay with a restriction of three fielders outside the circle, must occur by the 40th over. The number of fielders outside the 30-yard circle in non-Powerplay overs has also been reduced to four (from five).
In June 2015 rules changed to do away with batting poweplay, and allowed up to 5 fielders outside the circle in last 10 overs. The 2015 rule changes also included the removal of batting power play.
The number of players in the outfield area is the same as for the One-day format, but the restriction lasts for the first six of the twenty overs, and there is no "Batting" or "Bowling" (Powerplays 2 and 3 in ODI's) Powerplay. Whereas in Twenty20 format a team can have maximum of five fielders outside 30 yards after first six overs of twenty overs.