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How Have Balls Per Over Changed Throughout The History Of Cricket?

Sahil Mathur
By Sahil Mathur
November 24, 2021 • 17:10 PM View: 891

The laws and rules of cricket have changed throughout the history of the game ever since its inception in the late 1700s. However, back then there were no standard rules and no association. 

When first-class cricket began to slowly process itself and the rules & laws were made, a bowler was allowed to bowl four legal deliveries per over. England and Australia were two countries who made standardised rules in the 1870s. 


However, in 1890, England changed the rules to five balls per over while Australia made it to six balls to complete an over. In between, South Africa too changed it from 4 to 5 balls per over. 

From 1902, England and South Africa once again changed the balls per over to six. This rule change went till the mid-1930s before they changed it to eight balls in 1939. However, in Australia six balls per over was from 1891 to 1920, they changed the rule to eight balls in 1924. They went back to six balls in 1928 and once again went back to eight balls in 1936. 

In between, India, New Zealand and West Indies kept the balls per over to six. The Kiwis changed it to eight balls in 1969 till 1978 before going back to six balls per over. While in Australia, the eight balls per over rule went on till 1978. 

England finally changed the balls per over to six in 1946 and have never changed it so far. In South Africa, the six balls per over rule was finalised in 1961. India and West Indies never changed from six balls per over. 

Pakistan brought six balls per over rule in 1954 till 1972 before, for a brief period of time, changed to eight balls. They brought back the six balls per over rule in 1979. 

Also Read: Ashes 2021-22 - England vs Australia Schedule and Squads

Cricket is an ever-evolving game. Though MCC has standardised the six balls per over rule for a time now but it won't be surprising if they think about bringing in new rules to keep the cricket entertaining, like The Hundred where a bowler can bowl five or 10 balls consecutively. 

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