The game of cricket has a colourful vocabulary. Batters may bat on a sticky wicket, and bowlers may bowl a maiden over, or even let fly with a googly. Some bowlers are even referred to as Chinaman, regardless of their ethnic background. The terms for the fielding positions are similarly interesting.

The basic fielding positions are (starting with the wicket-keeper, and traveling in an anti-clockwise direction as viewed by the bowler):

This is just the beginning, however. Each fielding position can be modified in two ways.

  1. The fielder can be moved either further or closer to the batter. A position further from the batsman is referred to as "deep", for example, deep mid-off. A position closer to the batter is referred to as "short", for example short mid-off. When the position gets dangerously close to the batter, it is referred to as "silly", for example, silly mid-off.
  2. As the angle of the fielder relative the batter changes, the terms "square" and "fine" may be used. Square refers to the fielder moving in the direction of an imaginary line that passes through the batter, perpendicular to the pitch, ie, in the direction of point (for the off side) or square leg (for the on side).

Thus the person fielding at mid-wicket may be described as either silly, short, deep, fine or square, and sometimes a combination of these such as "short square mid-wicket".

Note however that some fielding positions are not so easily modifiable by either deep/short/silly or fine/square. There is no silly backward square leg (it's simply called silly leg), and nor is there a silly gully, a square point, or a fine point. Finally, the wicket-keeper is immune from all these modifications.