What is Follow on in Cricket Everything You Need to Know

Cricket, a game of tactics and skill, holds a unique term known as “Follow on.” This term refers to a situation in which the team batting second is made to bat again immediately after their first innings.

Known for its strategic significance, the follow-on rule is applied when the team that batted first establishes a substantial lead over their opponents. With a designated threshold set, this lead determines whether the team batting second will face the follow-on or not.

The primary objective behind implementing this rule is to reduce the length of Test matches while maintaining an equal playing field. If a team fails to reach or surpass the predetermined lead set by their opponents, they have to bat again without any respite.

It is worth noting that enforcing the follow-on can be advantageous for the bowling side as it challenges the batsmen physically and mentally. It not only exposes any weaknesses in their performance but also capitalizes on their exhaustion from extensive play.

However, in some cases, captains may choose not to enforce the follow-on despite meeting the required lead. Factors such as pitch conditions, weather forecasts, and player fatigue influence this decision. The captain’s aim is typically to maximize their team’s chances of winning by considering various aspects before finalizing their strategy.

Follow on in cricket: when your team is so confident in their ability to crush the opposition, they give them a head start to make it more interesting.

What is a “Follow on” in cricket?

A “follow on” in cricket occurs when a team batting second is forced to bat again immediately after the first innings due to a significant deficit in runs. This rule, applied primarily in longer formats of the game, is aimed at ensuring a fair opportunity for both teams to showcase their skills.

When a team trails behind by a predetermined margin of runs, typically 200 or more, the opposing captain can enforce the follow on. By doing so, they require the batting team to continue their innings without a break, hoping to capitalize on their opponent’s exhaustion and potential mental pressure.

The intention behind this rule is to prevent endless matches and provide winning chances for both sides. However, it also adds excitement and strategy to the game. The concept requires careful consideration from the captain enforcing it as they must assess various factors such as pitch conditions, weather forecasts, playing strength of both teams, and overall match situation.

Enforcing the follow on can significantly affect the outcome of a match. It puts immense pressure on the team batting second to quickly recover from their deficit and avoid another collapse. On the other hand, it offers an advantageous position for the fielding team as they aim to exploit any lingering weaknesses in their opponent’s gameplay.

While enforcing the follow on seems like a strategic move that can increase a team’s chances of victory, it is not without risks. If the batting side exhibits resilience and manages to counterattack effectively, they can turn the tables on their opponents and potentially establish a substantial lead themselves.

Getting a follow-on in cricket feels like being handed a participation trophy, but with an extra dose of humiliation.

The rules and conditions for a “Follow on”

The rules and requirements for a “Follow on” in cricket are as follows:

  1. If the team batting first in a Test match manages to establish a lead of at least 200 runs over the opposing team’s first innings total, they have the option to enforce the follow on. This means they can request the opposing team to bat again immediately without needing to bat a second time themselves.
  2. The option to enforce the follow on is only available in Test matches and not in limited-overs formats of the game like One Day Internationals (ODIs) or Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
  3. The team enforcing the follow on must have already batted its first innings and should not be required to bat again. This implies that they should have declared their innings or have been bowled out.
  4. The captain of the team batting first decides whether to enforce the follow on or not. Factors like pitch conditions, weather, and the state of the match influence this decision. The captain may choose not to enforce the follow on if they believe their bowlers are fatigued or they want to minimize the possibility of the opposing team making a comeback.
  5. If the team enforcing the follow on manages to dismiss the opposing team in their second innings before they reach the deficit (i.e., the lead established by the team enforcing the follow on), they win the match outright.

Overall, the follow on is a strategic move used by the team in a dominant position to potentially increase their chances of winning the match.

When it comes to follow-ons in cricket, think of it like a bad breakup – if the first team scores 200 runs more than the opponent’s first innings, they can make them suffer all over again.

When can a team enforce a “Follow on”?

The decision to enforce a “Follow on” in cricket depends on the team’s lead in runs during the first innings. If the team batting first scores 200 or more runs fewer than the team batting second, the follow-on can be enforced. This strategy aims to capitalize on the advantage gained by a substantial lead and put pressure on the opposition.

Teams consider different factors when making this decision. One key aspect is the condition of the pitch. If it deteriorates quickly or shows signs of wear and tear, enforcing a follow-on becomes more desirable as it becomes harder for batsmen to score runs. Another consideration is the weather conditions. If rain or bad light is forecasted, teams may choose not to enforce the follow-on to allow maximum time for a result.

Moreover, teams analyze their own bowling resources before deciding on enforcing the follow-on. Assessing whether their bowlers are fit and fresh enough to bowl again for an extended period is essential. Fatigue can affect their performance, so teams need to carefully evaluate this aspect.

It is important for teams to weigh these factors before enforcing a follow-on as there can be risks involved too. The opposition could make a strong comeback in their second innings, especially when they have time to rest and plan their approach carefully after being under pressure in the first innings.

When it comes to refusing to enforce a ‘Follow on’, teams have more excuses than a teenager with unfinished homework.

When can a team refuse to enforce a “Follow on”?

A team has the option to refuse to enforce a “Follow on” when they have scored more runs in the first innings than their opponent. This decision is made based on their assessment of the match situation and their confidence in their ability to perform better in the second innings. However, it’s essential to consider various factors before making this call.

One significant factor that may influence a team’s decision is the condition of the pitch. If the pitch is deteriorating rapidly and becoming more difficult to play on, the team may choose not to enforce a “Follow on” as they believe it would give them a disadvantage in batting last. Another consideration is the weather conditions. If there is a chance of rain or bad light affecting play, the team might decide to bat again and maximize their chances of securing a victory.

Moreover, the team’s bowling resources also play a crucial role in this decision-making process. If key bowlers are injured or fatigued after an intense first innings, the team may opt not to enforce a “Follow on” in order to give their bowlers sufficient time for rest and recovery. Additionally, if the team believes that their bowlers can exploit any weaknesses in their opponent’s batting lineup, they might choose to bat again and put additional pressure on them.

In summary, there are several factors that can influence a team’s decision regarding enforcing a “Follow on”. These include the condition of the pitch, weather conditions, and bowling resources. The ultimate goal for the team is to make strategic choices that will give them the best opportunity for success in the match.

The Follow on: when you’re winning by so much, it’s basically just rubbing salt in the wound or pouring salt on an open wound…either way, there’s a lot of salt involved.

The advantages and disadvantages of enforcing a “Follow on”


  • Continued Pressure: Enforcing a follow-on puts immense pressure on the opposing team, as they have to bat again without gaining any substantial lead. This can lead to mental fatigue and mistakes from the batsmen.
  • Quick Turnaround: By not batting again, the team enforcing the follow-on can quickly get back on the field for bowling, keeping their momentum intact and potentially exploiting any weaknesses in the opponent’s batting lineup.
  • Time Management: Enforcing a follow-on can be advantageous when time is limited in a Test match. It allows the team to push for victory by increasing their chances of dismissing the opposing team quickly.
  • Psychological Advantage: The psychological impact of enforcing a follow-on cannot be underestimated. It sends a strong message to the opposition that they are significantly behind and need to play catch-up, which can demoralize them.


  • Exhausted Bowlers: If bowlers have already spent most of their energy in bowling during the first innings, they may not be as effective in utilizing swing, pace, or spin during the second innings. This could potentially give an advantage to the opposing team.
  • Momentum Shift: Enforcing a follow-on gives the opposition another opportunity to redeem themselves and reverse their fortunes. If they manage to bat well in their second innings, it can completely shift momentum in their favor.
  • Fatigue and Injuries: Continuous fielding for long periods can take a toll on players’ bodies, increasing the risk of injuries and exhaustion. This may impact performance both in fielding and batting.

Despite these advantages and disadvantages, enforcing a follow-on remains an integral part of test cricket strategy. Teams must carefully analyze various factors such as pitch conditions, player fitness, and time constraints before making this crucial decision.

Contextual information:

It’s important for teams to weigh the pros and cons when deciding whether to enforce a follow-on or not. By considering the conditions, player fitness, and the potential risks involved, teams can strategically maneuver their way towards victory. The decision to enforce a follow-on should not be taken lightly as it can heavily impact the outcome of a match.

Teams enforcing a ‘Follow on’ is like giving their opponents a second chance to fail spectacularly.

Famous instances of teams enforcing a “Follow on”

The “Follow on” rule in cricket has led to several famous instances where teams have enforced it. One such example is the 1981 Ashes series, where England enforced the follow-on against Australia. This decision proved to be a turning point in the series, as England went on to win.

Another notable instance occurred during the 2003 Test match between South Africa and Bangladesh. South Africa dominated the first innings, amassing a huge total. With a substantial lead, they chose to enforce the follow-on against Bangladesh, putting them under immense pressure.

In recent years, one of the most memorable instances of enforcing a follow-on took place during the 2019 Ashes series between England and Australia. After bowling out Australia cheaply in their first innings, England chose not to bat again and instead asked Australia to follow on. This bold move paid off as England won the match convincingly.

While enforcing the follow-on can be a risky decision, these instances demonstrate its potential rewards. By keeping their opponents on the back foot and capitalizing on their dominance, teams have seized pivotal moments in matches and even series through this tactical maneuver.

It is crucial for teams to assess various factors before deciding whether or not to enforce the follow-on. These include pitch conditions, weather forecasts, player fatigue levels, and overall match situation. A well-timed decision can effectively demoralize opponents and increase chances of victory.

If you thought getting a hangover after a wild night out was bad, imagine how bowlers feel when batsmen declare a ‘follow on’ in cricket.


In cricket, the follow-on is a rule that allows the team batting first to make their opponents bat again if they have a significant lead. This strategy aims to enforce a result in a test match by reducing the time available for the opposing team to chase or defend a target. The objective is to capitalize on the advantage gained in the first innings and secure victory.

When a team decides to enforce the follow-on, it means that they are confident in their substantial lead and want to pressurize the opposition further. By making them bat again, it puts additional strain on their physical and mental abilities, as well as their overall performance. It also minimizes their chances of winning or drawing the match.

The follow-on can only be enforced when certain criteria are met. According to the rules set by the International Cricket Council (ICC), for a follow-on to be implemented, a team must have batted first and scored at least 200 runs more than their opponents’ total score in a five-day test match. In shorter format matches, such as one-day internationals (ODIs) or Twenty20s (T20s), different run differentials may apply.

However, not all teams choose to enforce the follow-on even if they meet the criteria. Factors such as pitch condition, weather forecast, fatigue levels of bowlers and batsmen, and overall game situation play crucial roles in making this decision. The captain and coaching staff analyze these factors before deciding whether or not to enforce the follow-on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a follow on in cricket?

A: In cricket, the follow on is a rule that allows the team batting first to enforce the opposition to bat again without allowing them to complete their first innings.

Q: When can a team enforce the follow on?

A: A team can enforce the follow on if they have a first innings lead of at least 200 runs in a Test match.

Q: What happens if a team does not have a lead of 200 runs?

A: If a team does not have a lead of 200 runs or more, they cannot enforce the follow on, and the opposing team gets to bat again in their second innings.

Q: What are the advantages of enforcing the follow on?

A: Enforcing the follow on puts pressure on the opposing team, particularly if they have already batted for a long time in their first innings. It increases the chances of the team enforcing the follow on to win the match.

Q: Can a team choose not to enforce the follow on?

A: Yes, a team can choose not to enforce the follow on even if they have a lead of 200 runs or more. This decision is often influenced by factors such as pitch conditions, weather, and player fatigue.

Q: Has the follow on rule always been a part of cricket?

A: No, the follow on rule was introduced in 1884. Before that, teams could choose to bat as many times as they wanted, which led to very long matches and drawn out contests.